In the end, Jeremy Britt just had more to lose. And to win. The 23-year-old banker from Rockford, Mich., is $250,000 richer after winning the Season 13 title of "The Biggest Loser."
"It feels incredible," a giddy Britt said after he picked the confetti out of his hair following the taping of the finale. Asked what he planned to do with his win money, Britt said first up is a debt he owes Buddy. Britt said that Buddy talked constantly (off camera) about how desperately he needed a van for his family, and hoped that somehow there would be a competition that would award a new vehicle, as has been done in the past.
"I told him that if I win I'd buy him a van," Britt said. "So that's first." (You know how Britt spent much of the season trying to find a girlfriend? Well, ladies, you should have acted faster. He's got one now.)
Britt started the competition at 389 pounds and finished it at 190. His 199-pound weight loss meant that he lost 51.16% of his overall body weight. He easily took the victory from second-place Kim, who started the competition at 252 pounds and ended it at 134. Her 118-pound weight loss meant that she lost 46.83% of her body weight.
Kim, 38, was the "Biggest Loser" for much of the season, but in the end Jeremy just had more weight to lose. Kim is at her fighting weight. "I don't know what's next for me," Kim said after the finale, adding that she was considering a career in fitness and public speaking but for now is just enjoying the moment. "I'm just going to put it all out there and see what happens." Kim also won the Michelle Obama gym challenge, earning $30,000 of fitness equipment for a community center in her hometown of Roswell, Ga.
One of the most jaw-dropping transformations of the night belonged to Mike, 41, of Oakland. He won the $100,000 at home prize, and was virtually unrecognizable (although he filled out a suit almost as well as Dolvett Quince, Jeremy's trainer). Mike was eliminated early in the season after crossing paths with the misunderstood Ana-Conda, but he used that termination to fuel his determination. "I said, 'What if I can do it all at home?'" He stopped short of calling it a vindication, however, because he stressed that he did this for himself, and no one else.
He started the competition at 358 pounds and finished at 198. That 160-pound weight loss meant that he lost 44.69% of his overall body weight. Turns out that failing to get back into the house was a blessing in disguise. That "failure" paved the way for the at-home victory. Mike said he wants to start a weight-loss clinic in Northern California. He said his brother, Joe, who quit the show, is doing well. But Mike didn't add much more than that.
Britt's feat was all the more remarkable because he nearly lost his focus right at the end, when a poisonous attitude crept through the house after the final five players decided that, suddenly, they didn't like how the game was being played. It led two of the competitors, Mark and Buddy, to pack up their marbles and go home, and nearly undermined Jeremy when he found himself battling for that last berth in the final three.
Quince said he wants audiences look at Jeremy's turnaround -- he attacked it like he was the Terminator -- and gain inspiration from it. "I am a proud papa tonight, absolutely." He said he believed Jeremy had an opportunity to inspire other young adults to tackle their weight problem once and for all. "He will change lives," Quince predicted.
Ana-Conda finished third. She started the competition at 294 pounds, and finished at 179. Her 115-pound weight loss was equal to 39.12% of her starting weight. BTW, Conda said after the finale that she was completely misunderstood during the course of the show, and was conveniently edited so that she'd appear as the villian. "America has the wrong impression of me," she said.
Host Alison Sweeney said she felt a bit disappointed by the finale. On screen, Sweeney has the dirty job of reigning over eliminations and handing out diabolical challenges. Off screen, she is like a mother hen to each new crop of contestants and befriends many of them. She says she uses their inspirational stories to help her stick to her own health-and-fitness goals.
"I wish everyone were here weighing in," she said of the three competitors -- Mark, Buddy and Joe -- who chose to quit the show instead of compete. "Of course, we want to know what happens to everyone."
Each finale sees dramatic transformations, of course, but she said that several of the players looked unrecognizable even beyond their astonishing weight loss. She mentioned Cassandra and Lauren in particular. In addition to great new hairstyles, they seem to have blossomed into confident young women ready to take on the world.
Each "Biggest Loser" finale is like a reunion and past competitors are invited to take a seat in the audience. There, they catch up with old friends and show off how they've been able to keep the weight off.
Season 10 winner Patrick House looked trim and terrific, and Season 12 winner John Rhodes was there as well. He has gained some of the weight back, a mild paunch, but otherwise looks like he is doing a good job maintaining. When I saw him, he was walking alone (his wife following along behind.) Tracey from Season 8 was there, looking good.
Also in the audience: Newlyweds Stephanie and Sam who met on Season 9, and married this past weekend. The ceremony had an added poignancy. Last year, Sam toppled fell 54 feet from a rooftop deck and suffered a number of serious injuries, including a broken pelvis and brain damage. His recovery continues and we wish him all the best.
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Photo: Season 13 winner Jeremy Britt. Credit: NBC