The Amazing Race Wiki
The Amazing Race Wiki

Cat O'Brien and Jesse O'Brien are a team of Foster Parents on The Amazing Race: Australia v New Zealand.

Though they constantly raced at the back of the pack, never finishing higher than 3rd, their "never quit" philosophy served them well and secured them a place as fan favorites, as well as allowed them to hang on a lot longer than anyone thought they would. In Dubrovnik, Croatia, their biggest weakness, their lack of physical strength, meant they were unable to keep up with the other teams in the physically intense leg. They fell to last place after failing to count the steps up Watchman's Tower on the first climb, and received the last departure slot the following day. They were unable to climb out of last place, and finished 5th.


This nurturing couple is used to caring for others. Will they be able to put themselves first and bring home a win for their children?

Cat (38) and Jesse's (36) lives revolve around their ever-changing family. "We have three children, Michael (13), Carmel (10) and Joel (8); and Freckles the cat who is more like a miniature lion; and we occasionally have foster children and by occasionally we mean most of the time," says Cat.

They met 21 years ago and Jesse says he knew he was going to marry her the first time he met her. "Cat is funny, smart, kind and embracing. And obviously she's smoking hot!" he admires. Their family reside in Hamilton.

The couple applied for the Race to prove to their children that anything is possible. "I would most look forward to crossing that finish line and winning that money because of what it would mean for our kids. It would afford us opportunities we wouldn't otherwise have. The underlying motivation is our kids," says Cat.

This is not Jesse's first time on the small screen. He came fourth in NZ Idol in 2005 after withdrawing from the 2003 competition to be at the birth of their daughter, Carmel. He still writes and performs music, under the names "DarkroomJesse", "The Darkroom Project" and "Jesse & The O'Briens".

They‟ve been overseas a handful of times, though Cat hasn‟t travelled in the past ten years due to the demands of raising young children.

Jesse acknowledges they're not "team brains" or "team bikini", but believes they have as much chance of winning as any other team. "It's not just about being fast or fit or strong. There are many things in our lives that we've done purely through being ourselves, and nothing else. We count on that," he says. Cat adds: "If you can foster kids, you can do anything!"

The Amazing Race: Australia v New Zealand

Race History

Cat & Jesse's Race History
Episode Leg Destination(s) Detour Choice
Placement Notes
1 1 Australia → New Zealand No Detour Jesse 8 of 10
2 2 New Zealand → Cambodia Shrimp / Shoot Jesse 5 of 9
3 3 Cambodia → Thailand Climb Up / Drill Down Cat 7 of 8
4 4 Thailand → Namibia Pipe / Poo Jesse 4 of 7
5 5 Namibia → Russia Cossack / Coat Rack Cat 6 of 6 [1]
6 6 Russia Boil / Build Jesse 4 of 6
7 7 Russia → Portugal Wet / Dry Cat 3 of 5
8 8 Portugal → Croatia No Detour Cat 5 of 5 [2]
Average 5.25
     The team finished in first place
     The team finished in last place and was eliminated from the race
     The team finished in last place in a non-elimination leg
     The team that won The Amazing Race
     The team that crossed the Finish Line second
     The team that crossed the Finish Line third
The team used the Fast Forward pass
ϵ The team used the Express Pass somewhere during the leg
The team used the U-Turn
Recipient of the U-Turn
The team used the Salvage Pass


1: Leg 5 had no mandatory rest period between legs, and all teams were ordered to continue racing. Cat & Jesse did not have to face a Speed Bump during Leg 6, despite coming in last during Leg 5.

2: Leg 8 featured two Roadblocks and no Detour. The team member who sat out the first Roadblock was required to perform the second one.


External links


The Amazing Race: Australia v New Zealand Teams
AUS3 AshleighJarrod.jpg
 Aston & Christie
Feisty Friends
AUS3 AstonChristie.jpg
 Carla & Hereni
Fitness Mums
AUS3 CarlaHereni.jpg
 Cat & Jesse
Foster Parents
AUS3 CatJesse.jpg
 Daniel & Ryan
Intensive Care Nurses
AUS3 DanielRyan.jpg
 Elizabeth & Todd
AUS3 ElizabethTodd.jpg
 Emily & Jono
AUS3 EmilyJono.jpg
 Inga & Tiharna
Pageant Models
AUS3 IngaTiharna.jpg
 John & Murray
Best Mates
AUS3 JohnMurray.jpg
 Sally & Tyson
Dating Bodybuilders
AUS3 SallyTyson.jpg