Ryan Long is still fresh off his whirlwind journey of becoming a record-making Jeopardy! champ. In an interview with Jeopardy! producers, Long took the chance to express gratitude for the opportunity to evolve from a ride-share driver to Jeopardy champ. Along the way, Long faced many obstacles on the road to Jeopardy! fame.
“In my years on this planet, I’ve worn a lot of hats,” Long said. “My first job was as a furniture mover when I was 14 years old. I’ve worked as a dishwasher, a water ice truck driver, a piano delivery man, a supermarket cashier, a bouncer, a street sweeper, a warehouse grunt, a package handler, an office clerk, a CCT operator, and a rideshare driver. I’m now a 16-game Jeopardy champion! How about that for a resume entry?”
Long’s fame almost never happened. He nearly lost his life in a battle with COVID-19 during the pandemic. “It went bad quickly,” Long said. “I spent two and a half weeks in the hospital. I dislike hospitals, as do a lot of men, especially African-American men. And I despise going to the doctor’s office – though I’m improving. I didn’t have much of a choice this time.”
Long was lucky enough to kick the virus and go on to achieve his dream of going on Jeopardy! and making an impact on the competition.
“Ultimately, I believe it happened because I didn’t truly believe it could happen,” Long said. “[It was] a pipe dream, the kind of thing you halfheartedly pursue in your spare time because one, you don’t really think there’s a chance. [Eventually], that fire came back to me. I wanted to do this – I wanted to do this for myself, my child, and a million other reasons. I promised myself I wouldn’t squander this chance, so I went out and gave it my all.”
What’s Next For Ryan Long?
Long’s tenure as Jeopardy! champion came to an end after a 16-episode winning streak. His victories granted him nearly $300,000 in winnings.
“I think I did okay, though I can only see my mistakes now that I look back” Long said. “And now that I’ve been on the show, I’ve discovered that it’s awoken something else in me. Instead of being afraid of what might happen, I’ve started to find joy in the possibilities of life.”
He might be passed his winning streak, but Long still has a lot to look forward to. The 2022 Jeopardy Tournament of Champions will take place later this year. Long will certainly be an anticipated presence in the tournament, but in the meantime, he’s still learning to manage his fame and fortune.
“I’ve got to get a bunch of stuff figured out before I can even go kind of crazy,” he admitted. “I just made my first ever appointment with an accountant today. I never had a need for an accountant—or a lawyer. Now, I’m looking into getting both, and it’s really trippy.”