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Rafford: Ranking feats of athleticism on ‘The Bachelor’

| Thursday, April 4, 2019

Despite the fact that it’s reality television and not the Final Four, “The Bachelor” has all the elements of a sporting event — the ability to bring people together, viewers rooting for their favorite “players” and, most importantly, impressive as well as not-so-hot athletic feats.

Though there have been Bachelor-related Sports Authorities written in the past, no one has yet evaluated the show based on its stand-alone athletic merit, which is why I decided to take up the torch (that, and my general desperation to write at least one Sports Authority).

Granted, the last time I wrote a ranking column, I was criticized by Viewpoint columnist Davis Gonsalves. But like Colton after Cassie broke up with him, I refuse to be give up. So I ranked the best moments from the Season 23 — the “craziest season” “The Bachelor” has seen since its last season — based on both their athletic impressiveness and execution, as well as general entertainment value.

After all, it’s all about the views.

5. “Bachelor’s Strongest Woman”

In the beginning of this date, Colton flips a tire and is shirtless for no reason, while a voice over quotes him saying, “You don’t have to be the fittest person to be my wife … but I’m going to need somebody who could be my rock.” In “The Bachelor’s” Strongest Woman competition, contestants competed in Bachelor-themed fitness events, such as pulling a limousine, running with “Colton’s heart” and pushing a wedding cake “down the aisle.” While most of these events actually were somewhat sporty, I just couldn’t get over the cheesiness of the wedding theme. Granted, I know it’s “The Bachelor,” but come on, guys. Also, who works out in a mesh crop top? Kaitlin from Canada, apparently.

4. Surfing

On Cassie and Colton’s hometown date, Cassie takes him to the beach to engage in a classic California activity — surfing. For someone who just learned to snowboard a few episodes earlier, Cassie is fairly good (in one of the clips she rides a continuous wave) so props to her. As for Colton? Yikes. He should stick to football — and fence jumping. Unimpressed. 

3. Vovinam, a.k.a. Bachelor Fight Club

In Vietnam, a group date ends in a literal “fight club.” It’s a little on the nose for “The Bachelor,” but I can honestly say this was one of the better executed sports on this season. At least the girls were wearing appropriate gear and the event for once wasn’t wedding themed. That being said, there were definitely some great fighters — cough, cough Hannah Beast — and some not so great — cough, cough Demi. In this scene, we also learned that Demi has a sensitive side, which, wow! Who knew. 

2. Caelynn and Colton snowboarding

On one of their one-on-one dates, Colton attempts to teach Caelynn how to snowboard. It’s also one of the season’s cattiest and most veiled moments, as the scene cuts back and forth between the date and Colton getting gossip from Tayshia, yet another one of his jealous girlfriends. While there’s only around two minutes of actual snowboarding footage, Colton is generally pretty good at the sport — which balances out Caelynn’s apparent lack of grace. Though most people will probably remember the confrontation that came after, I will never fail to be puzzled by Colton’s ineptitude for surfing juxtaposed with snow-surfing.

1. The Fence Jump

Ah, the infamous fence jump. This moment was all that “Bachelor” fans could talk about, and let me just say, it did not disappoint. The dramatics of that moment made for excellent reality television.

But Colton vaulting the fence is not just striking — it’s one of the most athletically impressive moments in Bachelor history.

Here’s some math for you. The fence Colton jumped was approximately 7 feet tall. An Olympic-standard high jump is approximately 7.4 feet tall, for men. So, basically, Colton cleared an Olympic high jump, give or take a few inches. And he does it with ease — and excellent form. He cleared that barrier with precision and grace, making it look easy. Colton’s heart may have been broken, but his athletic abilities were clearly unaffected. In fact, maybe it was the pain of unrequited love which allowed him to accomplish the feat with grace and dignity.

If Colton were competing in the Olympics, perhaps he would have gotten a medal for the daring and dramatic achievement. But in this case, he’ll just have to settle for getting the girl (sort of) — and the final rose.

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About Claire Rafford

Claire is a senior from Tempe, Arizona majoring in English and minoring in Journalism, Ethics and Democracy and Business-Economics. She peaked when her team won the Battle of the Books state championship in 2011.

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