‘Jeopardy!’ Shock: Rowan Ward Eliminated From Tournament of Champions
Ward, a non-binary contestant, landed their spot in the ToC after winning the second round of the Second Chance Tournament. After their impressive performance, many fans had high hopes for Ward as they faced off against software team leader John Focht and community college instructor Courtney Shah in the quarter-finals game.
However, Focht was the one who ended up stealing the show, as he calmly answered questions and placed huge wagers. After landing on a Daily Double, Focht wagered a massive $8,000, even surprising host Ken Jennings, who responded, “Wow, alright!” Focht answered correctly, significantly increasing his total.
As the contestants entered Final Jeopardy, Focht led with $32,000, compared to Ward’s $10,888 and Shah’s $5,200. Nobody answered the final clue correctly, but it didn’t matter, as Focht had all but won before going into the last round. “John put on a clinic,” Jennings commented after the impressive victory.
“Damnnn. a total blowout… and not for the person expected,” wrote one viewer on the Jeopardy! Reddit forum. Another agreed, saying, “I honestly thought Rowan was going to take the advantage, but holy hell, John just completely swept the floor in this game. Many congratulations to him.”
“I so am ecstatic that John advanced,” added another fan. “He played so well and to have a runaway against someone as talented as Rowan is quite the feat… I think we might have overestimated Rowan due to recency bias, and underestimated John who was one of the lower seeded players on the cusp of not making the ToC.”
Others were upset that we won’t get to see the highly anticipated rematch between Ward and Matt Amodio, who Ward almost beat during the super-champ’s monumental 38-game winning streak.
“Shame we won’t the get Rowan vs. Matt Amodio rematch, but John thoroughly earned the win,” wrote one commenter.
The Tournament of Champions continues on Monday with the remaining quarter-final game, and then, on Tuesday, November 8, a special exhibition game will air between the three top-seeded champions, Amodio, Amy Schneider, and Mattea Roach.
Jeopardy!, Tournament of Champions, Weeknights, Check your local listings