The pandemic was tough on everyone, with many finding themselves, their friends, or their family members hospitalized. For Jeopardy! super champion Ryan Long, a bout of COVID almost cost him his life – and did cost him his job. After he was released from the hospital, he was no longer able to perform his job.
He had a young son to care for, however, and took a job as a rideshare driver to make ends meet. Sadly, his days behind the wheel weren’t quite as profitable as he hoped and he often struggled to keep the lights on in his home.
When he got the call to go on Jeopardy!, Ryan didn’t see it as a chance to change his life. He assumed that he would make it through a game or two and then go home. What happened, however, was a far different picture.
Ryan Long not only won the hearts of fans all over the country but took home a whopping $300,000 in winnings. After his 16-game winning streak on Jeopardy! Ryan is no longer worried about paying his electric bill but choosing the right lawyer and accountant for his small fortune.
“I’m still proud of those years when I was grinding and doing whatever it took to survive,” Ryan shared in an interview with Jeopardy!. “But I’ve also been reminded that I still have dreams and ambitions and that it’s okay to care about myself enough to have them. With the help of a lot of people, I managed to achieve a big one. For that, I am forever grateful.”
‘Jeopardy!’ Super Champ Ryan Long Shares Heartfelt Message With Fans
Following his heartbreaking loss to Jeopardy! newcomer Eric Ahasic (who’s well on his way to building an impressive streak of his own), Ryan Long took to social media to thank those who supported him along the way. After thanking his mother and his fellow contestants, Ryan penned a heartfelt message to his fans.
“Sometimes it seems like society put you in a box,” he wrote. “And you are classified as a certain thing with a certain destiny, even though you may feel differently inside. For the longest time, I didn’t believe that a person could really break out of that box. But I feel like this thing that just happened is proof that you can.”
“Trust yourself, hold on to your dreams, you know who you really are. Take your shot, and don’t let anybody tell you [that] you can’t do this or that, or you should be doing things a certain way. As my grandmom would’ve said, never let ANYBODY steal your shine.”
Though Ryan Long’s time on the regular series is over, fans will see him again this fall, as he qualified for the Tournament of Champions three times over! He will appear alongside other incredible champions like Mattea Roach, Amy Schneider, and Eric Ahasic.