After winning 16 consecutive games on “Jeopardy!,” Ryan Long undoubtedly earned himself legend status. In addition, the ride share driver also won himself a hefty check totaling $300,401. The Philly native and quiz show champ collected his well-deserved winnings on Tuesday.
Long quickly became America’s most beloved brainiac and a global fan favorite on the classic quiz show for the past three weeks. He garnered fans with his hilarious anecdotes, like when he described only bringing two dress shirts with him to set or forgetting his glasses, causing him to squint at the board. Yet, he and his “storage locker” of a brain proved they deserved to be on stage competing. Sadly, his 16-game streak came to a close on Monday night.
However, when he returned home to his city of Brotherly Love, he was greeted with a welcome he’d never forget. “I earned that last dollar,” Long laughed as he spoke with 6abc’s studio location in Philadelphia.
As for Philadelphia, the city couldn’t be more proud to have him as a resident. He is now officially the winningest contestant in the city’s history.
Ryan Long’s mom weighs in on her son’s incredible winning streak
“Trust yourself, hold onto your dreams, and don’t let anybody steal your shine,” Long said, quoting his grandmother. In addition, Long’s mother, Angela, said the moment was a lifetime in the making. According to Angela, Long read the dictionary as a child.
“He’s always been a Jeopardy! fan, and he’s always been smart,” Angela said of her only child. “I know every mom says that about their kid, but my kid was reading the newspaper at 4-years-old.”
For fans sad to see Long go, it isn’t a goodbye. Long will return to Los Angeles this fall for the show’s Tournament of Champions.
“It’s amazing,” he said. “It’s a great feeling. My life is completely different than it was before. I have to take some time to find out who the new me is now, but I will always stay the old me.” Now, with some well-deserved free time on his hands, Long says he plans to take his son fishing and spend precious moments with his family.
On Monday, Eric Ahasic, a meteorologist from Minneapolis, Minnesota, ended Long’s winning streak and was crowned the show’s new reigning champion.
At the start of Final Jeopardy!, Ahasic was in the lead with $10,200, and Stephanie Garrison, who hailed from Laguna Hills, California, trailed behind him in second with $9,200.
For the first time since he stepped on stage, Long was in third place with $6,800. After answering correctly, Ahasic won the game with $18,401. Garrison did not provide the correct response and wound up in second place with $3,200. Ryan, who was also unable to respond with the right answer, finished in third with just $1.