Closing The Gap

Amy Schneider is the first woman to win $1 million on 'Jeopardy!'

This image provided by Jeopardy Productions, Inc. shows game show champion Amy Schneider on the set of "Jeopardy!" Schneider is the first trans person to qualify for the show's Tournament of Champions.
Jeopardy Productions via AP

Amy Schneider became the first woman to win $1 million on 'Jeopardy!' as she closed out her 28th game Friday. She now has $1,019,600 in game winnings, making her the fifth millionaire winner in the trivia show's history and just the fourth to reach that mark within a regular season.

It's the latest history-making win for Schneider, 42, who on Dec. 29 won her 21st game and set a new record for the most consecutive wins by a woman, surpassing the 20 games won by Julia Collins in 2014.

Becoming a game show millionaire feels "amazing" and "strange," Schneider said in a statement: "It's not a sum of money I ever anticipated would be associated with my name."

"Being in the history of the game I think is something," she added. "You know, the money doesn't feel real yet but that is something that I will never not be proud of."

Schneider previously told Yahoo! Entertainment that appearing on "Jeopardy!" has been a dream of hers since she was 5. Her eighth grade class voted her "Most Likely to be on 'Jeopardy!' One Day."

Schneider is also the first openly transgender player to qualify for the show's Tournament of Champions. Growing up in Ohio, Schneider says she didn't often see stories of transgender women in a positive light. But she told ABC News's San Francisco station KGO-TV that seeing women in recent years, including Kate Freeman, who is believed to be the first out trans contestant to win "Jeopardy!" in December 2020, "inspired me to not be afraid of trying to compete in the thing I have always loved."

"I am so incredibly grateful," Schneider said. "Hopefully I can send a positive message to the nerdy trans girl who wants to be on the show too."

As for her winnings, Schneider said she already has a few splurges in mind, particularly on designer clothes.

Now she's focused on unseating James Holzhauer, the professional sports bettor who won 32 consecutive games and $2.46 million in 2019.

Other "Jeopardy!" regular-season millionaires include Yale PhD student Matt Amodio, who won $1.52 million over 38 consecutive wins in 2021, as well as recordholder and current host Ken Jennings, who ended his 74-game win streak with $2.52 million in 2004.

Contestant Brad Rutter holds the show's highest all-time winnings with nearly $5 million earned including tournaments.

In a recent New York Times interview, Schneider offered her best advice to others aiming for "Jeopardy!" success: "Just be curious," and "the way to know a lot of stuff is to want to know a lot of stuff."

She further explained her thoughts on staying curious in an essay for Defector: "Knowledge is a shield and a sword, a joy and a duty, and while you may never remember things quite as easily as I do, or win a bunch of games on 'Jeopardy!,' if you have the desire, not just to know but to understand, then you will grow more and more powerful every day, and nobody will be able to stop you."

Check out: Here’s how Matt Amodio, who racked up $1.5 million on ‘Jeopardy!,’ plans to invest his winnings

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