Ken Jennings’ ‘Jeopardy!’ winnings just got a generous bump, because he’s now the game show’s ‘GOAT.’ Before defeating James Holzhauer and Brad Rutter in the tournament, the trivia wizard already boasted impressive stats.
Ken Jennings, 45, is the GOAT of Jeopardy! — AKA, the greatest of all time. The trivia master rightfully earned that title in the Jan. 14 episode of Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time, after defeating fellow legends James Holzhauer, 36, and Brad Rutter, 41, for the one million dollar prize. He rose to victory in the fourth episode of the special tournament, and it was an incredible feat, considering that Ken had repeatedly lost to Brad in past Jeopardy! tournaments.
Now that Ken can take a break from his trivia questions, it’s your turn to learn trivia about this Jeopardy! GOAT.
1. Ken holds the Jeopardy! record for most games won in a row. With 74 consecutive wins from 2004, Ken makes a daunting opponent! For comparison, James’ winning streak ended at 32 games. It’d be unfair to pit Brad’s stats against his opponents in this case, since he competed on the show while winning streaks were still limited to five games. Ken lost his 75th game to a question about H&R Block, of all topics!
2. Ken is still a runner-up when it comes to the highest earner on Jeopardy!. Ken didn’t limit his success to his first round on Jeopardy!. He returned for multiple follow-up tournaments: Jeopardy! Ultimate Tournament of Champions, IBM Challenge, Jeopardy! Battle of the Decades and Jeopardy! All-Star Games. This puts Ken’s Jeopardy! winnings at $4,370,700 million, which includes his winnings from The Greatest Of All Time tournament. But that number still falls short to Brad’s Jeopardy! earnings; he still ranks No. 1 in the game show’s hall of fame for “All-Time Winnings.” Brad already went into the competition with a healthy total earnings amount of $4,688,436.
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3. The champ launched a successful book career after his breakthrough winnings in 2004. For adults, Ken has released the following titles: Brainiac, Ken Jennings’s Trivia Almanac, Maphead, Because I Said So! and Planet Funny. He also authors The Junior Genius Guides for children.
4. Ken was all over the map while growing up. Although Ken was born in Seattle, Washington in 1974, he spent 15 years in Korea and Singapore because of his father’s overseas career as an attorney. But thanks to the Armed Forces Network, Ken could watch the game show “religiously after school every afternoon,” according to his online bio.
5. Before Jeopardy!, Ken was already immersed in the trivia world. Ken took his passion from watching Jeopardy! on television and became the captain of the quiz bowl team at Brigham Young University, where Ken graduated from with a double major in English and computer science in 2000. During his time as an undergrad, Ken wrote and edited questions for the National Academic Quiz Tournaments, which hosts quiz competitions for colleges and high schools around America, according to Ken’s personal bio. After graduation, Ken worked as a software engineer in Salt Lake City.