When Meredith Lowmaster saw the category “Countries and Populations” displayed during the final round of her “Jeopardy!” game show competition, her heart sank. “I thought, ‘That’s it. It’s been fun, but I’m going home,’” says the researcher in the MGH Center for Comparative Medicine. “And then I saw the question and it was really confusing. It’s the classic rule that whatever you are ready for – they don’t ask you.”
With only 30 seconds to ponder the question, “If it were a nation, a state with a two-word name in this country would be the world’s sixth most-populous at 200 million?” Lowmaster jotted down her response: “What is India?”
With those three words, Lowmaster became a “Jeopardy!” champion, taking home $16,000 and ousting reigning seven-time winner Stephanie Jass, who holds the record for the most consecutive wins by a woman on the show. “The moment I saw the ‘former champion’ wager come up, I realized I won. It was pretty overwhelming,” Lowmaster says.
Lowmaster’s winning episode and the subsequent episode when she came in third aired in mid-October, although Lowmaster knew she would be on the show in June when she qualified during an audition in Boston. In anticipation of the August taping in California, she spent the next two months playing the Wii “Jeopardy!” game – but laughs as she admits to not watching the television show to prepare. “I used to watch it when I was little – but I haven’t had cable in 10 years, so I haven’t seen it in a long time,” Lowmaster says.
Read more articles from the 11/9/12 Hotline issue.