On Monday, Emma Boettcher grabbed a small piece of tv historical past, dethroning the “Jeopardy!” juggernaut James Holzhauer simply as he was poised to interrupt a longstanding report.
Boettcher was no one-game surprise. She received her subsequent two video games, making some assume she would possibly go on her personal Holzhauer-esque streak.
But in the sport that aired on Thursday, she completed third, closing the books on her run.
“Being on ‘Jeopardy!’ had to end sometime, and I’m not unhappy with the way it did,” she stated in an interview. “It was just marvelous to be there.”
Boettcher, 27, a librarian at the University of Chicago, beat Holzhauer throughout the episode broadcast on Monday, stopping him from surpassing the $2.52 million Ken Jennings received throughout his report 74-game streak in 2004. Holzhauer departed with $2.46 million and recommended Boettcher on a “world-beating performance.”
Before Final Jeopardy on Thursday, Boettcher was trailing the main participant, Brendan Roach, by solely $200. But when the host, Alex Trebek, stated the closing clue needed to do with “American music legends,” Boettcher stated, she knew it will be troublesome for her.
The closing clue: Steinbeck referred to as him “just a voice and a guitar” however stated his songs embodied “the will of a people to endure and fight against oppression.”
All three contestants positioned massive bets, and Boettcher was the just one who answered incorrectly. She first wrote “Who is Bob Dylan?” earlier than realizing it was considered one of the Guthries. She wasn’t positive which, so she crossed out Dylan’s identify and wrote in “A. Guthrie,” however the right response was Arlo’s father, Woody Guthrie.
Even if she had gotten it proper, although, she would have misplaced as a result of Roach, who works in speechwriting and communications at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in Cambridge, Mass., answered appropriately and bid sufficient to cement his lead. Boettcher took house a $1,000 comfort prize so as to add to the $97,002 from her three victories.
“I knew I wasn’t going to go on a long streak,” Boettcher stated. “If the categories worked out in my favor, then I could probably get through a couple more games. And that was a big if.”
Boettcher stated in an electronic mail on Thursday that she had been nervous to be in the highlight after the information broke that she had overwhelmed Holzhauer. But she stated she appreciated the outpouring of assist from former “Jeopardy!” contestants, former academics and “librarians near and far.”
On Tuesday, considered one of Boettcher’s colleagues at the University of Chicago introduced in a cake designed to seem like Monday’s “Jeopardy!” board, with sprinkles round every clue that Boettcher had answered appropriately, she stated.
Holzhauer’s 32-game streak, which stretched over two months, turned him into a national celebrity. He claims the top 16 spots for the most money won in one episode. As for Boettcher, she will be forever linked to Holzhauer in “Jeopardy!” lore, as Nancy Zerg is to Jennings. (After defeating him, Zerg lost the next game.)
Boettcher had never even heard Holzhauer’s name before she arrived at the “Jeopardy!” studio on March 12. She had not seen him play before she had to face him. (Holzhauer’s first win aired on April 4.)
During her second game, Boettcher bet all she had on a Daily Double clue, prompting Trebek to say, “Influenced by James, are we?” (Holzhauer made money at such a rapid pace partly because of his large bets.)
Fans noticed Boettcher’s quizzical reaction.
Boettcher said in an email on Thursday that she reacted that way because, at that moment, she had seen Holzhauer play only one game — the one he lost to her — and in that game he made relatively modest bets.
Boettcher said she knew to bet high from her years watching the show — not from watching Holzhauer in particular.
“I hadn’t had the opportunity to watch him yet,” she said. “I only wish my nerve hadn’t deserted me when I got Daily Doubles late in the game!”