There 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.”