All good things must come to an end and so, too, did the remarkable “Jeopardy!” winning streak of Amy Schneider.
After 40 wins — most of them runaways — Schneider got off to a slow start in Wednesday night’s game. Though she did take the lead before the Jeopardy round was completed, and kept it throughout the Double Jeopardy round, her lead was not sufficient to keep Rhone Talsma, a Chicago librarian, from overtaking her in Final Jeopardy. Schneider’s Final Jeopardy answers had been a mixed bag over the last several games. Last night she did not even attempt to answer the question “The only nation in the world whose name in English ends in an H, it’s also one of the 10 most populous.” (The answer: Bangladesh)
But don’t cry for Schneider. In her incredible 40-game run she not only overtook Matt Amodio for second place in consecutive games won but she racked up a hefty sum of $1,382,800 in winnings, earning her fourth place for highest earnings in regular season play. In addition, she is the first trans person to earn a spot in the “Jeopardy!” Tournament of Champions and the first woman to make the “Jeopardy!” millionaires club.
“There’s still the Tournament of Champions to come of course, and given the success I’ve had, it’s possible that there may be even more ‘Jeopardy!’ in my future after that,” Schneider said in a new essay for Jeopardy.com. “But even if you set that aside, my life as ‘Amy Schneider, Jeopardy! Champion’ is really only the beginning. Now, and for the rest of my life, I will forever be associated with the events of the last few months, and so it seems fair to say that my ‘Jeopardy!’ run will never truly end.”
In her essay, Schneider talks about all she gained from her two-months’ worth of appearances on the show. Besides the $1.3 million bucks and the chance to reconnect “all sorts of people” from her past, Schneider has appeared on the cover of both Washington Post and The New York Times, on the big screen at a Warriors game, on “Good Morning America,” as well as had her work published in Defector and been recognized by the GLAAD Media Awards. And that’s only the beginning.
Powerfully, Schneider also wrote about hers trans identity and the rejection she feared she would receive.
“I always believed that most people would see me as trans people have so often been seen: a freak, a pervert, a man in a dress, a liar, mentally ill. And as the days counted down to my episodes airing, I braced myself for the rejection I was sure would come. And then… it just didn’t. Sure, there have been a few isolated voices trying to bring me down, but the overwhelming reaction has been of support and acceptance.
“People actually believe me when I say who I am,” Schneider continued. “They don’t think there’s something wrong with me. And because of that, for maybe the first time in my life, I’m starting to think there really isn’t anything wrong with me either.”