Jeopardy! enters into its yearly Tournament of Champions this week as previous game winners converge on the set once again in a high-stakes battle.
Making this year’s Tournament of Champions is bittersweet for some of the contestants as it is the first without Alex Trebek. The longtime Jeopardy! host lost his battle with pancreatic cancer in November of last year. He was 80-years-old at the time of his passing and recorded his final episodes just days before his death. It was that kind of dedication and loyalty that left a lasting impression on Jeopardy! contestants. Before heading into battle for the tournament, several of the champions shared their thoughts of Trebek and how he will be missed.
Jeopardy! producers shared a two-minute video on their Instagram account on Tuesday with tournament competitors sharing their stories.
“15 of Alex Trebek’s last champions share their memories,” the social media post reads.
Poised, professional and pure class were among the words used to describe Trebek’s time as Jeopardy! host. Trebek stood behind the Jeopardy! host’s lectern for 36 years before his passing last year. Several of the champions comment on the calmness and ease that Trebek was able to provide while conducting the show.
“Most people think of him as being so serious and buttoned up,” tournament contestant Vivian Vadakan says. “But he is really a fun and goofy guy.”
Another contestant says they could tell by Trebek’s demeanor how they were performing on the show.
“If Alex was teasing you, then you were doing ok,” Jennifer Quail says of her experience with the longtime Jeopardy! host.
The contestants weren’t the only ones to share their thoughts on Trebek’s meaning to the long-running game show. Several social media users chimed in with their thoughts regarding the host’s fantastic career and presence on the show.
“He was just the most amazing host!” an Instagram poster proclaims. “He was perfect as the host of Jeopardy!”
Since his passing, Jeopardy! has turned to celebrities to serve as guest hosts in order to keep the show moving forward. The likes of former contestant Ken Jennings, NFL superstar Aaron Rodgers, as well as journalists Katie Couric, Anderson Cooper and Bill Whitaker, have all taken turns behind the podium to date.
Former contestant and Alex Trebek favorite Buzzy Cohen is serving as host for the Tournament of Champions.