While Schneider, an engineering manager from Oakland, Calif., was leading by $10,000 as the contestants headed into the all-important "Final Jeopardy!" category, she failed to answer the clue. It was, "The only nation in the world whose name in English ends in an H, it's also one of the 10 most populous." Contestant Rhone Talsma, a librarian from Chicago, managed to overtake Schneider when she answered, "What is Bangladesh?" the correct response. Schneider ended up with $19,600 versus Talsma's $29,600.
"I had thought that Rhone was going to be tough going into it," Schneider said in a news release from the show that was embargoed until 7:30 p.m. ET. "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."
But Schneider did not walk away empty-handed. Far from it. She won $1,382,800 in her 40-game streak as champion and broke several records. Her hefty payday ranks fourth on the list of regular season winnings. Only Matt Amodio ($1,518,601), James Holzhauer ($2,462,216) and Ken Jennings ($2,520,700) won more. She reigned as champion longer than any other player, with the exception of Jennings, who had 74 wins. In addition, Schneider became the woman with the highest winnings ever and the highest number of games won ever. She also became the first transgender contestant to qualify for the annual Tournament of Champions, back in November.
"It's really been an honor," Schneider said after her loss. "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."
The famed player has mentioned before that her parents introduced her to the game show that they had enjoyed so much, and she'd long aspired to appear.
Although Schneider was a fierce contestant, she was also a friendly one, swapping kind messages on social media with or about others who've competed on the quiz show. She complimented their performance or their sense of fashion.
Thanks so much, I’m honored to be in your company, and I look forward to some day watching the woman who beats us both!
— Amy Schneider (@Jeopardamy) December 24, 2021
She actually came in wearing an even better outfit! I wish I could describe it well, it was a suit in a thick fabric and a really fun cut and pattern. Unfortunately the pattern was too tight and would have moiréd on camera, but unsurprisingly her backup outfit was also lit
— Amy Schneider (@Jeopardamy) January 26, 2022
Schneider seemed to feel at home there.
"I think that the best part for me has been being on TV as my true self, expressing myself and representing the entire community of trans people," Schneider told Good Morning America this week. "And just kind of showing a different thing than maybe some people have seen, of just being a smart, confident woman and just doing something super normal, like being on Jeopardy!."