Bangladesh. That’s the answer that took down 40-day “Jeopardy!” Champion Amy Schneider, the history-making trans contestant on the long-running game show.
It came down to the final round — a true nail-biter.
The category: countries of the world with this clue “The only nation in the world whose name in English ends in an H, it’s also one of the 10 most populous.”
In most of the games Schneider has won she was so far ahead of the competition her victory was assured.
But on Wednesday Chicago librarian Rhone Talsma was within striking distance going into the final round, getting the right answer, wagering $12,000 for a total of $29,600. Schneider failed to provide an answer and lost the game.
“This is my favorite show. I was so excited to be here and I just wanted to do my best,” Talsma told TVline. “I did not expect to be facing a 40-day champion, and I was excited to maybe see someone else slay the giant. I just really didn’t think it was going to be me, so I’m thrilled.”
In a statement provided to the Chicago Tribune from the show, Schneider said, “I had thought that Rhone was going to be tough going into it. I loved hanging out with him. We had a great conversation before the taping, but I could tell that he was here to play and that he was going to be good. I still came very close to winning, but I did feel like maybe I was slipping a little bit. And once it was clear that he was fast on the buzzer, I knew it was going to be a battle all the way.”
At one point it looked like Schneider would once again easily cruise to victory with $24,400 to Talsma’s $5,800.
But it was a Daily Double that gave Talsma enough money to even have a chance at winning the game. During the second round he found the second Daily Double, a question in the game that allows a contestant to bet as much as they have. Talsma bet all of his $7,800 and got it right, doubling his score. But more importantly it put him within striking distance of Schneider.
Schneider, a 42-year-old engineering manager from Oakland, California, ends her “Jeopardy!” run with $1,382,800, which places her in fourth place for the highest winnings in regular-season play.
Two weeks ago Schneider topped $1 million in winnings on the show becoming the fourth person, and first woman, to win more than $1 million during regular season play.
Schneider was already a history-making contestant. She is the first transgender contestant to qualify for the tournament of champions, a yearly tournament featuring players who won the most games from the past season.
"Amy Schneider has given ‘Jeopardy!'s’ nine million-plus nightly viewers a historic 40-game run full of masterful gameplay, while her media interviews and Twitter recaps of each game have given fans a glimpse into her life as a smart, charming transgender woman with a girlfriend and a rescue cat named Meep,” said Nick Adams, GLAAD's director of Transgender Representation. “Her visibility has been a bright spot, allowing millions of people to root for her success and start conversations about being transgender at a time when proposed bills in states like Arizona, Iowa, Indiana, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Amy’s home state Ohio, are targeting transgender Americans for discrimination. Amy's achievement will be celebrated for years to come by ‘Jeopardy!’ fans and LGBTQ people everywhere."
Last week, GLAAD announced Schneider would receive a Special Recognition Award at the 33rd Annual GLAAD Media Awards, which honor media for outstanding representation of LGBTQ people and issues.