This is just too good, folks. If you’re not following already, Cindy Stowell had won five consecutive games of Jeopardy! despite suffering from the effects of her battle against terminal cancer.
Cindy passed away on December 5th, not making it long enough to watch her episodes air. Heading into the broadcasts, no one really knew how many games she won, so her run for five wins was amazing to watch. Last night, she went into the Double Jeopardy! round in the red, but came all the way back to lead heading into Final Jeopardy!, answering correctly for the win.
Stowell played great tonight, but was outshone by Julia Kite for the majority of the game. Julia dominated the first two rounds, including answering both Daily Doubles correctly in Double Jeopardy!, and held a commanding lead heading into the final round:
The Final Jeopardy! category was 2016 U.S. Olympians, and wagering would be important. Julia didn’t quite manage to turn the game into a runaway, but with a $23,800 to $13,600 lead, she still held the edge in the event of everyone missing the question. (Note: Colleen should not bet it all in this situation; she likely has no chance of finishing first, so playing for second, and a prize of $2,000 instead of $1,000, is the smart play. Colleen did not do that.)
Here’s the final clue:
And here’s the final result, with Cindy coming through:
That’s fantastic. Cindy demonstrated her sports bonafides earlier in the game, nailing two questions in a sports category in the opening round. Through her six victories, Julia has earned $103,803; as we’ve mentioned, before her death she decided to donate all her winnings to cancer research.
Julia Kite live-tweeted her own performance, and it’s an entertaining read, as you might expect. But she was especially gracious in defeat; it’s worth remembering that none of Stowell’s competitors were aware of her illness.
It’s also interesting to watch her inteview segments with Alex Trebek, who was aware of her condition. He keeps them very short, and does most of the talking himself, obviously trying to avoid forcing Cindy to expend too much energy outside of the game. (She was fighting a fever and an infection while taping, along with the effects of her own painkillers.)
Cindy Stowell’s story is amazing, inspiring, and affecting. (How often is the climax of a Jeopardy! episode worthy of a fist-pump?) And it continues tomorrow night.
What an absolute pleasure to watch.