2011 Tournament of Champions quarterfinalist: $5,000.
Season 26 4-time champion: $105,204 + $2,000.
Last name pronounced like "kry-ZELL".
July 23, 2010
A Green Community Program Coordinator
From Beckley, West Virginia
OK. Let me state first and foremost that I'm the luckiest person I know. I've never broken a bone, never really gotten into a fight, never been struck by falling debris while walking past construction sites. I'm 24, and to this point I have lived a charmed life. In my daily life, the closest I come to any kind of real danger is when I drink my iced tea too fast and get a stomachache. (When this happens, I usually lay on my stomach for a few minutes until it goes away. This happens much more often than it should.) My mom used to have me pick the lottery numbers when I was a kid. We never won, but I like to think I came closer to success than my brother or sister would have.
And so it's really no surprise that I would a) get selected to go on Jeopardy! in the first place, and b) have the kind of success that I did. Because I know that I did not deserve to win any more than my competitors did. It was just pure luck. Luck with the questions, the categories, the buzzer, everything. I refuse to accept any other explanation. I tried to shut out all the distractions that made the experience different from just watching the show on my couch and yelling out the answers mid-clue (which has always made my sister mad). This proved difficult, what with all the cameras and microphones and bright lights and the audience and Alex Trebek being there. Plus, fun fact, apparently it's poor form to yell out the answers mid-clue when you're actually on the show.
After the first game, I was asked if I thought there was a turning point in the game, when I felt it start to go my way or something like that. I replied that I had no memory of any of the questions or answers from the game. This is still partially true. What I remember now are all the ones I got wrong, or the ones that I didn't buzz in on but should have. Like the question about Mariah Carey. I love Mariah Carey. I know just about everything that is worth knowing about Mariah Carey, and I have for my entire adult life, except for the five seconds when I was asked about her on a televised quiz show. I remember buzzing in by accident on a question about an abacus, and just saying the first number that came to my mind as a response. I think I was off by about six or seven hundred on that one. I remember saying "Vlad the Impaler" when I knew the answer was "Ivan the Terrible," and I remember calling myself an idiot as we went to commercial. I remember saying the words "Edna St. Mincent Villay," instead of speaking English.
I don't mean to give the impression that I'm dwelling on all the things I did wrong. It's just that those are easier to remember than all the things I did right. And it fits more easily with the narrative that I've constructed for my life/this blog post. In all seriousness, it's been months since I taped my episodes of Jeopardy!, and I haven't wrapped my head around it completely yet. I doubt I ever will. It is a blessing, and it has changed my life. I intend to use it in a virtuous manner. I'd like to thank everyone at Jeopardy! for this ridiculous, mind-blowing, once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I'd like to thank my family and friends for their enthusiasm and support.