Mattea Roach‘s 23-game winning streak on “Jeopardy!” came to an end Friday, and it was all thanks to one, measly dollar.
The 23-year-old tutor from Toronto lost on Friday’s episode to Danielle Maurer, a digital marketing manager and author who lives in Peachtree Corners, Georgia.
Roach’s dethroning came just one game after she prepared herself to say goodbye. In Thursday’s episode, not entirely confident in her Final Jeopardy! answer, Roach included the text “(if this is it, thanks for the fun!)”, which host Ken Jennings referenced at the top of Friday’s show.
Roach had a strong lead for most of the game. At the conclusion of Double Jeopardy, Roach had racked up $19,200; Maurer, $11,400 and a third contestant, Betsy Hobbs, had $7,400.
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“Mattea’s in the lead, but it’s not an insurmountable lead,” Jennings told the players heading into Final Jeopardy!. The category was “USA” and the clue: “These 2 mayors gave their names to a facility built on the site of an old racetrack owned by Coca-Cola magnate Asa Candler.” (The clue references Atlanta’s airport, named for William Hartsfield and Maynard Jackson.)
Maurer knew the answer.
“Obviously, for a Georgia native, maybe that’s not so hard,” Jennings told the beaming contestant, “but remember, these questions are written months in advance and assigned randomly to games before we even know who the contestants are.” (Roach had the advantage earlier this week in a Final Jeopardy clue that asked for the name of Canada’s national anthem.)
Maurer bet $4,200, so the correct answer boosted her total to $15,600.
Turning to the reigning champ, Jennings asked Roach: “Did she know it was Hartsfield (and) Jackson?”
“Oh, absolutely not,” she said, guessing. “Who are Churchill and Downs? idk” Roach wagered $3,601, which knocked her down to $15,599. (Funnily enough, Roach also won by $1 earlier in the week.)
As the results sank in, Maurer put her hands to her face in shock and laughed excitedly.
In a statement, Roach said the experience “feels still like a dream. I really came down here hoping to maybe win one game and so I still can’t believe it. It’s strange, obviously I didn’t come through in the last one, but I still feel so happy and so lucky to have had this experience.”
Her winnings totaled $560,983, which ranks her fifth in earnings from regular-season games behind Amy Schneider ($1,382,800), Matt Amodio ($1,518,601), James Holzhauer ($2,462,216) and Jennings ($2,520,700). Roach also ranks fifth in consecutive games won, behind James Holzhauer (32), Matt Amodio (38), Amy Schneider (40) and Jennings (74).
Roach, who tended to make conservative wagers, commented on the difference between the champs’ winnings.
“There’s a noticeable financial gap between my money and theirs, but it’s an amazing accomplishment,” she said in her statement. “I can’t believe it. It’s such a huge honor that I am being spoken of in relation to people like Ken, James, Matt, Amy. There’s no words.”
Roach will compete in the Tournament of Champions which airs this fall.
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