Boot Camp: Fox
Justine Elias
May 25, 2001 AT 04:00 AM EDT

”Boot Camp”’s Whitlow wins the $500,000

Okay, how rigged did that the final ”Boot Camp” vote seem to you?

It was suspicious enough that Fox’s mock military game show stretched its finale into two episodes (airing Wednesday, May 16 and 23). Yet once we learned that the winner of the $500,000 grand prize would be determined not only by a seven event sleep deprivation and endurance contest (dubbed ”The Gauntlet”), but also on the votes of six discharged recruits — well, you had to wonder if there wasn’t going to be some collusion in picking the champ.

Finalist Ryan Wolf, 22, a Philadelphia college student, blazed through the jock events, taking a 6 – 1 lead. His rival, Jen Whitlow, 25, gutted out just one athletic win, though even the dour drill instructors got a little teary eyed as she finally conquered her nemesis, the obstacle course’s 10 foot wall. In the end, the Atlanta sales analyst needed all six discharged recruits to take her side. And one after another, they stood up for her. Or rather, they stood against Wolf, who’d ticked them off by being arrogant, scheming, or too quick to deny that he’d been the one to lose Recruit Yaney’s rappelling rope and D ring back in episode three — an incident that earned everyone a morning of punishment.

Here’s what they said:

MORETTY ”I don’t know who’s worse, the ringleader, like Wolf, or being the lame assistant. He was openly a weasel, and she was a weasel in disguise.”

HUTAK ”I take integrity and loyalty very seriously. When the incident happened where a piece of equipment was left behind, responsibility was not taken, and that hurt the entire team.”

BROWN ”From Wolf I heard a lot of arrogance. And Whitlow, I didn’t trust. When you [Wolf] allowed the whole squad to do pushups , and worst of all Yaney, who obviously adored you, that showed me you are not a team player.”

THOMPSON ”I’m Dave Thompson, and people like me. My decision was based on consistency, and for that I pledge my dogtags to Whitlow.”

PUPO ”I’m not at all surprised it’s come down to you two, considering how cozy you guys got. There’s no such thing as a team player. In the end all the team players go home exactly the same: battered, bruised, and beaten. So as far as I’m concerned, between the two of you, who wins — who cares? I flipped a coin. My tags go to Whitlow. Good luck.”

YANEY ”I couldn’t let Wolf win knowing that he could’ve just come forward. He let the whole squad suffer. I felt Whitlow deserved to win.”

WOLF ”It was all a matter of how the group was going to vote. And the group got played by the ringleader, Brown. And the fact that she got booted off really ate at her. If it hadn’t been the D ring, something else would have replaced it. I don’t care. I took [$100,000] home. I’m quite pleased.”

WHITLOW ”Cresting that wall. That’s worth more than half a million dollars to me, because I didn’t give up.”

What did you think of the ”Boot Camp” conclusion?

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