Rhone Talsma beat the engineering manager, accumulating $29,600 to Schneider’s $19,600. By the time the Ohio native left the show, she had earned $1.4 million over 40 episodes.
“I got about $1.2 million more than my best-case scenario in my imagination,” Schneider said, calling the competition an “honor.”
The University of Dayton grad added, “To know that I’m one of the most successful people at a game I’ve loved since I was a kid and to know that I’m a part of its history now, I just don’t know how to process it. I had thought that Rhone was going to be tough going into it. I loved hanging out with him, we had great conversation before the taping, but I could tell that he was here to play and that he was going to be good. I still came very close to winning, but I did feel like maybe I was slipping a little bit. And once it was clear that he was fast on the buzzer, I knew it was going to be a battle all the way.”
Cohost Ken Jennings also called her experience an “honor” to witness, saying, “It was just so amazing to watch. Like, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.”
Schneider’s defeat came three weeks after she passed the $1 million mark during her 28th game.
“I thought I could win some games, but I didn’t think I would do this well,” the California resident told AP earlier this month. “The other day, my girlfriend mentioned some famous people that had gone to her high school, and I was thinking, ‘I know there was somebody who went to mine.’ I looked it up on Wikipedia and there I was, listed under notable alumni. That was a very weird moment to see that.”
Not only does Schneider hold the second-longest winning streak in the show’s history — second to Jennings’ 74 wins — but she is the first transgender woman to qualify for the Tournament of Champions.
“I have definitely heard from other trans people who have been sort of thrilled to see me out there. But one of the things that I’ve enjoyed the most is hearing from parents, and sometimes grandparents, of trans people, an older generation,” she told the outlet. “There’s a lot of fear for their loved ones who are trans and worry that they might be limited in life. To be able to go out there and show that I can be successful in a very mainstream type of way has, I think, made a lot of them feel better about the people in their lives.”
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