‘Jeopardy!’ medical-student champ washes out—and some blame Ken Jennings

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The defending Jeopardy! champion self-destructed during Monday’s show, and some viewers think host Ken Jennings may be partly to blame.

Alex Gordon is a medical student from Somers, New York, and as we learned during his first win last week, he was missing his medical school graduation ceremony to be at the Jeopardy! tapings. He did ultimately end up winning $43,500 over a three-episode stretch, so not a bad trade-off.

During Monday’s Q&A session, Jennings dug a little deeper into Gordon’s medical future by asking what kind of medicine he intended to practice.

“The next plan is to start residency in ENT, or ear, nose and throat, which I’m really excited about,” Gordon told the host.

Then, in reference to the possibility of questions ever relating to ENT, Jennings said to Gordon: “Definitely fact-check all that stuff for us, we’re coming to you for a second opinion.”

Sure enough, during the round of Double Jeopardy! later in the game, there was a medical-related category called “Stitch Incoming,” about various surgeries and body parts. After Gordon correctly answered a question from the category, Jennings said, “well done, doctor.” Gordon continued with the category and the next clue was the Daily Double — where a contestant can wager up to their entire dollar amount for that day if they so choose.

At the time, Gordon had $15,000 and was $2,800 ahead of the next closest competitor.

“How confident are you in a medical category, Alex?” Jennings asked.

“Twelve thousand,” Gordon said.

“Wow. Okay,” replied Jennings with a bit of a laugh. “Well, we know you graduated. Let’s see if it pays off.”

Then Jennings read the clue: “Joba Chamberlain used the scar from the elbow surgery named for this fellow pitcher as part of a smiley face tattoo.” Gordon clearly didn’t know and eventually answered “DiMaggio” as in Joe DiMaggio, but the correct answer was “Tommy John.”

The incorrect guess knocked Gordon from first to third place with just $3,000 remaining in the bank. And despite being the only one to answer Final Jeopardy! correctly, he was too far behind his competitors and finished the game in second place.

Many viewers on Twitter were blown away by Gordon’s bet, and by his lack of “Tommy John” knowledge.

And given Jennings’ frequent references to Gordon’s medical-student status and future as a doctor, some viewers wondered if that needling may have played a role in the defending champ’s demise in the form of “goading” or “challenging” Gordon along the way.

Jeopardy! airs weeknights, check your local listings.

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