As TJ Lavin continues to recover from an injury he suffered during a BMX bike stunt late last week, the current stars and previous competitors from “The Challenge” are sending well-wishes to the MTV show’s host.
“We’ve all spent a lot of really memorable times together,” said Johnny Devenanzio, who is on the current “Cutthroat” season of the show and made his MTV debut on “The Real World: Key West.” “And I think we’ve had a lot of really awesome memories together that we wouldn’t have had, had it not been for MTV and with what he does. I think as much as people admire what we do, I think my admiration for him and what he’s done for the sport of BMX freestyle, it goes way beyond. … It’s something he’s always loved doing. … The guy’s a true competitor and a warrior, and if anyone can pull through this, it’d be him.”
Several of Johnny’s castmates echoed that sentiment. “Basically, I would never come back to a ‘Challenge’ unless TJ was there,” said Kenny Santucci, who started out on the “Fresh Meat” season and hosts the “Jersey Shore” after-show. “I hope [he has] a quick recovery, and I give him my best and my family gives him our best, because him and I got really close over the last couple of years, and he’s been a good friend to me. I wish him a quick recovery and all the best.”
Kenny said there’s a side of the host that might not be evident to viewers: “He’s just a fun guy. He’s got a good heart. He’s not your typical 33-year-old guy who [competes in] X Games. He’s not into drugs. He doesn’t drink. He’s just a really good guy. There’s not too many deep layers or bad things about TJ at all. He’s a good family guy. He’s a good friend.”
Fellow “Challenge” competitor Evan Starkman, who also got his “Challenge” start on “Fresh Meat,” wished his pal well after what he called a very “sad” incident. “TJ is just really one of the most laid-back, relaxed guys ever,” he said. “He’s always up for a good time. He likes going to the mall. I never met a guy who likes going to shopping malls more than him. He’d go to the mall every day if he could. He’s loyal, and he’s someone that really includes everyone. He’s honest.”
In a statement e-mailed to MTV News, “Road Rules: The Quest” alum Katie Doyle said: “I am really saddened to hear the news about TJ Lavin. He is just as much a part of the ‘Real World/Road Rules Challenge’ franchise as any castmember. He is very well respected amongst the cast and I have never heard anyone say anything negative about him. He has been the host of ‘The Challenge’ for the past 10 seasons and adds much to the show with his competitive background as a pro BMX rider. If there is anything I can say about TJ, it is that he will push any competitor to compete to the best of their abilities and never give up. So I have complete faith that TJ will make a full recovery because there is nothing about that man that would suggest quitting.”
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