When Jeopardy! contestant Amy Schneider went on a 40-game winning streak, racking up millions in prize money, Jeopardy! fans were riveted. Not necessarily because of who she was, but because of the strength of her Jeopardy! game.
Still, Schneider, who is trans, has used her moment in the spotlight to clap back at critics and to educate people about her identity. And Jeopardy! co-host Mayim Bialik thinks that’s great.
“Her run was historic in so many ways,” Bialik recently told Hollywood Life of Schneider. “You know, she’s a really, really powerful figure. And I think it’s also so important to point out that, I consider Jeopardy a nonpartisan, non-political place. It’s a place where people want to tune in to be entertained by people in tremendous intellect. And Amy did that.”
Jeopardy! Contestant Also Brought the Sarcasm
Besides entertaining millions with her trivia knowledge, Schneider also shone a light on some of the critical comments she’d received online and responded to her critics on Twitter.
“I’d like to thank all the people who have taken the time, during this busy holiday season, to reach out and explain to me that, actually, I’m a man,” Schneider tweeted sarcastically around New Year’s. “Every single one of you is the first person ever to make that very clever point, which had never once before crossed my mind.”
But Schneider was not letting her detractors get her down. She said she’d also heard from many supportive people, and despite all the attention it brought, 2021 had been her best year yet.
“I knew that if I won this last game, I’d keep my quest alive, and get some rest, but I also realized that I would end 2021 as the reigning Jeopardy! champion! It’s like ending with the year-end number one ranking in tennis, except not at all meaningful,” she said last month. “And thanks to all of you! 2021 wasn’t the best year for the world, but it turned out to be the best year I’ve ever had! Not only have I had this Jeopardy! run, but I’ve heard from so many wonderful people. I wish I could respond to all of you, but it’s very much appreciated!”
Up Next for Schneider? The Tournament of Champions
Schneider is the first trans contestant on Jeopardy! to qualify for the Tournament of Champions. And once there, she’ll face off against Matt Amodio, who she unseated to launch her historic winning streak.
Schneider was in turn unseated by Rhone Talsma, a Chicago librarian. He beat Schneider to the punch on the clue, “The only nation in the world whose name in English ends with an ‘H’ and is also one of the 10 most populous.” The correct guess? Bangladesh.
“It’s really been an honor,” Schneider said in a statement upon ending her long winning streak. “To know that I’m one of the most successful people at a game I’ve loved since I was a kid and to know that I’m a part of its history now, I just don’t know how to process it.”
Meanwhile, the Tournament of Champions is slated to air this autumn.