After watching Amodio obliterate his competition night after night, going on to win a staggering 38 games in a row, many fans on social media expressed the belief that the “Jeopardy!” champion had intentionally lost Monday night’s game.
There’s no way he didn’t know the correct answer to the Final Jeopardy question, some said. Others found it hard to believe that the 30-year-old contestant, who was usually so quick on the buzzer, was really struggling to ring in after 38 games.
Well, Amodio is here to put those rumors to rest.
“I really like winning ‘Jeopardy!’ games,” he told Newsweek. “I always want to do that more.”
This isn’t the first time “Jeopardy!” fans have delved into conspiracy theories and speculations — the same thing happened two years ago, when James Holzhauer lost after his 32-game winning streak.
But following his loss, Amodio — who is a doctoral student studying computer science at Yale University — told “Jeopardy!” he was “sad” about his winning streak coming to an end.
“I’ve been replaying every question along the way in my head nonstop since, which I’m sure is a healthy reaction,” he joked, before adding that missing the Final Jeopardy clue was “not a good taste to end on.”
“But I’m also thinking back to all the good times that I’ve had along the way, and so there’s plenty of happiness, too,” he added.
With 38 victories under his belt, Amodio now holds the No. 2 spot in the “Jeopardy!” Hall of Fame for most consecutive games won — behind Ken Jennings’ legendary 74-game winning streak that has remained untouched for 17 years.
“Matt is just such a fantastic player,” Jennings told Jeopardy.com. “The one thing I admire more than anything else on ‘Jeopardy!’ is consistency. It’s so hard to come out and win day after day and week after week.”
Amodio alluded to that challenge, noting how he really did struggle with the buzzer during Monday night’s game.
“It’s always a mystery,” he told “Jeopardy!” “You think I would get used to it, but no. It works and then it doesn’t work, and I am totally at sea either way.”
Although his impressive run has ended, Amodio — who earned $1.5 million over 38 games — will return to “Jeopardy!” next year for the Tournament of Champions, Newsweek reported.
“I didn’t take anything for granted,” Amodio told “Jeopardy!” of his time on the show. “I thought at some point I might no longer feel that joy, but every single win was just like the first. I got such happiness out of it.”
Meet the new ‘Jeopardy!’ champion Jonathan Fisher
For the record, Jonathan Fisher — the “Jeopardy!” champion who defeated Amodio Monday night — also firmly believes Amodio didn’t lose on purpose.
“Matt absolutely did not throw the game,” Fisher wrote in a column for Newsweek. “Matt is such a great player and such a stand up guy. I think he may have been tired. There were times when had taped three days in a row, which is 15 games. That’s an astonishing amount of work, and the COVID protocols at ‘Jeopardy!’ are strict and regimented. So it’s a real physical and mental effort. I bet if you ask James Holzhauer and Ken Jennings, they would say that at some point you do get really tired.”
Fisher, an actor from Florida, is currently a three-day “Jeopardy!” champion with $70,000 to his name. He goes for his fourth victory Thursday night. The contestant said he went into his first game fairly calm and with low expectations, knowing he would likely be up against Amodio.
But heading into the Final Jeopardy round, Fisher was in the lead by a small margin of $200. So he bet it all on the final clue. And then came the painful waiting.
“For whatever reason, there was a 20-minute production break, so the three of us were standing for what felt like a long time before we got the Final Jeopardy clue reveal,” Fisher wrote for Newsweek. “That was really, really tense.”
And then, after “Jeopardy!” host Mayim Bialik revealed the contestants’ responses, Fisher knew he had just become a part of a major moment on the quiz show.
“I went in not expecting to win at all — especially against Matt — and then I did,” he wrote for Newsweek. “So anything else that happens beyond that, it is icing on the cake. I already got to do the really cool thing!”
For his part, Amodio has said he is rooting for Fisher going forward.
“I’m wishing for him to go on to a great streak of his own,” Amodio told “Jeopardy!” “He deserves it.”