The first-ever “Jeopardy!” team championship came down to a clash of the titans, Ken Jennings vs. Brad Rutter. (Photo submitted by Lucky Budd)

Clash of ‘Jeopardy!’ titans ends with $1 million runaway win

The champions made a big ‘Daily Double’ bet

The first-ever “Jeopardy!” team championship came down to a clash of the titans, Ken Jennings vs. Brad Rutter.

With $1 million at stake, a big Daily Double bet by Rutter positioned his team for a runaway victory as the quiz show’s “All-Star Games” ended Tuesday.

READ MORE: B.C. couple wins $25.9M lottery jackpot

Rutter and teammates Larissa Kelly and David Madden split the top prize, with Jennings, Matt Jackson and Monica Thieu sharing $300,000. Colby Burnett, Pam Mueller and Alan Lin took third place and $100,000 on the show hosted by Alex Trebek.

Rutter entered the contest as the top winner on any game show with a haul of $4.3 million in regular and tournament “Jeopardy!” play. Jennings was a 74-game winner and top moneymaker in the quiz show’s non-tournament competition with $2.5 million.

“To see it come down to the two heavyweights was the perfect culmination of it,” Madden said in an interview. “It certainly did not disappoint in terms of the quality of play, and we just got lucky that Brad pulled the Daily Doubles when needed and had a great round.”

“Ken played great, too, as did Team Colby,” he said, graciously.

For his part, team captain Rutter was happy to share the credit with Madden and Kelly.

“The money is great, but these champs aren’t here for the money. They’re here for the glory,” he said. “I wanted to bring it home for my team, because they worked so hard and prepared so well and played so well.”

A daring $10,000 bet by Rutter ended up making the contest a lock, Kelly said. A history buff, Rutter said he felt confident enough about the category, Colonial America, to go big. (He knew which war Britain’s 1764 Sugar Act was intended to retroactively pay for. If the answer doesn’t spring to mind, here’s a refresher .)

“Brad and I have probably played against each other more than any two other people in ‘Jeopardy!’ history, but it’s never enough for me,” Jennings said in a statement. “On the one hand, I’m thinking, ‘Just once, can somebody take this guy out in the semis?’ But on the other hand, you want to see how you stack up against the best talent available.”

Kelly called Rutter’s performance “incredible to watch.” It also made easy work for her in the final round of “Jeopardy!” as she faced a question about constitutional amendments.

“I was assuming I would have to get it right, and it turned out it didn’t matter at all. I was totally in a no-pressure situation,” she said, happily.

The winning teammates boast longtime friendships. Madden and Kelly were quiz-bowl teammates at Princeton, and Rutter and Madden met at a tournament in 2006. Playing as a trio was an “amazing aspect of the whole experience,” Madden said.

Lynn Elber, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Provincial COVID-19 data can now be used for B.C. to prepare for a second wave

In the past week, B.C. has seen a slight spike in daily test-positive case counts

Feds announce $8.3M to deal with ‘ghost’ fishing gear in B.C. waters

Three projects on the North Coast awarded funding

VIA Rail lays off 1,000 unionized workers across the country

Northern B.C. route Jasper to Prince George to Prince Rupert is not affected by VIA Rail layoffs

Hagensborg Water District purchases new fire truck; prepares for conversion to CCRD

Approximately $1.3 million of the district’s infrastructure grant has been transferred to the CCRD.

B.C. records 62 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths since Friday

Province has just over 200 active cases

‘Trauma equals addiction’ – why some seek solace in illicit substances

Part 2: Many pushed into addiction by ‘toxic stress,’ says White Rock psychologist

Hotel rooms for B.C. homeless too hasty, NDP government told

Businesses forced out, but crime goes down, minister says

Wage subsidy will be extended until December amid post-COVID reopening: Trudeau

Trudeau said the extension will ‘give greater certainty and support to businesses’

B.C. government prepares for COVID-19 economic recovery efforts

New measures after July consultation, Carole James says

Tree planters get help with COVID-19 protective measures

Ottawa funds extra transportation, sanitizing for crews

Trudeau apologizes for not recusing himself from WE decision

He says his and his family’s longtime involvement with the WE organization should have kept him out of the discussions

Beverly Hills 90210 star’s family selling Vancouver Island Beach Resort

You can own Jason Priestley’s Terrace Beach Resort in Ucluelet for less than $5 million

Most Read