To receive the next clue on The Amazing Race, Cindy mapped out all locations in her race around the world. —Photo by Jeffrey R. Staab /CBS ©2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Chi Omegas Flourish
Cindy Chiang Maps Out Winning Strategy for The Amazing Race
Cindy Chiang and her fiancé, Ernie Halvorsen, beat all
the odds in the just-concluded Season 19 of the Emmy
Award-winning CBS show, The Amazing Race. After competing
with nine other couples on four continents, in 10
countries, and in 20 cities, the Chicago pair was first to
cross the finish line at Atlanta’s historic Swan House.
The mad-cap taping was a three-plus-week adventure.
The show aired for 12 weeks on CBS, with the winners
crowned in the final episode on December 11, 2011.
Cindy and Ernie walked away with $1 million, a group of
new friends, and an even stronger bond.
“The experience was invaluable,” says Cindy. “Just getting
to see all these places . . . There are so few people in the
world who get to experience what we did.”
The Eleusis staff spoke to Cindy about her adventures:
Cindy: I’ve watched the show for many years because I
love to travel and I love extreme activities. When Ernie
and I started dating, we watched the show together and often played along with the contestants, choosing which of us would tackle the roadblock,
or what side of the detour we might quickly conquer. After a few seasons, I convinced
Ernie we would make a great team and had nothing to lose by applying. We submitted our
three-minute video and hoped for the best.
Cindy: Preparing for the race is serious business so I planned a training regimen that
included physical activities, such as rock climbing, kayaking, running with backpacks,
and strength training. We also worked on communication and tested our skill with a
manual-transmission vehicle. Knowing people are much friendlier when visitors try to
communicate in the local language, we studied French, Spanish, Russian, German, and
Italian; I grew up speaking Mandarin Chinese. Because The Amazing Race is geared toward
educating viewers on other cultures and inspiring them to travel, we studied maps
and travel guidebooks and learned about local customs, landmarks, and famous locations.
Cindy: I really enjoyed visiting Taiwan, where my parents grew up. I’d never been there
and it was a fantastic chance to see part of my heritage. I also loved rappelling into the
cave “Goa Jablong” in Indonesia.
Cindy: Walk a tightrope across two very tall buildings in Panama City! I have a fear of
heights, but I kept my focus on Ernie, who was on the other building, and slowly made
my way across the rope to retrieve our next clue.
Cindy: We shared the good news with both my family and Ernie’s family over a big rib
dinner. Ernie says they were probably the best ribs he’s ever had! After that, we ate every
type of food that we’d been missing on the race. We went to eat at three or four different
places every day.
Cindy: We decided to start our own organization, which will have two purposes: to create
nutrition and fitness programs that address childhood obesity in the United States and to
provide access to education in developing countries.
Unlike many previous contestant pairs, Cindy and Ernie remained consistently levelheaded
and cool and did not have any spectacular fallouts or heated arguments. Instead,
preparing for, running in, and winning the race has only strengthened their bond, which
they will cement with a wedding set for March 10. Host, Phil Keoghan, and their fellow
racers are invited and most plan to attend.
Cindy is initiate of Pi Alpha/U of Cincinnati, a supporter of the Chi Omega Foundation,
and a graduate of the Nancy Walton Laurie Leadership Institute of Chi Omega. She is a
marketing manager for a multinational corporation. Ernie is a project manager.
Host Phil Keoghan, right, greets Cindy Chiang and Ernie Halvorsen as they crossed the finish line on The Amazing Race. —Photo by Sonja Flemming /CBS ©2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.