The Amazing Race may not be an emotional show but that doesn't stop it from having very sad moments:
- Jill from the John Vito and Jill team in Season 3. She signed up for Season 1, and wanted to race with her brother. They were actually finalists, but then her brother died in the September 11th terrorist attack.
- While in Season 6 everyone is generally respectful when going through Senegal's "Gate of No Return" where slaves were sent to America, it's generally unflappable Gus who ends up stopping and crying at that point. Even more heartwrenching is him apologizing to daughter Hera afterward and stating that he didn't cry at his parents' funerals, but seeing himself going through those doors was enough to establish a connection with a part of him largely too painful to connect with.
- Lorena's meltdown in Season 12. She was giving task her best effort but the camel kept repeatedly kicking her and knocking the milk out. Since she and Jason were the 2nd team to arrive at the task, can you blame her for being upset?
- Zev & Justin's elimination in The Amazing Race 15 was one of the most heartbreaking eliminations ever. The duo ran a near perfect leg and got their first 1st place finish of the season, only to have everything they worked for ruined when they lost Zev's passport.
- The same season also sees Maria & Tiffany struggling horribly on both sides of the Detour on their final leg. Not from a lack of trying, but they were physically incapable of doing either side. You can feel for them if you've tried your best at something only to fail.
- Amazing Race US 20: Bopper's reveal that his daughter was sick with a lung disease and his team desperately needed the money to pay for her treatment.
- Also in All Star 2014, when Bopper is forced out of the show due to having an inflamed pancreas.
- Although it loses a lot of its punch due to crossing over into Narm, watching Rachel fall apart when she is presented with the horrifying task/sacrifice of having herself shaved bald along with her husband if they want to complete the Fast-Forward is very pitiful. We get a rare moment of Rachel being very genuine and deeply hurt and saying something profound. She starts to break down into tears and mentions how the last girl who did that (their team won that season) was skinny and she could look cute even without hair, but Rachel (who is a bit plus-size) believes she needs hair to be pretty... before mentioning she paid $500 for extensions... still, it is so sad to see Rachel of all people reduced to tears because she feels that insecure about herself and uncomfortable with her body, and she cannot bring herself to go through with it, and even though Brendon certainly has no qualms about rocking a shaved head (because he faced this punishment in Big Brother 12, and he rocked a shaved head in the next season just because he wanted one), he doesn't make his wife do something she doesn't want to do... Aww...
- Abbie & Ryan's Humiliation Conga in Amazing Race US 21. Yes, Ryan was pompous and big-headed, but not even he deserved getting that many blows delivered to him. Especially after he started changing his ways towards the end.
- Abba learning his father had Stage 4 cancer with no chance of remission
- Amazing Race US 22: Watching Dave & Connor being forced to quit to save Dave's ability to walk. They were easily the biggest competition in the series and they not only lost the race, but Dave nearly lost the ability to walk.
- Amazing Race US 29: Becca & Floyd's elimination. Floyd completely wore himself out on the Roadblock causing him to struggle on the rest of the leg eventually collapsing. At one point both had pretty much submitted to the fact they were eliminated and were understandably upset. Not a very good ending for a team who up till that point had an uncrushable spirit.
- In The Amazing Race Canada 3, it was really depressing to watch Elias struggle with the sports task because of his dyslexia, a condition that not even Max knew about. They went from being the third team to arrive to being eliminated.
- Any time a previous racer passes away.
- When a couple decide to go on the race for any reason, only to decide to break up at the end of the race. The game is just that nerve-wracking and blame-inducing.
- Goat Yoga from season 30 having a toxic friendship where each can't stop blaming the other for mistakes. They are predictably out of the running early in... and then go online and continue to spew rotten comments at each other on social media.
- Team Yale becoming the odd team out at the finale and missing the grand prize because of one unfortunate mistake in the finale of Season 30.