Amy Schneider: Meet the newest ‘Jeopardy!’ champion
“Jeopardy!” champ Amy Schneider was finally been defeated after a 40-game winning streak.
Staff Video, USA TODAY
Amy Schneider is a “Jeopardy!” winner once again. She clinched the “Jeopardy!” Tournament of Champions title Monday after defeating opponents Andrew He and Sam Buttrey for a third time in a first-to-three-victories Finals.
“I feel amazing,” Schneider said in a statement. “Earlier in the finals, I had this sudden moment of seeing myself and being like, ‘I’m on stage in the Tournament of Champions finals,’ and that was crazy. And I won! It’s a great feeling.”
Going into Monday’s episode, the sixth of a possible seven-game series, Schneider and He were tied with two wins each. Buttrey won his first game Friday, extending the high-stakes game play. The tournament that began Oct. 31 assembled 21 talented contestants who’d won at least four games since the 2020 tournament, and winners of the National College Championship, the Professors Tournament and the game show’s first Second Chance faceoff.
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Schneider, a writer from Oakland, California; He, a San Francisco software developer; and Buttrey, an associate professor of operations research at the Naval Postgraduate School in Pacific Grove, California, were the three finalists dreaming of the $250,000 grand prize.
It was the second match-up between Schneider and He. She ended his five-game hot streak last November before her own 40-game domination. Buttrey won $100,000 in December’s Professors Tournament, a first for the quiz show.
Ahead of Monday’s Final Jeopardy!, He trailed Schneider by a slim $1,400. But it would all depend on wagers and who knew the correct response in the category “Plays”: The January 12, 1864 Washington Evening Star reported on a performance of this “dashing comedy” to “a full and delighted house.”
Buttrey incorrectly guessed “Our Mutual Friend” and wagered it all, losing his $8,000 pot. He’s correct answer of “Our American Cousin” bumped him to $17,001. But Schneider knew the answer too, and her wager of $13,000 earned her the top spot in the tournament and the grand prize. He took second, winning $100,000 and Buttrey finished third, taking home $50,000.
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Following her victory, Schneider held her head in her hands in disbelief and wore a big grin. Earlier this month, she coyly shared her doubts about winning the tournament with USA TODAY.
“I have people all the time being like, ‘Oh, you’re going to crush it,'” Schneider said. “And I’m like, ‘That’s really not helping me out, actually.’ I went there (trying) to win. I definitely thought that I was capable of it, but I really just I didn’t know.” (Two other top winners, Matt Amodio and Mattea Roach, were eliminated in earlier rounds of the tournament.)
Schneider said she prepared the same way she did in her first time on the show, “just going through old games and looking for things I didn’t know. I did practice writing down Final Jeopardy! answers, because the act of writing it down had thrown me off. I was just visualizing all of the scenarios that might happen.”
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Roach shared that the tournament winner’s identity was almost revealed at a hotel bar following the taping.
“At one point (Schneider) showed up, and everybody applauded but then quickly realized that this might give away to any people that were in the area who had won the tournament,” Roach remembered. “So then every subsequent person that arrived at the table got a huge round of applause whether they were in the tournament or not.”
Schneider, the tournament’s first openly transgender winner, said she’s “going to keep going out there and being me. Being in places where people like me haven’t been before, it’s a very powerful thing to do.”
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