Chip Arndt

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Chip Arndt
Born Willis Chapman Arndt Jr.
(1966-10-02) October 2, 1966 (age 47)
West Hartford, Connecticut, US
Residence Miami Beach, Florida, US
Alma mater Yale University
Harvard University
Occupation business consultant
LGBT rights activist
Years active 1990-present
Television The Amazing Race 4
Partner(s) Reichen Lehmkuhl (1999-2003)

Chip Arndt (born October 2, 1966, in West Hartford, Connecticut) is an American gay activist, best known as a winner of The Amazing Race 4 in 2003 with former partner Reichen Lehmkuhl. The team was the first out gay couple to win a reality television competition.[citation needed] Arndt attended Hotchkiss School, Yale University, and Harvard University, where he was the president of the Harvard Business School Gay and Lesbian Student Association. Prior to The Amazing Race, he worked as an investment banker.

Early life[edit]

The youngest and only boy of four children, Arndt attended Hotchkiss School, a private school in his native Connecticut, and won a fellowship to a 13th year at Harrow College in Northwest London.[1] He earned his undergraduate degree in history, with honors, at Yale University in 1990, where he was captain of the undefeated golf team, named All-New England golf champion for two years, and All-Ivy champion for three years. He was a member of the Sigma Nu Fraternity. He played professional golf for a time,[citation needed] and worked for five years as an investment banker for Morgan Stanley in the US, Europe and Asia as well as in a variety of capacities in the entertainment industry in Los Angeles.[1] He then entered Harvard University for an MBA in 1996.[1] He was President of the Harvard Graduate School Leadership and Ethics Forum, Chairman and Founder of the Annual Harvard Business, Law, and Kennedy School of Government Debate, and President of the Harvard Business School Gay and Lesbian Student Association.

The Amazing Race[edit]

Main article: The Amazing Race 4

Arndt and former partner Reichen Lehmkuhl competed against eleven other teams the fourth season, taped in January and February 2003, and premiering in May. The couple, who had met in 1999 while Reichen was still in the United States Air Force, had a commitment ceremony in February 2, 2002.[2] While not legally married, they had asked that CBS identify them as a married couple.[3] The identification of a gay couple as married drew criticism from anti-gay groups. By the final episode, Reichen and Chip had an 83% popularity rating on the show's official website.[4] Arndt performed seven of eleven roadblocks (tasks only one team member can perform). In total they placed second on five legs of the race, with their win on the final leg being their second first place, eight minutes ahead of runners up Kelly and Jon. The finale was broadcast on August 21, 2003, with CBS winning both its timeslot and the night. Season 4 would later win an Emmy award for Outstanding Reality-Competition Program.

Post-Amazing Race[edit]

Arndt has been active in the GLBT community following the win,[5] and has appeared on the cover of The Advocate.[6] Later that month, Arndt addressed a group of gay-straight alliance leaders.[7] Express Gay News named him "Best Local Male Hero" for using "his fame and good fortune to help others."[8] He is a spokesperson for the annual five-state Braking the Cycle AIDS ride benefiting New York's GLBT Community Center, and Miami's SMART AIDS rides, and has helped raise money for other groups including the Point Foundation, the Human Rights Campaign, and the Matthew Shepard Foundation for which he is a Strategic Advisor. He co-founded of The Gay American Heroes Foundation and the website CoupleForEquality.com.[9][10][11] Arndt was also one of the commentators on the official CBS Website for The Amazing Race 10, where he answered dozens of questions from fans of the show about his experiences and behind-the-scenes knowledge about the series, and revealed that he accidentally ran into the returning teams secretly chosen for the program's 11th season, the anticipated "All Stars" version, at an airport. "A mini reunion ensued. I don't think the producers knew what to do as I saw a few of them through the corner of my eye keeping their distance, as they never interfere with what is happening real time... We all hugged and talked for ten minutes. I even was able to give a hug to the, 'same', camera and sound guys that won with us on our last leg of the race... 4 crews filmed it all." Despite repeated requests, out of respect for the series' integrity, he would not disclose their names. They have since been released by CBS, and the season premiered February 18, 2007. Arndt is once again a commentator on the official CBS site.

Each year, Arndt conducts a golf clinic at the Advocate Golf Classic benefiting the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force NGLTF. As the former Public Relations and Marketing Manager for Care Resource, South Florida's oldest and largest HIV/AIDS services organization, he produced the 2005 AIDS Walk Miami, and spearheaded the 21st annual White Party,[12] its week-long fund-raiser, which, at his initiative, emphasized a zero tolerance drugs policy for the first time. Other charity initiative includes a US$100,000 challenge benefiting nine HIV/AIDS service organizations through his participation in two AIDS ride and two AIDS walks in 2007,[13] and solicited donations via a special MySpace page.[14]

Currently, he is Executive Vice President and Director of Business Development at Merchant Advantage, a Miami-based e-commerce software company he helped found.[9][15]

Arndt was elected a PLEO (Party Leader and Elected Official) Obama delegate to the Democratic National Convention and was named one of Florida's 27 electors representing the Electoral College.[16] Herein he cast his vote on December 15 in Tallahassee, Florida for President Elect Obama and Vice President Elect Biden. Chip's electorship was historic because he is the first openly gay man to cast an electoral vote in the state of Florida.[17]

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