Matt Amodio Gets Real on ‘Jeopardy!’ Loss and Theories That He Threw the Game

Matt Amodio made history during his record-breaking run on Jeopardy!. Winning 38 games at the quiz board, the Ph.D. student bumped former champ James Holzhauer from his second place standing for most consecutive victories. Amodio recently shared his feelings about his streak-ending defeat on Oct. 11, and addresses those rumors that he lost on purpose.

'Jeopardy!' champ Matt Amodio appears as a guest on 'Good Morning America'
‘Jeopardy!’ champ Matt Amodio | Paula Lobo/ABC via Getty Images

Matt Amodio describes his last ‘Jeopardy!’ game

Amodio reflected on his 39th appearance on Jeopardy! and explained that he was simply off his game with timing and responses.

“The day I lost, I went in feeling a little ‘off’ physically, but I had felt worse before and then won with no problem, so I didn’t think anything of it,” he wrote in an article for Newsweek. “Then, I gradually saw that I wasn’t remembering things that I really should have been able to remember, and I was misreading clues in front of me. As that was happening, I began to see where the path ahead of me was leading.”

Still, the computer science major focused on the positives while admitting he wasn’t at his usual competitive level.

“I’m quite pleased with how I kept steady throughout,” Amodio pointed out. “I don’t think my emotions or confidence played that much into it, what I did feel was that there was evidence that my mind wasn’t working at full capacity.”

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‘Jeopardy’ champ says he ‘didn’t throw the game’

Amodio gave props to his two competitors –  Jessica Stephens and Jonathan Fisher, who defeated the champ – and credited them for stellar performances during their Jeopardy! match.

“I didn’t lose a game of Jeopardy!,” he wrote. “There were two people who fought hard to win, and one of them won. It was a poorly timed downturn for me, because I was up against two of the best and they did a great job capitalizing on that.”

The Ohio native also acknowledged the hearsay swirling that he purposely lost the game, saying that he was simply outplayed.

“I wasn’t being fed the answers when I was winning and I didn’t throw the game when I lost,” Amodio remarked. “It’s just a competition, I was doing well and then I lost. There’s nothing more to it. My buzzer was working fine. The only thing that wasn’t working was my brain at full capacity. The theories don’t upset me, people think all sorts of crazy things. But I do have the power not to acknowledge them.”

Matt Amodio doesn’t mind the ‘Jeopardy!’ fame

Amodio juggled his doctoral studies and Jeopardy! games for quite some time before his winning streak ended. He’s had to adjust to no longer see himself on the small screen.

“I will admit that it’s been a little weird getting back to my regular life,” Amodio wrote. “I had been doing school work and Jeopardy! for several months; it was busy and stressful. But now that I have half of that load off, it feels a little different. I’m still busy but I do miss seeing myself on national TV every night!”

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Though the Jeopardy! star’s run ended, he is proud to be recognized as part of such an iconic show that makes intelligence look cool.

“Of course, I was feeling very sad when I lost,” Amodio shared. “I loved being on the Jeopardy! stage. … I’m fortunate enough to be famous for doing well on the smartest television show in the world – there are things I wouldn’t want to be famous for. Being famous for this is just fantastic.”