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Canada's 'Jeopardy!' champ Ray Lalonde achieves 11-day winning streak in tight game

Ray Lalonde, a scenic artist from Toronto, was actually in second place going into Final Jeopardy, just US$1,000 behind Emily Kawaler, a bioinformatician from New York

Canadian
Canadian "Jeopardy!" contestant Ray Lalonde, a scenic artist from Toronto (Jeopardy!)

Canada's Jeopardy! champion Ray Lalonde reached an 11-day winning streak on Thursday, totalling US$311,500.

Lalonde, a scenic artist from Toronto, was actually in second place going into Final Jeopardy, US$1,000 behind Emily Kawaler, a bioinformatician from New York.

The Final Jeopardy category was "Gods and Goddesses" and the question read, "each morning she began her ride in her chariot across the sky ahead of her brother Sol, or Helios."

Lalonde correctly answered Eos, wagering his entire game winnings, US$13,200.

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Although she lost the game after getting the Final Jeopardy question wrong, Kawaler took to social media to share how kind Lalonde was during show.

"When I arrived on the [Jeopardy!] set, I was super anxious," she wrote. "But the guy sitting in front of me turned right around and started chatting."

"He was friendly and welcoming and I immediately imprinted on him like a baby duckling. That man was, of course, Ray Lalonde."

JEOPARDY! host Ken Jennings, a 74-time champion of the popular quiz show, is seen in an undated handout photo.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-HO, JEOPARDY! *MANDATORY CREDIT*
JEOPARDY! host Ken Jennings, a 74-time champion of the popular quiz show, is seen in an undated handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-HO, JEOPARDY! *MANDATORY CREDIT*

Ray Lalonde remembers his late mother's love of 'Jeopardy!'

In the middle of Thursday's game, Ray Lalonde was asked by host and Jeopardy! GOAT Ken Jennings about his late mother, who loved the trivia game show.

"It was always her favourite show and we always watched as a family," Lalonde said, adding that the family started watching when Art Fleming was the host, before fellow Canadian Alex Trebek took over.

Lalonde also said that he likely wouldn't be a contestant on the show if it wasn't for his mother's love of Jeopardy! and how much she valued her children's intellectual curiosity.

"She was such a nurturer of our intelligence, our intellectual curiosity," Lalonde said. "We went to the library every weekend, always came back with a stack of books and it was never a chore for her. She always loved it."

Ken Jennings, left, James Holzhauer, center, and Brad Rutter, cast members in the ABC television series
Ken Jennings, left, James Holzhauer, center, and Brad Rutter, cast members in the ABC television series "Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time," pose together at the 2020 ABC Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour, Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020, in Pasadena, Calif. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

'The law of large numbers'

With Jeopardy! viewers seeing more contestants having longer winning streaks recently, earlier this year Jeopardy! champ Brad Rutter, who holds the title for the highest all-time winnings, told Yahoo Canada that it all comes down to "the law of large numbers."

“If you flip a coin a million times and you ask someone, ‘well, how often would heads come up 30 times in a row?’ They'd say, ‘I don't know two or three,’ but it's more like 30 or 40,” Rutter explained.

“Eventually we're going to have something like this and it just happened to happen now.”

Ray Lalonde's success in Jeopardy! comes after another Canadian, Mattea Roach, won 23 straight games, which marks the fifth-longest streak in Jeopardy! history.