Every now and then a competitor comes along who plays his or her game of choice at a level so far beyond the rest of the field that it almost seems unfair. Wayne Gretzky in the 1980s, Michael Jordan in the 90s, Tiger Woods and the Williams sisters in the 2000s, LeBron James today. You watch them play and can do nothing but shake your head. Their dominance transcends the physical act of what they’re doing and becomes something … else. Something you and I and all the other mortals out here will never fully understand. Something special.
I bring this up because something amazing is happening on Jeopardy! right now. Julia Collins, a 31-year-old art history major from outside Chicago, is just killing everyone. Everyone. As of last night’s episode, she has earned $391,600 over her 18 consecutive victories, a dollar figure that makes her the highest-earning woman in the show’s history, and a win streak that puts her one away from tying David Madden for second longest of all-time. (Ken Jennings holds the record for most consecutive wins with 74, which is just ridiculous.) And some of her victories haven’t even been close. I mean, take a look at this screencap from the end of Double Jeopardy on Tuesday night.
And as if steamrolling every contestant silly enough to wander in front of her wasn’t enough to make her my personal hero, there’s also this, from a recent AP report:
Collins’ appearances on the show also answer another question all but her closest friends and family who watched some of the shows being taped had about why she didn’t seem stressed about quitting her consulting job or in a hurry to find work.
“I did a lot of hemming and hawing about why I was less aggressive than I could have been,” said Collins, explaining that she was prohibited by the show from talking about the program at all between mid-January, when she started taping them, and April, when they started to air, or the $10,000 to $35,000 she was winning a day.
Winning enough money on Jeopardy! to quit my job, even just for a year or two, is basically my dream. If I find out she also has a robot bartender and live-in omelette chef, I will be so jealous that I will scream.
Now we just need Jeopardy! to start letting people use entrance music so she can walk out to this song.