January 16th, 2021

‘Jeopardy!’ contestant overwhelmed by support

By Sulz, Dave on April 25, 2020.

Dave Sulz

lethbridge herald


Sharon Lawson’s “wild ride” as a “Jeopardy!” contestant may be over, but she’s still basking in the glow of support she has received as a result of representing Lethbridge on the popular TV quiz show.

Lawson’s two-game “Jeopardy!” experience came to an end on Thursday’s program, when she was dethroned by Tim Latham of Boston. But on the strength of her victory in her debut match which aired Wednesday, she walked away with a final total of US $20,601, which, as longtime “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek pointed out, is even greater in Canadian dollars.

While Lawson, a longtime fan of the show, will always treasure her appearance on “Jeopardy!,” she especially appreciates the tsunami of support she received, one which began back in January when she first received the call to travel to California to participate in the taping of this week’s segments.

“I can’t thank everybody enough – all my Facebook friends, co-workers, family, everyone who sent messages,” Lawson said Friday. “It’s just been mind-blowing and I’m so grateful.”

Lawson was understandably excited about her opportunity to appear on the iconic quiz show, but she was caught off guard by the degree of excitement it generated in others.

“I knew I had a rooting section but I didn’t realize it was going to be as big as it was,” she said. “It just exploded locally.”

The appearance brought her messages from coast to coast and even from the U.S.

“It’s reconnected me with a lot of people I haven’t heard from for years,” said Lawson. “That’s been one of the cooler parts of the whole thing.

“Everybody just really jumped on the bandwagon. It’s been really heartwarming and fun.”

The experience has also resulted in new connections.

“I’ve gained about 15 new Facebook friends the last couple of days, including all the ladies” who were part of her “Jeopardy!” contestant pool.

After winning her “Jeopardy!” debut, Lawson felt her downfall in Thursday’s match was her inability to “buzz in” to answer questions.

“It’s all about timing,” she explained, noting contestants aren’t able to press their buzzer to answer a question until Trebek has finished reading the clue and a set of lights goes on.

“You can’t buzz in until the lights but if you wait until the lights go on, it’s almost too late. You have to almost try to anticipate the lights.”

Lawson admitted she had set some goals for herself heading into the “Jeopardy!” experience.

“My initial goal was to not finish in the hole and to play in Final Jeopardy and not look like an idiot,” she said. “Goal 2 was to win a game. Goal 3 was to win more than one game.”

Chalk up two of the three goals accomplished. No matter what, she can include herself in the fraternity of “Jeopardy!” champions, something two-thirds of contestants don’t achieve.

Lawson recognizes she beat long odds just to have earned an appearance on “Jeopardy!”

“I’m grateful for the opportunity and grateful for all the support,” she said. “It was a pretty awesome ride.”

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