The white-hot Amy Schneider Jeopardy! streak is over. After 40 games and 39 wins in a row, the magnetic engineering manager was defeated by librarian Rhone Talsma from Chicago.
“The fatigue of this taping was really starting to add up,” she told The New York Times. “I couldn’t explain it, even to myself, but I just could feel that something was slipping a little bit, however much I tried to fight it.”
She’s collected quite a few milestones along the way, including being the first woman to win more than $1 million in the game and breaking the second-most consecutive wins record. That record was previously set by Matt Amodio, who won 38 games.
Schneider said her next target, Ken Jennings’s 74-game streak, was a little intimidating since it was so far away. She said her concentration started to slip and the pressure of not only continuing the streak but also all the media attention surrounding her attempt started to get to her.
She also said she got a strange feeling from Talsma, who didn’t seem intimidated by her at all. Talsma said he came off that way because he had already accepted the loss.
“I kind of felt like a puppy biting at her ankles the whole time,” Talsma said.
When they went into Final Jeopardy, Schneider was only $10,000 ahead of him. The category was “Countries of the World” and the clue was “The only nation in the world whose name in English ends in an “H,” it’s also one of the 10 most populous.”
Schneider left her answer blank and Talsma guessed Bangladesh for the win. The loss felt like a mix of disappointment and relief, she said.
“Playing Jeopardy! has been the most fun I’ve ever had, and I didn’t want it to end,” she said. “I knew it would sometime, but it was tough to realize that the moment was finally there.”
Because the shows film a few months in advance, Schneider knew about the outcome for a while now. She saw her celebrity grow as her streak caught heat, and people started to recognize her on the street.
During her tenure, she also made history as the first trans woman to qualify for the Tournament of Champions. She had one hell of a run, with statistics showing that she was 95 percent correct during her 40-game-run and she was correct on Daily Double 87% of the time.
While her historic run comes to an abrupt end, she has a nice $1.4 million consolation prize to help with the sting of loss.