The second episode of The Titan Games opened with a challenge that was unforgettable. Contestants Christina Luna and Melissa Alcantra literally dug in their heels on Lunar Impact, a challenge that required competitors to push a swinging wall across a crescent shaped platform until someone was forced off the ledge, 30 feet in the air. In the grueling, painstaking fight, Melissa had Christina on the edge, so to speak. Then Christina managed to drive Melissa within a couple feet of her ending. Just when you thought it was over, Melissa found a reserve tank of energy and plowed Christina back around the crescent platform.
In the #TitanGames arena, defeat is not the answer.— The Titan Games (@nbctitangames) January 11, 2019
.@fitgurlmel summoned all her athletic power to deliver a legendary comeback you have to see to believe. pic.twitter.com/thujhfrmsq
In reality, the fight went on for about 21 minutes. The audience couldn’t believe what they were seeing. The crew yelled to each other, in person and over radios, in complete awe. Even Dwayne Johnson looked dumbstruck at moments. The concept of a “favorite” competitor in the challenge was out the window. At that point, you screamed for both Christina and Melissa as they fought obvious pain and kept delivering more and more from the depths of their guts.
When it was done, everyone gasped for air. We ran to find the two competitors, anxious to find out what they had just experienced. Christina spoke with us while she was still catching her breath. Melissa gave her interview while prone on a couch, her knee elevated with ice on it.
It should be noted that these interviews were conducted before Melissa, the challenge winner, spoke with the medic and decided she couldn’t continue into the competition. Christina took her place on Mount Olympus.
MA: In the beginning, I had her. I thought, ‘Okay, just keep going. Just keep pushing. She’s losing confidence.’ It wasn’t that I thought she was losing strength, it was more mental. If I keep pushing her, she’s going to think she’s going to lose and she’s going to.
And then... I don’t know! She just, I don’t know! It was like a door stop! I was pushing, pushing, pushing. Then she just gained the strength and did not budge. I was like, ‘Oh my God. That’s it. It’s over for me.’
CL: My thought was, first of all, that I didn’t want to lose. Nobody wants to lose. The second thing I was thinking was that my daughters are watching. No matter what, I can’t get up there and within the first five minutes lose. So at least if I’m going to lose, I’m going to go out with a fight. The whole time, I was just trying to stay in my head. Just keep pushing. ‘Don’t give up. Stall her. Tire her out. Do what would make your daughters proud.’ That’s what I kept thinking the whole time.
MA: I couldn’t see the end. I was like, ‘I can’t lose. This is not me.’ I couldn’t fight that long to lose, you know? I was like, ‘Melissa, just go. Keep on going. Keep pushing. Don’t give up. Even if you’re at the end. Even at the last freakin’ inch! You’re going to fight until you win.’
CL: In the last moments, right before the take-over I guess you could say, I thought for sure I had her. I was thinking to myself, ‘Just hang on. Push her off. Boom, you’ve won.’ But once I tripped and she just plowed me over, it was like, ‘Here we go. I just lost.’ But you know what? I gave it a good fight. She’s a phenomenal opponent. I’m happy to have lost against someone as great as she is. I still feel good about it.
MA: Let me tell you, it felt like days and at the same time it went by so fast. Honestly, it was like, wow, I can’t believe we’re still here doing this. We have some willpower. I thought that for the both of us, not just for me. Wow, this girl, she’s incredible. I want to be her friend. I HAVE to be her friend!
CL: At one point I thought, ‘Wow, this is taking a lot longer than I expected.’ But I didn’t think it was over 20 minutes! I thought we were at the 10-12 minute mark.
MA: It was amazing. I could believe it, and I couldn’t believe it. I was at my end. I was like, ‘Just keep moving your legs. Just keep going. If she stops you, that may be the end of you. This is your last chance.’ When I hit that wall, when I felt that she had gone down, I... I didn’t know what. My legs immediately gave out. I couldn’t stand up. I couldn’t walk. I was in another world.
CL: I am actually afraid of heights. When I had to jump off of it, that was terrifying. It took me awhile to get warm to that. But while you’re up there you’re not even thinking about that. Then when I got pushed off, I didn’t even care at that point. I was so tired that it didn’t even matter that I fell off of it. One thing I do like doing is facing my fears, and this is a cool way to do it.
MA: I am in so much pain. I’m also very happy. Physically, my knee, I don’t know. I don’t know if it’s going to be working any time soon. But all in all, I’m really happy. I’m going to be back on my two feet any moment. Until the next challenge!
CL: My legs are weak. My ego is shot. But overall I feel great. I feel like I could go and do something else if I really wanted to. Let’s work the upper body now since my lower body is so shot. (Laughs)
CL: (I wanted) to give regular moms like myself, hard-working single moms, a chance to do something really cool and out of your comfort zone. Just to represent all those women out there and say, ‘Hey, if I can do this, anyone can.’ I thought it was a really empowering experience to take on. That’s why I chose to go forward with it.
I want them to remember that I didn’t give up and I definitely ended the battle with a smile on my face. Because at the end of the day, we’re both winners. We both rocked it. I’m definitely going to go away feeling like that and I hope that everyone sees that as well.
MA: I love challenging myself. I’m always in competition with myself. I kind of wanted to see what I was up against. How I could step out of my comfort zone and do something that wasn’t something that I was used to. Like, you know what, I’m going to put myself out there and get uncomfortable and see how I perform.
You can find a full recap of the episode here.