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Scott D. Pierce
Scott D. Pierce writes about television for the Salt Lake Tribune. Vice president of the Television Critics Associationn, he's covered TV in Utah since 1990.

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Utah father and son — both cancer survivors — are running 'The Amazing Race'

A pair of Utahns will run "The Amazing Race" when that show returns to CBS in February - and the father-and-son duo will definitely stand out from the other contestants.

Salt Lakers David and Connor O’Leary are both cancer survivors.

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"We’ve shared a lot, including cancer," David O’Leary, 58, says on a CBS video. "Three years ago at this time, he was undergoing chemotherapy.To be able to be healthy and be sitting here to do this together is just an unbelievable opportunity."

Of course, the race has already been run and the show is currently being edited for premiere on Sunday, Feb. 17, at 7 p.m. on CBS/Ch. 2. The teams traveled more than 30,000 miles to nine countries on five continents - from Bora Bora to Botswana, New Zealand to Switzerland.

The 22nd season of "Amazing Race" will follow the familiar format as teams must complete various tasks in various countries and avoid finishing last on each leg of the race to remain in the competition. There will be one twist this season: The first team to check in at the first pit stop will earn two Express Passes - one to keep for themselves and one that must be given to another team by the end of the fourth leg of the race.

(And Express Pass allows a team to skip tasks and proceed directly to the pit stop.)

In the previous 21 seasons of the race, team members who get along tend to do better. "He’s my dad but he’s also my best friend," says Connor O’Leary, 22, a professional cyclist.

But George O’Leary, 58, a property investor, admitted, "We are both stubborn and think we’re right most of the time," adding, "I’m right all the time!"

And his son concurred.

"We are both hard headed," Connor O’Leary said. "We both think we are right much of the time, so working on humbling ourselves and working more as one."

And the father and son both see "The Amazing Race" as a chance to be positive examples as cancer survivors and "to show that anything is possible," Connor O’Leary said. "Two cancer survivors can come back from incredible odds and do hard things."

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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