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‘The Challenge’ Star Olivia Kaiser on Finale Injuries, Hospitalization

SPOILER ALERT: This story contains spoilers from the Wednesday, Feb. 1 episode of MTV’s “The Challenge: Ride or Dies.”

Throughout 38 seasons of “The Challenge,” there have been quite a few injuries along the way. That said, nothing compares to what Olivia Kaiser went through during part one of the “Ride or Dies” finale. Kaiser and partner Horacio Gutiérrez Jr. were the only rookie pair to make it to the 100-hour final, but were met with not one but two major setbacks that forced them to drop out before reaching the finish line.

First, during a bola-throwing competition, the karabiner connecting the rope to the balls got caught on Kaiser’s finger and sliced it open.

“My finger slid under the clip and as I threw it, it dug into my finger and ripped the top of my finger off. The nerve was coming out and hanging — a little, white nerve. I thought I broke it because it hit my bone,” she told Variety ahead of the episode’s premiere.

Still, as the medics wrapped her finger, she continued to help her partner drink “slop,” which she described as “warm ranch with clam chowder and fish guts” that “smelled like rotten tuna or the bottom of a dumpster.”

“The Challenge: Ride or Dies”
Jonne Roriz

Kaiser refused to give up and continued to the next checkpoints. First, they had to carry multiple tires, which led to her finger getting dirty and the wound reopening.

Then, she and Gutiérrez reached the slingshot challenge, during which they each had to hit a target twice. However, she struggled to pull back the sling far enough due to her injury. At one point, her hand slipped and the ball ricocheted, hitting her straight in the face.

“So, [the medics] made me sit down again after the tires because it was dirty,” she said. “They knew it was going to be rough for me continuing, but they cleaned it out with this antiseptic, which honestly hurt so bad. I was screaming. I’ve never felt pain like that. It hurt worse than my face. So, we were rushing because of my sitting down and getting my finger cleaned.”

Since she didn’t want to let down her partner, Kaiser said she was hurrying through the checkpoint — and that’s what led to the accident.

“I remember seeing it out of the corner of my eye, the slingshot was kind of twisted on one side, I think. I just went to pull a golf ball back and obviously, as you can see — they caught all that on freaking camera! — but it literally just came back, and it shook me to my core. I got whiplash, it was crazy,” she recalled. “I thought my teeth were knocked out because the impact was so hard. It felt like my nose was literally off my face, crooked. I remember popping my nose back a bit into place because it felt it off so I kind of crunched it back. I licked my teeth to make sure they were all there and had an instant migraine.”

Kaiser said she was very scared because she was in Argentina, where she doesn’t speak the language or know the area. Plus, she knew how serious the injury could possibly be.

“I was like, if I’m actually getting brain swelling, I could die. This is not a joke. People die all the time from getting hit in the head from trauma. I really, in some crazy way, got lucky that it just hit me directly in between the eyes. Obviously, I still have good aim if I freaking got a bull’s eye,” she laughed. “If it had hit me in the eye, I would have either lost my eye or died, because the golf ball probably would have went right back behind my eyeball.”

Kaiser was able to stay calm at first, because she didn’t want to show how much pain she was in, hoping she could somehow still continue — even though there was blood everywhere. “Then I started whimpering when they told me, ‘Olivia, you’re done. Get in the ambulance,’” she remembered.

The former “Love Island” star spent two nights in the hospital, but was eager to get home. First, she did a confessional, as shown in the episode, with a broken nose and two black eyes — and that was with makeup. She had to go back to the hospital a few days later as she had blurry vision because of the swelling. While everything is now back to normal, she spent a lot of time worrying that wouldn’t be the case.

“I was contemplating my entire life. I was like, ‘Did I just get permanently damaged for the rest of my life because of a TV show?’ I was so mortified. What are the chances that I got hurt twice with bad injuries,” she said. “My finger doesn’t look that serious and it wasn’t talked about as much because of my face but it wasn’t just like a little cut. I mean, I’ve never seen my flesh pulled out. It was so disturbing.”

While Gutiérrez wanted to continue alone and volunteered to do twice the work, the rules were clear: You live and die by your ride or die. So, he had to go home. While the ending was tough for both of them, Kaiser is hopeful she’ll be invited back.

“I was traumatized. As much as I want to be a hard ass, it was pretty traumatizing, because we did work so hard. I just had this repeat of self-hate that I ruined everything. I felt really bad for a while and I wasn’t sure how my face was gonna heal, because the scar on my forehead was really bad. I thought I was never going to look the same again. I was battling with not being able to look like myself,” she said. “Every time I looked in the mirror, it was a memory of what happened to me. I’m not trying to be dramatic about it because it’s not that serious but in the same sense, it is because it’s not something anyone could be prepared for.”

Kaiser continued, “I am definitely scared because it shows that as much as they put into safety precautions, you never know. Freak accidents happen. But being scared has never held me back. If I do get the chance, I definitely will go back. I want to go back to redeem myself and everyone who has supported me.”

“The Challenge: Ride or Dies” airs on MTV Wednesdays at 8 p.m.

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