The Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions contestants took the stage on Friday for one final round. But before heading back home to their respective lives, they each issued their parting words to Jeopardy! fans.
It was Sam Kavanaugh, a native of Carlton, Minnesota, that was crowned as the winner of the Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions. Now a substitute teacher in the Minneapolis area, Kavanaugh won the tournament finals by more than $16,000. He will win the $250,000 grand prize and the show will be donating that same amount to the Hope of the Valley Trebek Center for the Homeless. The organization was named after Alex Trebek, the longtime Jeopardy! host that passed away last November.
“All I can think about is all the people who helped me get to this point,” Kavanaugh said. “Just the teachers, family, friends, the community. You know, it took a village, and I have so much to thank and so many people to thank and hope that I can pay them back.”
The official Jeopardy! Twitter account posted a clip of the finals contestants issuing their thank yous.
“It’s the last day of the finals! Veronica, Jennifer, and Sam share their thoughts from the stage. #TournamentOfChampions”
‘Jeopardy!’ Tournament of Champions Second and Third Place Speak
Second-place finisher Jennifer Quail is a wine tasting consultant from Dowagiac, Michigan. She started off by thanking her job for being flexible.
“I gotta say thanks to my employers, who put up with so many, “Hey, I just left, but guess what, can I fly to California?” Quail said. “And can I take some of the Cabernet with me? Because I really need to de-stress.”
She also took the time to thank Trebek for his legendary tenure on the show.
“My family has been super supportive. And my neighbors, Bud and Karen, who are watching my dogs right now,” she laughed. “Everybody’s just been so, so great about it and about the long wait and of course, thank you Alex.”
Finally, it was Veronica Vichit-Vadakan’s turn to share. The librarian from Portland, Oregon, said that she appreciates the show, and their willingness to help those in need.
“Yeah, I just want to say thank you to ‘Jeopardy!’ for the donations that they’ll be giving from the show,” Vichit-Vadakan said. “Charitable donations are a really important part of my life and for sure, whatever I win here will be going to a lot of organizations that are in need. And especially right now, folks are needing as much help as possible. So, I really appreciate what ‘Jeopardy!’ is doing, and thank you.”