Mattea Roach: No nerves during ‘Jeopardy!’ stripe

Mattea Roach is still a tutor and plans to go back to school after becoming the most successful Canadian contestant in “Jeopardy!” history.

“My check is coming in the mail this week, so I haven’t been able to go out and spend a ton of money that I didn’t have before,” Roach told CTV News Channel from her hometown of Halifax. “The main thing that has changed is that I am now recognized when I leave my house, which certainly didn’t happen before ‘Jeopardy!'”

The 23-year-old’s remarkable 23-game streak ended Friday with US$560,983 in prize money, or more than CA$720,000. The streak puts Roach in fifth place for most games won and the highest win in a regular season on the long-running quiz show, the best performance ever for a Canadian.

Perhaps the key to her success, Roach says she was able to overcome any nervousness she felt before she first hit the “Jeopardy!” phase.

“I just went into game mode and from that moment on there were no more nerves,” she said. “I knew I just had to focus on playing the game to the best of my ability, and luckily I was able to do that.”

Roach said she prepared for games by studying past clues online and watching the show daily, “just to get a feel for the rhythm.”

“And before I started recording, when I was in the studio, I was actually trying to give myself a little pep talk in my head while I was on stage, waiting for the cameras to come on, just saying to myself, ‘Focus on things that you can check” and “It’s showtime, let’s give them a great show,” she said.

After 23 amazing and exciting shows, Roach revealed that a select few already knew how things would turn out in the show.

“Basically, the rule during COVID is that anyone who would have watched in the studio audience without COVID is allowed to tell those people,” explains Roach. “So I was able to talk to my parents and some close friends about it, and that helped me not to spill the beans to other people when I wasn’t supposed to.”

Of course, those family and friends couldn’t be prouder.

“My mom said, ‘You know ‘proud’ is the most used word in our house right now,” Roach said.

Smart on screen and off, Roach plans to talk to a financial advisor after her check comes in. She first wants to pay off her student debt and put money into future tuition.

“I want to make sure I’m using that money wisely, and not just wasting it on frivolous things,” she said. “So my hope is to invest most of it in the safest way possible, and then hopefully use it to help me buy a house in the next, say, five to seven years.”

Even though Roach lost her last match by just $1, she’s still happy with her time on “Jeopardy!” went.

“It’s an exhausting process to record the shows, but it’s so much fun, and I had fun until the last minute,” she said. “Nobody, especially myself, as if nobody expected it to go so well.”

Roach gets another shot at the buzzer this fall when she takes on other former winners in ‘Jeopardy! Championship Tournament.”

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