Jeopardy! fans got their money’s worth Wednesday as Final Jeopardy! ended in a rare tie. It all started when contestant Christine Whelchel oddly wagered only enough to match returning-champion Henry Rozycki, despite having enough money to easily secure the win with a correct answer.
Prior to 2016, ties would end with the players being co-champions and appearing in the next game. Since 2016, Jeopardy! added a tiebreaker round which host Ken Jennings explained.
“I’m going to reveal a category and then read you a single clue,” Jennigs said. “The first player to ring in with a correct response is our new Jeopardy! champion. Simple.”
The clue was: “After its inclusion in a 1915 poem, this red flower became a symbol of the fallen World War I soldiers.” Whelchel was the first to buzz and correctly answered, “What is a poppy?”
Fans were excited Whelchel won despite not wagering enough in Final Jeopardy! — particularly because of her recent battle with breast cancer.
“I was diagnosed in March of 2021 and one of the first things I did a couple of weeks after being diagnosed was take the Jeopardy! test,” Whelchel said. “I ended up getting my audition the night before my surgery in May.”
Whelchel finished the game with $34,000. Going forward, she will probably be a little more careful with her wagers than her.
There had been four ties prior to Wednesday. One was based on cumulative score during a teen tournament. Two others began with both contestants tied going into Final Jeopardy!, making the wager more obvious. This is only the second time that unusual wager amounts resulted in a tiebreaker.
Jeopardy! is a syndicated program; visit jeopardy.com or check your local listings for the TV schedule.
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