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The final field of 16 Titans has arrived

Next week, the battle of the Titan begins.

Vivian Zink/NBC

The seventh episode of The Titan Games introduced us to the final eight athletes and rounded out our field of 16 winners. The last two Titans to be crowned had very different paths to their titles: One had clear wins, and one needed to get scrappy to stay in the game. Naturally, with this being Valentine’s Day and all, there had to be a little romance in there as well!

Reigning Titans

Kara Lazauskas: Kara had a pretty clear strategy during both her challenges: Win. During both Off The Rails and Mount Olympus, she went to the lead early and never looked back. She shared during the episode that she has spent her life defying doctors who told her that her medical condition would keep her out of athletics, and, oh boy, were those doctors proven wrong tonight.

Brad Schaeffer: Brad had to stay focused to earn his Titan title. The Tower Drop wasn’t a run-away win as his opponent made tactical errors. On Mount Olympus, it looked like Brad might be over-powered. Using determination and energy-saving strategies, he pulled off the closest come-from-behind win that we’ve seen so far.

Can’t miss moments

Atlas Smash

After learning about Elisara Edwards emotional story and watching that phone call he got from Dwayne Johnson, it was almost impossible not to want to see this guy win. Atlas Smash is such a brutal challenge based in sheer power. Watching Elisara channel his energy into chewing up those stones and hauling them into the air was the empowering outcome we wanted.

Off The Rails

Kara Lazauskas has a reduced lung capacity from having one of her lungs removed as a child. You’d have no idea that was the case from watching her. Her lead over Breona was commanding from the get-go. But this is the Valentine’s Day episode and Breona had a romantic consolation prize. Her boyfriend proposed to her immediately after the challenge.

Vivian Zink/NBC

Mount Olympus

  • The match up between Brad Schaeffer vs Elisara Edwards was a nail-biter to say the very least. Elisara had a lead through almost the entire match. Brad was certainly nipping at his heels, but when Elisara was the first to return to the stadium floor, we thought we had the winner. Elisara began to struggle with the ball and chain, creating an opportunity for Brad, who used a more efficient strategy to close the gap. Still, Elisara opened his tomb first and was reaching for the relic. Suddenly, Brad suddenly swooped up his relic and ran to the finish for a stunning, shocking win.

Full recap

An explanation of these challenges can be found at the bottom of this article.

Challenge One: Atlas Smash

The competitors:

  • Davy Barnes: A 28-year-old who owns a tiling company called Muscle Tile. He was a skinny teenage, but 10 years later, he’s 6’3” and 260 lb.
  • Elisara Edwards: 28-year-old former college athlete. He aspired to join the NFL, but he needed to give that up after his wife passed away from late stage Lupus, so he could focus on their young daughter.

Winner: Elisara Edwards

Challenge two: Tower Drop

The competitors:

  • Brad Schaeffer: 34-year-old foot and ankle surgeon. After failing his board exams three times, he learned that dedication will conquer anything.
  • Covenant Falana: 21-year-old who was raised in Southwest Nigeria. Growing up watching wrestling, he always wanted to be like The Rock. He started building up his body after moving to the US in high school.

Winner: Brad Schaeffer

Challenge three: Uprising

The competitors:

  • Sandra Arechaederra: She’s the oldest competitor in The Titan Games at 51. She only began her athletic at 42 when she taught herself weightlifting. Within four years, she was a competitive athlete.
  • Shannon Decker: 34 year-old-fitness model. She and her brother were emancipated together when she was 15. When her brother passed away in a rock climbing accident, she worked out through her grief.

Winner: Shannon Decker

Challenge four: Off The Rails

  • Kara Lazauskas: 27-year-old amateur MMA fighter. At three years old, she had a tumor on her lung that required the complete removal of the organ, leaving Kara with the lung capacity of a smoker.
  • Breona Evans: 27-year-old accountant who hits the gym before and after work. Her boyfriend Brandon was in the audience with a romantic proposal for Breona.

Winner: Kara Lazauskas

Mount Olympus

  • Kara Lazauskas vs Shannon Decker

This was a pretty straight-forward competition. Kara simply was faster and more efficient on the course. After she had no stumbles on Rolling Ascent, she opened her lead and never looked back.

Titan: Kara Lazauskas

On the moment she became a Titan:

“When I lifted up that key and started going towards Dwayne, it was everything I’ve ever visualized and want. You want that experience. Any athlete or any competitor wants that feeling and wants to continually have that feeling. You want to be a winner.

Being a Titan, you’re never satisfied. I’m not comfortable, I’m not satisfied. There’s still more work to do.”

  • Brad Schaeffer vs Elisara Edwards

This race was so close we were screaming in the final moments. Elisara held a small lead through most of the match. However, when he slowed down while dragging the ball and chain, Brad snapped down on the opportunity.

Titan: Brad Schaeffer

On that come-from-behind, last moment win:

“My win there was definitely unexpected. I knew never to quit throughout the whole thing, because anything can happen. I knew I had a chance when I got to the bottom because I felt good with the ball. That being said, I did kick it into another gear when I hit the floor.

After smashing through the concrete and finally finding the T, which is not as easy as I thought, it was just an unbelievable experience. I know he beat me to that block. Just being able to hack through that, find my T and run up the stairs, was one of the coolest experiences of my life for sure.”

Next episode: The battle of the Titans begins! Thursday, February 21 at 8pm on NBC.