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'Jeopardy!' champion Amy Schneider shares what her winning streak means

This season on <em>Jeopardy!, </em>Amy Schneider became just the fifth millionaire in the show's history and only the fourth do it in regular season play.
Jeopardy Productions, Inc.
This season on <em>Jeopardy!, </em>Amy Schneider became just the fifth millionaire in the show's history and only the fourth do it in regular season play.

When Amy Schneider was in 8th grade, her class voted her most likely to compete on Jeopardy!

That prediction became a reality last November.

That night, in final Jeopardy, Schneider came back from second place and won, besting then-five-day champion Andrew He.

"It was just kind of overwhelming, just something I've been wanting my whole life and to get it so unexpectedly at the last second was just really a special feeling," Schneider said.

Schneider grew up in Ohio and she credits her parents for nurturing her love of learning and her lifelong obsession with the show.

"I can't ever remember not watching Jeopardy!" she said. "It was one of the things that was just on every night, and I would watch with my parents."

After that first win, Schneider won again... and again and again. And she started on a streak that went on to shatter records, often taking home huge totals.

She admits the game can get pretty tense, but she's got a strategy for that.

"To sort of pump myself up before each game ... standing at the podium, I kind of run through the lyrics of Eminem's Lose Yourself," she said. "It's so fitting to the moment because I really do have to lose myself in the moment, like he says."

Amy Schneider said she credits her parents for nurturing her love of learning and her lifelong obsession with <em>Jeopardy!</em>
/ Jeopardy Productions, Inc.
/
Jeopardy Productions, Inc.
Amy Schneider said she credits her parents for nurturing her love of learning and her lifelong obsession with <em>Jeopardy!</em>

Last Friday, with an astonishing 28th consecutive win, Schneider reached a major milestone when she became the fifth millionaire in Jeopardy! history — and only the fourth to do it in regular season play.

In addition to millionaire, Schneider also holds the titles of highest-winning female contestant and the first openly trans contestant to qualify for the show's Tournament of Champions.

Over the course of her record-breaking run, Schneider has captured the hearts of trivia nerds and catapulted to fame.

And though she's dealt with some misogynistic and transphobic harassment online, she says the response overall has been positive.

"It really is a much smaller percentage of negative feedback that I've been getting," she said. "I thought it would be worse. And as anyone should on the internet, I stay out of the comment sections, and that's good for my mental health."

At the end of the day, Schneider doesn't let the bigotry get to her, focusing instead on the positive impact of her visibility with people sharing messages like this from one Twitter user:

Somehow, after 2-3 years of conversation, you being on Jeopardy every night has taught my dad to be accepting of trans people. You're the first person he's used correct pronouns with, a 83 year old man, saying "this isn't too hard." Thanks for your message of love

"That is just one of the best things I could hear," Schneider said. "That I've been able to do that, give people that experience, and if I'm helping them, that's what I want to do most of all."

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.