'The Amazing Race': Claire Champlin, aka watermelon girl, talks about painful slap in the face by fruit

claire-champlain-amazing-raceImage Credit: Image Credit: Jeffrey R. Staab/CBSThere are a lot of things that Claire Champlin of Nevada had hoped to go down in history for — but getting slapped in the face by a flying watermelon was not one of them. And yet her messy (and temporarily painful) encounter with flying fruit made her infamous this month after CBS released an early sneak peek from last night’s season premiere of The Amazing Race. The video in which Champlin, 30, is seen getting smacked by a wayward watermelon, has already received nearly 10 million hits online — and that’s not counting the additional 11.2 million people who tuned into the episode Thursday on CBS.

Champlin, who finished the first leg of the race in fifth place with teammate and fellow Home Shopping TV host Brook Roberts, told EW that she has yet to live down the challenge. “My mom refers to me as watermelon girl,” Champlin says. “She posted it on her Facebook page.” Champlin was shocked by how many people thought she was either faking it or downright dead after they watched the clip on YouTube. She swears it was neither, though the right side of her face and her upper lip were numb right after she was hit, and she suffered a pretty brutal headache for hours.

Champlin said she didn’t know what happened after using the slingshot until Roberts came up and started wiping watermelon juice off her face (see video from the challenge below).

“Honestly, I thought I was a lot more injured than I was, and then CBS gave me the go ahead [to continue],” says Champlin, who was particularly grateful that the medical staff was only seconds away. In fact, less than 15 minutes went by between the time Champlin was hurt and when she decided to resume the competition. “If I was ever going to be hit by a watermelon, that was the place to be. The whole staff is top of the line, I was grateful they were right there by my side.”

“I just think it was a freak accident,” Champlin continued. “Everybody said if I tried to do it again, there is no possible way I could. I’m not even going to attempt it. I thought I was going to go down in history for so many other things. But if the watermelon is my claim to fame, I guess I’m just going to take it and run with it. A watermelon, it can’t hold me back.”

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  • SteveStrifeX

    I think, like most of America, I had concern that she was ok at first; and then, when it was apparent she was, I cracked up laughing. That was a one-in-a-million shot. It’s a good thing the watermelon exploded on impact. If it didn’t (if it hit her with less force and didn’t break), she’d be in a lot worse shape.

    • jw

      The most incredible thing about this is that just before she let’s it fly, her partner urges her to hit the knight “Right in the kisser.” Incredible.

    • jj

      @SteveStrifeX you think, like most of America? so the rest of the world thinks ill of other people? my god, you are soooo arrogant!!!!!


      • AJ

        @jj – WTF are you talking about? yes, Steve’s comment is grammatically incorrect, but he said he had concern. Then laughed when she was OK. Get a grip.

      • SteveStrifeX

        Hmmm… serves me right that I didn’t re-read my post for grammatical mistakes. And thanks for the backup AJ, appreciate it.

      • bazinga!

        @jj – jealous much?

      • meliot

        @jj – okay Osama, we know you hate us, but don’t you have anything better to do than troll the “American” EW site and watch “American” tv shows? Get a life you moron.

      • worped

        He was not referring to grammar, he was referring to his reference of “like America” as although it is an American TV show other counties watch it also. and the common American thought is that only they exist in this world and they often forget about all other countries. And to the guy who called him a terrorist that’s funny, more of the world hates America than just the middle eastern people. Basically everyone who is not American hates America, and believe you me it is NOT because of Envy so don’t flatter yourselves.

  • MiaS

    I was one that couldn’t believe that it didn’t kill her.

    • SteveStrifeX

      As long as it broke, she’d be ok. Same reason why martial artists can break planks of wood with their bare hands. If the board breaks, their hand is ok. If the board doesn’t break, well, broken hand

    • Laura

      Me too! Still can’t believe it didn’t at least give her a concussion.

    • Quirky

      In the post race interview I was trying to remember if she had that dimple on her chin before the watermelon or if that was a new dent.

    • wino

      i didnt think it would kill her, but i thought it would knock her teeth out or break her nose. props to her for finishing the challenge.

  • elr

    I watched the episode with my sisters and all of us gasped out loud when we saw that happen. I think I got a sympathy headache after seeing her get hit with the watermelon. She had a lot of courage to continue on after it happened.

  • SLB

    I laughed my *ss off!

  • Jennifer

    I’m glad she’s OK. It made for some great entertainment. Her repeating “I can’t feel my face” as they made their way to the Pit Stop was hilarious.

    • Rasha

      I really wondered how she was conscious afterwards. It’s so amazing she wasn’t more hurt. Hilarious, frightening and amazing all at once!

  • darclyte

    Not only was I somewhat surprised that none of her facial bones were broken, but also I was a amazed that she didn’t have some sort of intercranial injury from watermelon shards being projected into her sinuses.

    • wustlsom

      i think you mean inTRAcranial injury. intercranial makes no sense.

  • Meli

    We have yet to see the 2nd episode, but I can’t imagine she didn’t have a nasty bruise covering half her face the next day. That looked like it hurt.


    It aired on SUNDAY, not Thursday.

  • Quirky

    Who are the people that thought she was faking?

    • AB

      Well, if u want names, don’t hold ur breath. I imagine the people whoo thought she was faking are the same ones who think the whole Race is rigged, Survivor is rigged, etc. etc. Duh.

  • jen_s

    I was so impressed that she could laugh about it in the interview portion after that leg of the race. What a trouper. I’m not sure I would have been brave enough to try it again.

  • Respect

    She earned my respect.
    I have to say both Survivor and Amazing Race seem to have pretty mild casts. And the odds are I will stop watchin Survivor because its the same jungle each week.
    No Married Couples and no vocally gay teams. I hated the attitude of the two older women last season, but they did stir it up. Last night everyone seemed SOOO NICE… have no one to root against and still no favorites though melon girl and the Mom Meets Daughter team are at the top for me.

    • Amy

      I don’t care for the tattoo girl and her partner. They seem a bit too dumb, even for tv.

  • V

    The best part was right after when she says “I can’t feel my face” and her teammate says “You have to finish.” It was so messed up.

    • graeme

      I thought the funniest part was how she acted so shocked when her partner said that she had to finish. What did she think was going to happen? Of course she was going to have to finish.

      • Robert

        hm. she probably thought she was going to go to the hospital and not continue playing a game.

    • Mark

      I started laughing even harder at that point. “They don’t call it the amazing race for nothing.” ahahaha

  • junebuggnc

    I’m surprised during the confessional afterwards that the side of her face wasn’t black and blue???

  • CatDavid

    I agree with Respect. TAR used to be dramatic/comical/cut-throat. We need more Rob/Ambers, Globetrotters, Chauvinists, and wimps to make the show as good as it used to be.

  • bazinga!

    What with all the previews the week before, when they got to the catapaults I was expecting it and knew she’d be okay, but it was still a shocker! What a good sport that chick is – hope that Claire and Brook make it to the end.

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