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The Challenge: USA’s James Clears Up Alleged ‘Amazing Race’ Betrayal: ‘I Wasn’t Actively Pushing for Leo’ (Exclusive)

The Amazing Race winner James Wallington is setting the record straight when it comes to what appeared to be a betrayal against his good friend and fellow TAR alum Leo Temory on The Challenge: USA.

Us Weekly spoke with James and his partner Tasha Fox after their elimination from the show on Wednesday, July 20, to clear up what exactly went down, as it seemed from the show’s edit that there was some sort of betrayal with James throwing out Leo’s name.

Related: ‘The Amazing Race’ Winners: Where Are They Now?

“I never once said, those words never came out of my mouth, ‘I want to go against Leo,’” James exclusively tells Us. “I think when you see who wins the daily [challenge], in this case it’s Kyland [Young] and Angela [Rummans], know they are both Big Brother, you can kinda assume before you even go into deliberation what options they’re going to work with.”

The Challenge USA James Wallington Tasha Fox Exit Interview
James Wallington and Tasha Fox. Shutterstock (2)

He continues, “So Tasha and I already knew that Leo and Justine [Ndiba] were gonna be an option, Cinco [Holland Jr.] and Sarah [Lacina], Ben [Driebergen] and Kyra [Lizama], as well as Dom [Abbate] and Cashay [Proudfoot]. I wasn’t actively pushing for Leo and Justine, I just needed to be comfortable knowing that was an option, and I also needed Leo to know he was an option out of my control.”

Related: ‘Survivor’ Winners Through the Years: Where Are They Now?

Still, if Leo and Justine had gone into elimination, the reality TV fan in James knew at least there was one upside. “As a gamer, I had to recognize as a gamer, if we did go in and happen to win, I would bank money for my Challenge bank account that would qualify me for a final,” he tells Us. “I would be where I needed to be. I would be at $5000 exactly. I recognized the game part of it, but I was never comfortable just putting a knife in Leo’s back and being OK with it.”

The Survivor players and Amazing Racers were working together, so there was hope of a third option in David Alexander and Shannon St. Clair but “it just didn’t pick up steam,” Tasha explains. “There were rumblings that the Big Brother [players] were as tight as people thought they were.”

When it came down to their loss, Tasha says, “We probably could have had better communication.”

The Challenge: USA airs on CBS Wednesdays at 9 p.m.

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