After two weeks of tough questions and fierce competition, Jeopardy! crowned its 2021 Tournament of Champions winner. Sam Kavanaugh, a substitute teacher from Carlton, Minnesota, claimed the victory.
Jennifer Quail and Veronica Vichit-Vadakan came in second and third, respectively, Deadline reported.
But besides a lifetime supply of bragging rights, what did they each win? Kavanaugh won the $250,000 grand prize. Quail is walking away with $100,000, and Vichit-Vadakan earned $50,000.
Kavanaugh joins some of Jeopardy!‘s most famous contestants as a Tournament of Champion winner. That includes Buzzy Cohen, who guest-hosted this season’s tournament.
Along with the $250,000 Jeopardy! is giving to Sam Kavanaugh for his win, the show is also donating an equal amount to Hope of the Valley Trebek Center for the Homeless, in honor of Alex Trebek.
“It’s so wonderful that Jeopardy! is supporting Hope of the Valley’s – The Trebek Center in Northridge, CA,” Jean Trebek, the former host’s widow, said of the donation. “The show’s generosity continues to reflect Alex’s desire to assist underrepresented communities.”
Alex Trebek and his wife cared deeply about helping the homeless by providing them shelter and opportunities. The Hope of the Valley Rescue Mission created the Trebek Center thanks to a $500,000 donation the Trebeks made. That donation helped the charity raise another $2 million and secure $6 million from the San Fernando Valley government officials told TMZ.
Along with temporary housing, the Trebek Center will include programs to help those men and women get back on their feet. That includes substance abuse counseling, job training and placement, and mental health services, People said.
Each of the Jeopardy! finalists also thanked Alex Trebek for his inspiration and charity. Trebek died in November of pancreatic cancer.
Who is the Next ‘Jeopardy!’ Guest Host?
Now that Buzzy Cohen’s two-week stint as guest host is finished, Mayim Bialik, neuroscientist and actress, will take her turn at the podium beginning on Monday, May 31. Jeopardy! will also return to it’s regular format following the Tournament of Champions.
Bialik has already taped her episodes, and said hosting Jeopardy! would be her “dream job.”
“I mean that’s like a, that’s a dream job,” Bialik said. “And I have to say, my experience just – I did ten episodes – was an absolute dream. My brain really works the way that show works, meaning I’m constantly thinking about things, saying things. You have to be very quick on your feet and have someone in your ear being like, ‘Cut to commercial! Do this!’”
“I loved it,” Bialik added. “I loved that pacing. So, I’m very excited for my episodes to air, because I hope that people will appreciate the kind of host that I was. And, you know, really trying to do honor to Alex Trebek, as well.”
The show is expected to name a permanent replacement for Trebek this summer.