For former standout Bellefonte athlete and Penn State linebacker Kyle Lucas, the bond between brothers runs deeper than the desire to win.
After he narrowly missed out on the chance to compete against his younger brother, Tyler Lucas, on “Mount Olympus” on Thursday night’s episode of NBC’s “The Titan Games,” Kyle teared up. The tears, Kyle later explained on Twitter, weren’t so much because he lost to Schwarzenegger lookalike Matt Welbourn in the “Off the Rails” challenge, but because that meant the time he was getting to spend with his brother on set in California was over.
Both in the Air Force — Kyle in Colorado Springs and Tyler stationed halfway around the world in Germany — the two were savoring the rare opportunity they got to spend some time together competing on the reality fitness competition show.
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“Up until we found out we were going to be on this show, we didn’t know the next time we were going to see each other,” Kyle told the Centre Daily Times before “The Titan Games” first aired.
Fortunately for both brothers, the producers allowed Kyle to stay on set for the duration on Tyler’s run on the show, Kyle explained on Twitter.
For his part, Tyler dominated in both of his challenges on Thursday night’s broadcast. In “The Vortex,” Tyler lifted a 25-foot chain tower using a pulley system, then, using the same muscles he just engaged, climbed to the top of that tower and pulled the “victory chain” before opponent Julian Stewart.
As Tyler, who was the first to get his chain tower up, started to lose ground on the climb, Kyle could be seen in the stands looking panicked, hands behind head, shifting in place, “Come on, brother.”
As soon as Tyler climbed down from that tower, he went immediately to Kyle, and the two embraced.
Tyler went on to avenge his brother’s loss by beating Welbourn soundly in the “Mount Olympus” challenge. With the win, Tyler became a “Titan,” and remains alive for future competition.
After receiving a hug from Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Tyler went immediately to Kyle in the stands, and the two lifted arms together in victory.
Tyler said before the show aired that he had spent his life living in Kyle’s shadow, a three-sport athlete at Bellefonte Area High School who went on to “Linebacker U” and later to the Air Force. He said it was Kyle who inspired him to also walk on at Penn State and join the Air Force. But during the show, Kyle had a different story to tell.
“My whole life, my mom’s always been like, ‘your brother looks up to you,’ ” Kyle said on TV, getting emotional. “Now it’s flipped; I look up to him. And that just drives me to be better, he’s my idol. Every day I strive to be like Tyler Lucas.”
With three years between them, the two never got the chance to compete head-to-head in wrestling or football when they were growing up, so they were looking forward to “The Titan Games” for the chance to settle, once-and-for-all, who is the most athletic Lucas brother.
For Kyle, that score still isn’t settled.
“Might have to go back for season two to find out,” he tweeted.
Lauren Muthler: 814-231-4646, @lmuth1259