Mattea Roach scores 21st ‘Jeopardy!’ win with a Canadian twist

Mattea Roach’s historic winning streak on “Jeopardy!” continues after she scored her 21st straight victory with a Canada-themed flourish on Tuesday.

The 23-year-old tutor from Toronto is one of the youngest contestants to crack the list of all-time greatest “Jeopardy!” champions, with the fifth-longest streak in the show’s history. Tuesday’s show pushed her above $500,000 (US) in cumulative winnings.

The Final Jeopardy! clue for Roach and fellow contestants on Tuesday was: “’Terre de nos aïeux’ follows the title in the French version of this anthem.”

Roach wagered $4,999 and won with the answer: “What is ‘O Canada’?”

Host Ken Jennings noted that the Final Jeopardy! clues are randomly selected and written far in advance, but he added when he called on Roach, “I have to think Mattea might know some of the lyrics to ‘O Canada.’”

Key moments

On Tuesday, Roach faced off against educational consultant and tutor Angela Kissner of Akron, Ohio, and history teacher Enver Casimir of Albany, Calif.

Casimir was only $1,200 behind Roach at $4,000 after the first commercial break, setting the tone for a good competition.

Following the first break, Jennings asked Roach about some of her favorite “Jeopardy!” players. She pointed to 20-game winner Julia Collins, describing her as an “iconic female ‘Jeopardy!’ player for the longest time.”

Roach also shouted out 40-game winner Amy Schneider, adding she studied Schneider’s games prior to competing. Roach is eligible to qualify for the show’s “Tournament of Champions,” facing off against the most successful players in “Jeopardy!” including Schneider and 38-game champ Matt Amodio.

“I look forward to hopefully getting that opportunity,” Roach told Jennings.

By the end of the first round, Roach had a lead of $1,200. By the end of “Double Jeopardy!” she had an impressive lead of $14,800 over Casimir. She finished the game with $29,599.

Roach’s winning stats

Her cumulative winnings total $506,584 as of her 21st game on Tuesday.

Roach plays again on Wednesday, facing off against Kelly Flynn, a high school English teacher from Exeter, New Hampshire, as well as Jaime Sisson, a banking manager from Madison, Mississippi.

Roach has a 92 per cent accuracy rate in answering, according to “Jeopardy!” daily scores.

Roach is the show’s most successful Canadian player ever. She has responded to more than 500 clues, with an average of roughly 28 correct responses per game, according to “Jeopardy!”

Personal life and queer representation

Roach lives in Toronto and is a graduate of the University of Toronto. She was raised in Halifax, NS, and works as a tutor.

The “Jeopardy!” champ says the only reason she may be able to afford a home in Canada’s sky-high housing market is due to her winnings from her on the game show.

Patti MacKinnon, Roach’s mother, previously told the Star that she and her husband have been keeping their doors open throughout their daughter’s “Jeopardy!” run, a kind of weekday Halifax open house that is two parts celebration and one part stressed-out anticipation.

“It’s a little bit like a party atmosphere but it’s very serious about ‘Jeopardy!’ Nobody talks when the game is on,” MacKinnon said.

“I think what people love is that she’s having so much fun and that is just Mattea. That’s the way she is, that’s the way she’s been since ever.”

Some American networks have seemingly latched on to Roach’s sexual orientation, referring to her as the “lesbian tutor” on the popular TV show. People online were quick to jump to Roach’s defense of her, something she says she was grateful for.

Roach says she’s happy to be part of a recent influx of LGBTQ contestants, though adding that the US network tweets about her were clumsy. “I think it is relevant to my ‘Jeopardy!’ run, not because it has anything to do with my ability to play the game but because I think it’s part of a larger story regarding queer and trans contestants on this season.”

The list includes Amy Schneider, who had a 40-game winning streak. Schneider said in a series of tweets last year that she was proud to be a queer, transgender woman, but that it represented just a small portion of her identity. Schneider had one of the longest winning streaks on “Jeopardy!”

With files from Isaac Phan Nay


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