G &W - First question to Ope, don't you have anything better to do on a Friday night than watch Gord and Wayne videos?
G & W - We're just joking but seriously, how difficult was it to see that your cabs were stolen, twice!
Ope - It is what it is. You can complaining through your life. It's painful when things happen to you, when you're on the receiving end. But the truth is, we still had a chance to turn it around and we didn't. We feel bad but you have to pick yourself up and move on.
G & W - Have you forgiven those teams that stole your cabs?
Ope - Without a doubt.
Simi - All is forgiven. No hard feelings. In that moment, we were very upset, but it was down to the Final 3 and everyone really, really wanted it. You can't say that someone wanted more than another person. It was just a matter of what are other people willing to do to get there. Unfortunately, we got cabotaged twice and it is what it is. We forgive and forget.
G & W - You think you may have had a better chance if they didn't steal your cabs?
Ope - Well...
Simi - —Yes!
G & W - Yes. Speak the truth, Simi!
Ope - One of the things it probably afforded is us is actually seeing someone else compete in the curling. We've always prided our team on being very adaptive. We could quickly figure out how to work on whatever we had to work on. So if we could have worked on it for...
Simi - ...we could have figured out the curling a little bit better.
G & W - During the race there were a lot of water tasks and were you thinking 'Oh my God, what's with all the water?
Ope - After the first one, I thought that was going to be it for water. And then we got to Sudbury and we were coasting through everything, the CSI challenge, we felt really proud about then. And then at the back of my mind I thought 'Something doesn't add up, there is so much bodies of water around us and we haven't done anything with water.' And then there was the big lake.
Simi - The canoe. That was interesting, that was very interesting.
G & W - But you pushed through that. Even in the first episode Simi said she was so proud of her dad after the water task, do you still have that pride?
Simi - Of course, of course. That kind of thing doesn't go away. First of all, the pride in that he was able to do that with such good humour. And also, I'm so impressed he did that because I don't even know I could jump off of that ledge and into the water. But I was so impressed and inspired by my dad. And just him just keeping up with me and the other competitors in the race. He's not a young man (Ope laughs), he's not a young man and I'm so proud of him.
G & W - Hey, old guys, we're pretty tough, you know.
Ope - Age is just a number, right? Right now I like the number 32. (laughs)
G & W - On the other side, there was the water task in Penticton and Ope, how was it watching Simi suffer through that and you couldn't do anything?
Ope - You know, that was gut wrenching because it goes against all your natural instincts as a parent. There is nothing as frustrating as not being able to help your daughter, your child, when they are going through difficult times. But it was bittersweet because without challenges, victories don't come. And you could see me cheering, I saw what she went through and she pulled herself through it and she nailed it! Oh my God! The way I screamed for joy then and I still feel that now.
Simi - When I fell into the water when I completed the second jump (and the task), I think I heard my dad screaming from underwater, it was that loud (Ope laughs). He was that excited.
G & W - We know we both drive our daughters crazy sometimes, was there a moment in the race, Simi, when your dad was driving you crazy.
Simi - Well, you know what. Let's just keep it to what we did see.(Laughs and pauses) In the first two legs, I needed to just get used to working so closely with my dad. The first two legs were tough. There was a lot of butting heads, but after that, honestly I don't think we could have worked better together, we just learned to work with each other. It was awesome.
Ope - It also goes to our relationship that we can always work on something, we can always work on our relationship, our communication. So we just like a team going through the playoffs, we just kept getting better leg after leg.
Simi - I do want to add something though. In the leg in Argentina when we were struggling between the dine and the dance, going from the the dine to tango back to dine, I was very impatient because he just couldn't run as fast back to dine. So that drove me a little bit crazy, then I realized I was being impatient and kind of inconsiderate but at the time, oh man... I was livid.
Ope - I must confess that this was the source of our headbutting in the beginning. It's not easy, it's a natural instinct as a father to be protective and say 'this is why we need to do this'. So the transition was that this is a team and we needed to do this together and it was more about being open and going through it...
(Simi speaks and simultaneously they say): Together.
G & W - So your relationship has changed because of the race?
Ope - I'd say it's gotten...
(Again, Simi speaks and simultaneously they say): to the next level.
Ope (by himself) - That's what life is about. We're always learning and we're always stretching from where we are. It's gotten better.
G & W - You guys were the first team of relatively new Canadians on the show, how did it feel to be in that position involved in a show that's very popular in Canada?
Simi - We never really though of that until you just mentioned it now.
Ope - I just hope that by being in the race, we can inspire other people to just follow their heart, if you believe strongly, just reach out and pitch in your best. That's what we did.
G & W - So will you now join a curling league?
Ope - I am challenging myself with the curling thing. I enjoy watching curling, I know I have something to prove. Let's just say, I'll invite you (Wayne) to a Face-off, a curling Face-off.
Wayne - I used to curl as a kid so watch out.
G & W - So what's happening now that the race is over?
Simi - Bigger and better things I hope. Right now, I'm back in Vancouver working as usual before I was on the race. Who knows that the future holds but right now my dad and I are doing our thing, we're working. We might pursue some business ventures together, you might see us again, watch out for us.
G & W - We asked Neil: since we both have daughters, what advice can you give us to be better fathers?
Ope - You know, I remember sometime we had a very big row. I think she was then getting out of high school going into university. I was livid, I was getting angry and I had a good counsel from a very good friend of mine. He said 'Ope, it's all about respect, not control. You want your daughter, your children to respect you, not control them.' And I heeded that advice ever since. It's been good, it's been tough but it's been good because developing the respect that's just it.
G & W - And Simi, from your perspective as a daughter, what advice can you offer to make life easier for us and our daughters?
Simi - You should believe in the way you raised us. You should trust that you've instilled good values in us so we can make decisions on our own. And just empower us in that way. And you guys should also listen really carefully. As daughters, we don't always tell you what's wrong. But there are other ways we get that message across. So listen carefully and trust in the way you've raised us and it will be good.
G & W - What was the best part of being on TAR Canada?
Simi - I think it was being able to travel, and travel with my dad, too. I'm a huge traveller, I love going to places, but this gave us the opportunity to travel all across Canada, to see places I don't think I'd ever see if we hadn't been on the race. Magdalene Islands. Halifax. These places are stunning, gorgeous places. And honestly I don't think we'd have an opportunity otherwise. And then India, Argentina, Chile? Wow. I loved that. What about you, Dad?
Ope - Life is all about creating memories and experiences. When you are raising your kids you try to instil certain things in them. You talk the talk. This race with my daughter put me on the spot, I had to walk the walk with my daughter. And that's the thing you have to try your best at whatever you do. You might not be the best at it but you have to give it you all. And that is the big thing that came out of this race for us.
G & W - If there is an All-Star Season and they invite you back, would you do it again?
Simi - Ummmm.
Ope - Honestly, I don't know.
Simi - I think I would.
Ope - I don't know, I don't know. We'll see.
G & W - It's hard isn't it? We joke about how easy Gord and Wayne would do this task, blah, blah but talking to all the teams this season and the previous one, it's really hard and we don't get that just by watching it on TV.
Simi - I think it would be difficult but Simi and Ope 2.0 would be unstoppable. (Both laugh).