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Ken Jennings Revealed The First Time He Met ‘Jeopardy!’ Champion James Holzhauer


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Jeopardy! fans rejoiced on Friday as the show’s Teachers Tournament completed its two-week interruption of regular play on the trivia show. An extremely worthy educator took home $100,000 on Friday’s show and warm handshakes were exchanged by all, especially those in charge of the show hoping for the spike in ratings that’s sure to follow when the 22-game winner who’s amassed more than $1.7 million in winnings over a few week’s time.

While we’ve waited for James Holzhauer’s return to the show he’s dominated and made a ratings behemoth, stories about his strategy and impact on the show’s game theory have been just about all fans could entertain themselves with. But another intriguing future event has been the story of much debate as well — a “death match” between Holzhauer and current Jeopardy! king Ken Jennings.

The two are not exactly strangers. They’ve both been interviewed by the same journalist for various stories and podcasts, and they’ve both talked about a potential showdown between the two Jeopardy! legends. Jennings says that he would be at a disadvantage if the two were to play, but they actually have already met … kind of.

As Jennings shared with Time in a story that was published on Friday, Holzhauer had actually appeared in a trivia contest that he hosted.

It turns out that Jennings and Holzhauer have cross paths before. In 2012, Jennings hosted a trivia contest in Seattle. “There was a very eager man who was answering so fast he would interrupt me in the middle of the question and get it wrong,” Jennings recalls. That contestant was Holzhauer, who did not win the contest. “Apparently he has gotten much better in accuracy and speed since then.”

We know that Holzhauer isn’t just a Jeopardy! guy, as he competed and won big on The Chase. But it is funny to think of a greener Holzhauer doing another trivia event, but a bit too eager. And Jennings taking notice of him and not knowing he would one day take aim at two of the biggest Jeopardy! records out there.

Whether the two ever have that “death match” or not is tough to say right now. What is certain: Holzhauer returns to the Jeopardy! stage on Monday.

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