Mattea Roach on her “Jeopardy!” sequence, 15 minutes of fame
Canadian “Jeopardy!” champion Mattea Roach found herself at the center of an ownership dispute.
The 23-year-old Torontonian — or is he a Haligonian? – tutor is now tied for the eighth-longest streak in game show history with 13 straight wins, and his fellow Canadians are taking notice.
“The people of Nova Scotia, and then also the people of Toronto – the two places I most associate with – have been very keen to claim me as belonging more to one than the other,” said said Roach, who spent the first six years of his life and part of his teenage years in Halifax.
“They don’t want to just pretend you’re from Canada if you’re from a particular city or province. It’s like, ‘No, she’s not just from Canada. She’s from Nova Scotia, where she’s in Toronto.
In fact, it belongs to both. Nova Scotia is home, she said after cracking the top 10 list this week, but she feels deeply connected to Toronto – the city she moved to to pursue a university degree in political science and sexual diversity studies.
She also spent time in Calgary and Moncton, NB
But she understands the “very Canadian” proclivity for “local celebrity” pride and even commented on it in the quiz while referencing the late “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek.
Roach realized she had achieved national fame when she spotted an article about herself on the satirical website, “The Beaverton”.
“That, even more than the genuine media interest, was like, ‘Oh, I made it,'” she said.
It’s an interesting time to be a Canadian at “Jeopardy!” “, an American program that has undeniable links with the North. The show’s setting was dubbed the Alex Trebek Stage after its longtime host from Sudbury, Ontario.
Roach expressed some disappointment that his star would star on the show following Trebek’s death from pancreatic cancer in 2020.
“It’s kind of bittersweet and sad that (this streak) happens after his passing, and he can’t celebrate what is now by far the longest run by a Canadian contestant on the show.” , said Roach.
The show also tends to sprinkle in a few questions about Canada, and one of the editors, Billy Wisse, grew up in Montreal.
This gives Roach an edge in some cases, but she said the show’s Americanness can also trip her up at times.
Thursday night’s show, for example, featured an entire category on the state of California.
“I remember talking to someone at ‘Jeopardy!’ team on this. And she said, ‘Yeah, I was really confused as to why you weren’t calling or getting any of those clues. But then I remembered you weren’t from this country,” Roach said.
Roach has won US$286,081 on the show so far and has qualified for the Tournament of Champions this fall, when she will face some of the show’s most successful players. That includes 40-match winner Amy Schneider, whose streak ended in January, just before Roach filmed her first episodes.
“I’m so excited to probably lose to her,” Roach said.
This report from The Canadian Press was first published on April 22, 2022.