Friday, July 12, 2024

Amy Schneider’s ‘Jeopardy!’ winning streak comes to an end

Transgender contestant Amy Schneider’s wonderful winning streak has come to an end after 40 games.

Schneider is the show’s first transgender contestant to qualify for the Tournament of Champions, and continued to smash records, including reaching $1 million in prize money with her 28th consecutive Jeopardy! win.

But after a thrilling 40-game victory streak in which the show’s ratings soared, the “Jeopardy!” champion finally met her match.

Schneider, 42, is an engineering manager from Oakland, Calif., who has now become a history-making transgender champion of the game show, reigning out and proud for 40 days, from November 17, 2021 to January 26, 2022. But she lost her 41st game on Wednesday to Rhone Talsma, a librarian from Chicago.

Nevertheless, with 40 consecutive wins, Schneider holds the title for the second-longest run in the quiz show’s history, taking home a total of $1,382,800 in winnings.

At the time of publication, Schneider had yet to tweet her reaction to her defeat. But she did issue a statement to Associated Press saying that she thought her opponent Talsma played well and did a “great job of taking the opportunities when they came up and putting himself position to be able to win.”

The answer that defeated Schneider was: The only nation whose name in English ends in an “h” and which is also one of the 10 most populous. (“What is Bangladesh?”)

Schneider, who has become a symbol for trans achievement within the mainstream said she was sad to finally have been defeated but also relieved that “I don’t have to come up with anymore anecdotes,” or stories that contestants share during game breaks, according to AP.

She is only the fourth person in the show’s history to break $1 million in non-tournament play. She is the highest-earning female contestant in the show’s nearly 57-year run.

She even maintained her champion mode despite being robbed just a few days earlier.

Last month, she became the show’s first transgender contestant to qualify for the Tournament of Champions, an annual competition among the previous season’s 15 top-earning players. It’s a historic win for the LGBTQ community, and one for which Schneider, 42, has received some backlash from the public. On Dec. 31 she pinned a tweet:

Usually, Schneider prefers to share her post-game insights with her followers.

“I didn’t want to make too much about being trans, at least in the context of the show,” she wrote in a Twitter thread last month. “I am a trans woman, and I’m proud of that fact, but I’m a lot of other things, too!”

Nevertheless, GLAAD has commended Schneider’s ongoing representation in mainstream television for the transgender community. Nick Adams, GLAAD’s Director of Transgender Representation said: 

“Amy Schneider has given Jeopardy!‘s nine million plus nightly viewers a historic 40-game run full of masterful gameplay, while her media interviews and Twitter recaps of each game have given fans a glimpse into her life as a smart, charming transgender woman with a girlfriend and a rescue cat named Meep. Her visibility has been a bright spot, allowing millions of people to root for her success and start conversations about being transgender at a time when proposed bills in states like Arizona, Iowa, Indiana, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Amy’s home state Ohio, are targeting transgender Americans for discrimination. Amy’s achievement will be celebrated for years to come by Jeopardy! fans and LGBTQ people everywhere.”

Last week, GLAAD announced Schneider would receive a Special Recognition Award at the 33rd Annual GLAAD Media Awards, which honor media for outstanding representation of LGBTQ people and issues.

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