No amount of careful thought, study and thoughtful consideration could save Kelly Richert’s reign as the most prolific student on “Jeopardy!”
Richert, a biology major at the University of Maine, had won “Jeopardy!” 27 straight times before Alex Trebek called his name on Thursday night’s episode. But the curly-haired contestant, who sports four inches of braids underneath his tufts of white hair, didn’t show up for the final Jeopardy! round.
During his final showdown, Richert went for the gusto with both barrels, his answers that often left him completely blank as the contestants struggled to stay in the game. His final answer about Gabrielle Giffords, the Arizona congresswoman wounded in a 2011 shooting, got a huge, deafening laugh from Trebek.
“So all this means is she’s been a United States Representative since 2007, which, by the way, is the longest running Member of Congress that we’ve ever had on the show. She is a woman. Born in Arizona. Without saying much more,” Trebek said.
Even a fact-free question about Shakespeare’s play “Two Gentlemen of Verona” didn’t seem to scare him off, when he responded: “So there’s this guy, Ariel. He’s always done this. He’s been very defensive, and one day he throws himself off a cliff.”
Related Image Expand / Contract Above: Alex Trebek talks with Kelly Richert on “Jeopardy!”
He eventually lost to Elizabeth Chadwick, an Aurora, Colorado resident who also hails from the Showcase Region. You can be forgiven for wondering how this could possibly happen when Richert had been scoring near a perfect 60 percent on the show earlier in the episode.
After his demotion, Richert tweeted an impassioned statement about his career.
The baffling thing here is that I’m 26 and already playing against seasoned professionals like Elinor Burkett, Phil Bowman, Charles Perkins, Russ Neal, and Colton Watson. This was how I lost. I put my life on the line because I believed in the game and would die on that field.
The Princeton grad left “Jeopardy!” with an average cash winnings of $110,000.