Christine Whelchel: 5 Things To Know About Jeopardy Champ In Cancer Recovery

The current 'Jeopardy!' champion turned heads by showing off hers! Christine Whelchel ditched her wig to proudly show 'what going through cancer recovery really looks like,' so get to know all about her.

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A powerful moment took place on the Feb. 28 episode of Jeopardy!, when host Ken Jennings spoke with the current champion, Christine Whelchel. “If you watched last week, you might notice that Christine looks a little bit different today. Tell us about your look,” said Jennings. Christine, looking sharp with pink-rimmed glasses and a cute polka-dot top, said that she decided she “didn’t need to hide behind the wig anymore, and normalize what cancer recovery looks like.”

Like anyone who saw Christine, Ken said she looked “fabulous” and congratulated her on this decision. After that, Christine continued her winning streak, racking up a total of $73,602 in cumulative winnings. As she continues her journey, here’s what you need to know.

Christine Whelchel Is A Piano Teacher

Christine hails from Spring Hill, Tennessee. She is a piano teacher, and she plays the organ for the t First Assembly of God Church, according to the Columbia Daily Herald. She reportedly earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at The University of Memphis, where she studied piano with Daniel Fletcher.

Christine Is Also A Talented Violin Player

Christine has reportedly “taught piano and violin since 1992 and has received Suzuki pedagogy in both instruments,” according to the Columbia Daily Herald. She has also been the organist and choir director at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Nashville.

She Was Diagnosed With Breast Cancer In 2021 

“I was diagnosed in March of 2021, and one of the first things I did a couple of weeks after being diagnosed was take the ‘Jeopardy!’ test,” Christine said when she first appeared on Jeopardy! on Wednesday, Feb. 23. “And I ended up getting my audition the night before my surgery in May.”

“Evidently, the audition went well,” host Ken Jennings said. “You’re here. And I hope the surgery (went well) too.” Christine had some good news on that front: “Everything else went well, and I’m cancer-free as of right now.”

She Says ‘Jeopardy!’ Is The Scariest Thing She’s Done

While many would say facing a cancer diagnosis might be the most terrifying experience, it doesn’t hold a candle to the pressure of Final Jeopardy. “Being on Jeopardy was the scariest thing I’ve ever done, but I’m glad I did it,” Christine told the Williams Source, a local Tennessean publication. “The staff is so great, and they make sure that all the contestants have a wonderful time even through such a stressful situation,” she added.

Her First ‘Jeopardy!’ Episode Had A Unique Ending

Christine’s first Jeopardy! outing was a nail-biter. At the end of the episode, her and her competitor – two-day champion Henry Rozycki – finished Final Jeopardy with $34,000. They both answered the final clue correctly (“A 1949 review noted the ‘wrong formulas for success’ of this character and ‘fatal misconceptions about his place in the scheme of things'”; Answer: “Who is Willy Loman?”), which led to a tie-breaker.

Host Ken Jennings revealed a category, read a single clue, and the first player to buzz in and answer correctly would win. The category was “Flowers,” and the clue was: “After its inclusion in a 1915 poem, this red flower became a symbol of fallen World War I Soldiers.” Christine buzzed in, answered, “What is ‘poppy?'” and won!


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