Former education student Sandy Olive wins big on ‘Jeopardy!’
Sandy Olive was a “Peril!” fan most of his life.
“I used to DVR and store episodes until I had 50 episodes,” she said. “My niece would come and we would spend a whole Saturday blowing up episode after episode.”
The ritual helped Olive, a graduate of the University of Missouri – St. Louis College of Education and College of Arts and Sciences, as well as a second year English teacher at Lindbergh High School, get ready for his recent three-part series on the classic game show.
Olive started strong in his debut last Tuesday, dethroning the Returning Champion in an episode hosted by NBC’s Savannah Guthrie. She is the first Triton to appear on “Jeopardy!” since Mary Grace Buckley competed in 2017.
In Game 1, Olive entered Final Jeopardy with $ 21,000 – far enough in front of her opponents that she didn’t have to bet anything. She put on an equally impressive performance on Wednesday, earning $ 10,000 in the first round and entering Final Jeopardy with $ 19,200.
Despite the impressive figure, one challenger was trailing $ 3,800. She retained her place as champion by correctly naming Valentina tereshkova like the Russian woman who appeared on a ruble coin in 1983.
Olive’s $ 12,000 bet on the issue pushed her two-day total to $ 52,000, and she built that momentum in Thursday’s contest. Olive took the lead and closed the first round with a series of correct answers. After Double Jeopardy, she still led with $ 19,200.
Unfortunately, during Final Jeopardy, she couldn’t identify the 19th century American author who wrote a novel with chapter titles such as “Camelot”, “The Pilgrims” and “A Postscript by Clarence”. Ironically, it was Missouri’s most famous author, Mark Twain, in “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court”.
“I always knew there would be this cruel irony on my part on a literary matter, and then it was,” Olive said. “It’s so obvious now, but they could have kept me in this room for 1,000 years and I never would have had it. I probably would have reviewed all the American writers I knew, or all the writers of the 19th century, and I still wouldn’t have understood it. “
Although her run is over, she couldn’t have asked for a better experience.
“I won that first game and I was like, ‘How can I ask for more?'” Said Olive. “My goal was to have fun and just enjoy being there. It would be so greedy to ask for more.
It was a dream come true – a dream that lasted for over 10 years.
Before returning to school to pursue her bachelor’s degree in secondary education at UMSL, Olive began writing, producing and hosting one of the first bar quizzes in St. Louis at Lemons. By the time she graduated in 2011, she had been taking the Jeopardy online entrance test for several years. Her first chance to appear on the show came while she was attending College of Education’s China Student Education Program while completing his studies diploma.
Olive received an email about an audition while in China and tried the show on her return. But she didn’t make the cut the first time around. Yet Olive has continued to take the online test over and over again, which she says is the secret to eventually becoming a candidate.
However, she wasn’t quite ready to get a second chance.
“I had about three weeks to let him settle in before I left, but I was like, ‘This is crazy,'” she said. “It’s something I’ve wanted my whole life, and then I felt like someone had just given it to me.”
Friends and family have told Olive that she seems especially calm during her episodes. She explained that it wasn’t normally her behavior, but she considered being on the show a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity no matter what. She realized that she was not afraid of losing, and this mindset allowed her to stay focused during her run.
Others asked about its preparation, but Olive noted that it was difficult to prepare for the “sum total of human knowledge.” She took stock of the world capitals, which was a weak point in her general culture. But, other than that, she had a simple strategy for the March episode tapes.
“I made two decisions,” Olive said. “One was not to call if I didn’t know – no guessing. The other was if I had a Daily Double. They were my biggest fear. I know a lot of people use them to increase that total, but I bet $ 2,000 every time. I wanted to be able to control as much as I could. I didn’t want to leave it to chance, so I decided on a maximum bet of $ 2,000.
The strategy has paid off, but the experience of interacting with other competitors has been equally rewarding. She discovered that there was more of a sense of camaraderie than competitiveness during the recordings.
In particular, Olive remembers having lunch with Michael Tran, whom she knocked down as champion in her first episode. They discussed what they would do with their respective prices.
Olive knew exactly where hers would go: a trip to Europe with her sister who had to be rescheduled due to the pandemic. The pair will start in Ireland and travel through North Ireland, Scotland and England before ending the trip in France.
“This would be my sister’s first trip out of the country,” she said. “She’s my older sister, but she was like a little girl with it all. She was so excited, and then we had to cancel her. It broke my heart.
“So some of that money will go towards making this trip even cooler than it already was.”
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