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‘Jeopardy!’ phenom Amy Schneider wins 39 games, the second-highest streak in show history

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On Monday night, “Jeopardy!” phenom Amy Schneider continued to trounce her fellow competitors and make show history: She won her 39th game in a row, officially becoming the player with the second-highest number of consecutive victories.

She broke the recent record set by Matt Amodio, another super-champion who won 38 games last fall. The all-time champion is, of course, Ken Jennings, who happens to be serving as a guest host, and won 74 games and more than $2.5 million back in 2004.

But Schneider has continued racking up winnings over the past two months, and has now collected a total of $1,319,800. In a rare instance, she missed big on Final Jeopardy, losing $25,000 on a clue about U.S. museums. Luckily, she was already crushing the competition with $37,600 going into the last round, so she still finished with a healthy margin over the second-place finisher.

“You now have the second-longest streak in ‘Jeopardy!’ history,” Jennings announced, as the audience burst into applause. “Let’s see how long it’ll go, folks. We’ll find out starting tomorrow.”

“It still feels unreal,” Schneider, 42, said in a statement released by “Jeopardy!” publicists. “Knowing that I had this chance, I was definitely thinking about it. Then Ken said it, and I thought, 'All right, I just accomplished this huge thing,’ and it was pretty great.”

Schneider, an engineering manager who lives in Oakland, Calif., first appeared on the show on Nov. 17, triumphing over Andrew He, who won five games. Soon, Schneider became the first transgender contestant to qualify for the Tournament of Champions and then just kept winning and winning and winning. Her streak also helped bring a sense of calm to the long-running quiz show after an unusual period of chaos with the show’s botched attempt at naming a new host. Earlier this month, she became the first woman to earn $1 million in regular season winnings.

“I’ve always had things stick in my mind … so ‘Jeopardy!’ always seemed like something I might be good at,” Schneider, a native of Dayton, Ohio, told The Washington Post in an interview last month. She has become a viewer favorite, and so far hasn’t experienced the backlash that other longtime contestants receive for their playing habits (Amodio’s use of “What’s?” instead of “Who is?”; James Holzhauer’s aggressive strategy). “But ultimately, if there’s something that will annoy viewers that I have to do to win, I’ll do it.”

Near Thanksgiving, Schneider wore a transgender flag pin as a show of support for trans people who are estranged from their families around the holidays. “The fact is, I don’t actually think about being trans all that often, and so when appearing on national television, I wanted to represent that part of my identity accurately: as important, but also relatively minor,” she wrote in a Twitter thread at the time. “But I also didn’t want it to seem as if it was some kind of shameful secret.”

Schneider said she was initially hesitant to publish the thread, given the hateful messages that trans people can face online (some of which she has encountered during her “Jeopardy!” run) but wanted to speak up in support of any closeted trans people who were watching, and show them it’s possible to “be living your true self and having success and doing everything you ever wanted to do.”

“I think that the best part for me has been being on TV, you know, as my true self, expressing myself and representing the entire community of trans people,” Schneider said on “Good Morning America” on Monday. “And … just being, you know, a smart, confident woman and doing something super normal like being on ‘Jeopardy!’”

Actress Mayim Bialik and former champion Ken Jennings will continue hosting "Jeopardy!" It remains unclear who will permanently fill Alex Trebek's former role. (Video: Allie Caren/The Washington Post, Photo: Daron Taylor/The Washington Post)

Read more:

Amy Schneider rules the ‘Jeopardy!’ super-champ era. Some former 5-day winners are jealous they never got the chance.

‘Jeopardy!’ champ Matt Amodio’s epic winning streak ends at 38 games and $1.5 million

Amy Schneider becomes first woman to win more than $1 million on ‘Jeopardy!’