WORCESTER – The hit network game show Jeopardy! has never been as popular as it was in 2004 when a contestant by the name of Ken Jennings tore through the competition and set every record on the show in his wake.
This year, though, it came pretty close to revisiting that period of immense hype as a new contestant blazed through the trivia questions week after week with reckless abandon as to his bets.
James Holzhauer captured the attention of a game show-adoring audience by setting on a 32-game winning streak that earned him $2,464,216 to become the fourth winningest game show contestant in history.
With this storyline, along with the return of host Alex Trebek after treatment for pancreatic cancer, dominating the airwaves in terms of Jeopardy! and its 2019 presence, it seemed like quite a daunting challenge for someone from Massachusetts to be able to break through and claim headlines of her own. While Holzhauer and Trebek will remain part of television's narrative in 2019, Carolyn Oliver will have to settle for being someone for whom all of Massachusetts was rooting, but who unfortunately came up a little bit short.
Oliver is a former school teacher from Worcester, Massachusetts who now classifies her profession as that of a "writer and poet," which is also how Trebek introduced her against the competition, New Mexico's Jason Zuffranieri and New Jersey's Frank Augello.
Oliver took the time to say hello to her son watching at home in Massachusetts' second-largest city, and she also remarked that she won first prize in a local Worcester poetry competition. The Ohio State and Boston University graduate seemed primed to compete for a chance to return on the show.
After starting the game in a hole by answering two questions incorrectly, Oliver rebounded with a series of literary questions (right in her wheelhouse) and the use of Double Jeopardy. The episode resulted in her achieving second place as the contest entered Final Jeopardy, but after getting the answer wrong, Oliver unfortunately finished in last place. It was still a valiant effort that made Worcester proud!
Interestingly, Oliver also noted that her grandmother was a contestant on Jeopardy! way back in the 1960s. It must be a cool feeling to carry on that trivia-centric lineage decades later.
Image via Flickr / Steve Jurvetson