With her 14th consecutive “Jeopardy!” win on Friday, Mattea Roach qualified for the game show’s Tournament of Champions, a coveted yearly competition among the 15 players who win the most money in the prior season.
Roach, a 23-year-old Canadian tutor, took home $34,000 on Friday, bringing her total winnings to $320,081 and making her the highest-winning Canadian contestant in “Jeopardy!” history.
And as Roach breaks “Jeopardy!” records, she’s also amounted another noteworthy accolade. Roach, who is a lesbian, according to her Twitter account, has become the game show’s latest LGBTQ sensation.
Roach’s winning streak follows the success of “Jeopardy!” champion Amy Schneider, who made history in November when she became the first transgender contestant to qualify for the Tournament of Champions.
“This has been such a crazy season of streaks,” Mattea told “Jeopardy!” following her 12th consecutive win last week. “I was fully thinking, you know, Amy might still be here. If it’s not Amy, there’s going to be some other super champion that’s just going to knock me out game one. And then, I guess what I didn’t realize is maybe I could become the super champion I wanted to see in the world.”
Schneider capped a 40-game winning streak this year, with overall winnings of $1,382,800. She holds the title of the show’s top female earner and the second-highest winning streak in “Jeopardy!” history, behind contestant-turned-host Ken Jennings, who ended a 74-game streak in 2004.
Amid her success on the show, Schneider, an engineering manager from Oakland, California, became an instant transgender icon. She’s amassed over 138,000 followers on Twitter and earned invites to top LGBTQ fundraising events, including the GLAAD Media Awards this month, where the LGBTQ media advocacy group honored her.
Last month, Schneider was also invited to speak on transgender rights at the White House in honor of Transgender Day of Visibility.
Similar to when Schneider competed on the popular quiz show, some “Jeopardy!” fans have celebrated Roach for increasing LGBTQ visibility on TV.
“current jeopardy champion is a 23 year old Canadian lesbian, we’re truly going to run the world one day,” one fan wrote on Twitter.
“just found out shes a lesbian so. watching jeopardy like its my job,” wrote another, referring to Roach.
In recent years, a number of “Jeopardy!” contestants have increasingly acknowledged their LGBTQ identities.
Some, including Schneider, have worn LGBTQ Pride flag pins while competing to increase queer visibility on TV. Schneider has said that doing so was the highlight of her experience on the show.
Also notably, “Jeopardy!” contestant Cody Lawrence was praised in 2020 for breaking barriers when he wore a Bisexual Pride flag pin on the show.
“The bi segment of the LGBTQ+ community isn’t quite as visible as the rest of it, both within the community and outside of the community,” he told the “TODAY” show. “Obviously, the LGBTQ+ community as a whole has difficulty with visibility, but I feel like we get lost in the shuffle. A lot.”
Roach will vie for her 15th consecutive “Jeopardy!” win on Monday evening, facing off against contestants Michael Graff from Eastvale, California, and Jessie Francis from Marietta, Georgia.
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