First Deaf Contestant on the Amazing Race!

By Jillian Winn
Saturday, February 28, 2009

A few of us at Signing Savvy are big fans of the Amazing Race. As we watched the first episode two weeks ago, we were excited to see the first-ever deaf contestant to be on the show!

As the Amazing Race participants travel the world, they often encounter language barriers. However, Luke, who has been deaf since birth, and his mother, Margie, felt they might have an advantage over other contestants since they have such strong communication skills with each other. They also commented they could strategize in front of the other teams without them understanding what they are talking about. Luke and Margie use ASL and their own short/fast version of sign language to communicate with each other.

So far, Margie and Luke are off to a great start – Luke did the first roadblock, which was bungee jumping off the Verzasca Dam. At 70-storys, it is the second highest bungee jump in the world. Luke and Margie reached the first pit stop in Stechelberg, Switzerland FIRST! Then Phil (the show’s host) signed, “You (are) team number one!”

Video of Margie and Luke Adams reaching the Pit Stop first and host Phil signing, “You (are) team number one!” (Source: CBS)

ASL Learning Tip:

For those who may be learning ASL, notice when Phil signs, “You are team number one!” that he actually signs the words: YOU TEAM NUMBER ONE. When signing strict ASL, there are often words that are skipped, as is the word “are” in this example. When you use the Savvy Interpreter tool and search for “You are team number one,” the interpreter signs the strict ASL version, without the word “are,” by default.

Video of the Savvy Interpreter tool signing "You (are) team number one." (Source:

About the Savvy Interpreter: The Savvy Interpreter is a tool available to members of Signing Savvy. The Savvy Interpreter links signs together to give you an idea how to sign phrases and sentences. Note, currently the Savvy Interpreter does not translate from English syntax to ASL syntax. It interprets based on the word order you type. Once the interpretation is made, you have the ability to modify the word order to your liking.

More on Luke and Margie on the Amazing Race:

The Amazing Race is Sunday nights at 8pm ET on CBS. We look forward to cheering them on!

Watch Luke and Margie’s Amazing Race Interview:

View Margie and Luke’s biography on the Amazing Race website

Read the MSNBC article by the Associated Press, 1/28/09: Deaf student among ‘Amazing Race’ hopefuls: Luke Adams and his mom one of 11 teams competing for $1 million prize

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