Matt Amodio’s time on Jeopardy! (for now) is done. At least until the next Tournament of Champions. But the Ph. D student still has plenty of people talking about his $1.5 million, 388-day run on the show as Jeopardy! champion. Given just how consistent he was in cruising past contestants to build up that historic run, many were shocked when he ran into trouble during Monday’s episode.
Some, in fact, went as far as to speculate that Amodio intentionally lost, especially when he didn’t come up with the correct answer to Final Jeopardy! But in writing for Newsweek, Amodio made it clear that he wasn’t tanking, and gave new details about his very successful run on the show and what it meant to him.
“I wasn’t being fed the answers when I was winning and I didn’t throw the game when I lost. It’s just a competition, I was doing well and then I lost. There’s nothing more to it,” Amodio said. “My buzzer was working fine. The only thing that wasn’t working was my brain at full capacity. The theories don’t upset me, people think all sorts of crazy things. But I do have the power not to acknowledge them.”
Other past Jeopardy! contestants have stuck up for Amodio in the days since he lost his 39th appearance on the show, dismissing the conspiracy theories in the process.
My one #Jeopardy regret: really should have insisted on winning a few more games before I agreed to lose on purpose.
— Alex Jacob (@whoisalexjacob) October 12, 2021
Many who have appeared on the show in the past had the same take on the performance: sometimes you just have a bad day. And Amodio admitted he felt “off” when he filmed game 39, and that was certainly a factor in the result.
“I gradually saw that I wasn’t remembering things that I really should have been able to remember, and I was mis-reading clues in front of me. As that was happening, I began to see where the path ahead of me was leading,” he said, recalling the performance where another player found all three Daily Doubles and ended up with the victory. “I’m quite pleased with how I kept steady throughout. I don’t think my emotions or confidence played that much into it, what I did feel was that there was evidence that my mind wasn’t working at full capacity.”
He was also very complimentary of his opponents, though, both on Twitter and in the Newsweek piece about his experience.
Congrats to today's two brilliant challengers for making it an exciting game of #Jeopardy today! Let's celebrate a match well played by Jonathan and Jessica!
— Matt Amodio (@AmodioMatt) October 12, 2021
“I didn’t lose a game of Jeopardy!” he said. “There were two people who fought hard to win, and one of them won. It was a poorly timed downturn for me, because I was up against two of the best and they did a great job capitalizing on that.”
Amodio said he has very boring plans for his winnings, but many fans are already eager to see him return to the tournament and see what he can do against some serious competition in the next few months.