Canadian Jeopardy! master Mattea Roach credits late father for success: 'Everything I am doing ... is for him'
Roach's special nod to their father was a touching moment in the phenom's Jeopardy! journey
Toronto-based trivia phenom Mattea Roach is heading to the final Jeopardy Masters' tournament, a journey that’s catapulted the Halifax-native into the hearts of many who watch the show across North America.
But it's been a bittersweet journey for Roach, who uses they/them pronouns, as they revealed on the game show that their father died suddenly earlier this month while they were competing on the show.
Mattea Roach on Jeopardy! Masters
The latest incarnation of the game to include Roach is Jeopardy! Masters, which features six recent super-champions, like James Holzhauer and Amy Schneider, competing against each other.
On Tuesday, Roach came in second and third in the two games, which secured them a final spot for Wednesday night’s final.
During the show's "anecdotes" portion, where the host speaks to contestant who share funny, inspiring or biographical stories, Roach opened up about wearing a denim jacket that was on extended loan from their father while they competed in the game.
Our hearts go out to Mattea and their family 💙 pic.twitter.com/8DS9qTrVEL
— Jeopardy! (@Jeopardy) May 24, 2023
“It’s now on permanent loan, unfortunately,” Roach told host Ken Jennings, revealing the loss of their father.
They went on to share that their father is the reason Roach is competing, crediting him for teaching them all about Turner Classic movies and old music.
“I wanted to…really recognize the impact that he had on my life,” Roach said, before extending gratitude to the contestants and staff of Jeopardy for their support.
In a Twitter thread, Roach further paid tribute to their father, revealing how they intentionally used the short time given to each contestant to share an anecdote on the show, to spotlight him. Roach went on to credit their fellow contestants and the production crew at Jeopardy for being “beyond supportive.” Roach ended the thread with a photo of their dad on Reach for the Top, a Canadian game show.
“Everything I am doing on TV this week is for him,” Roach shared with their 56,000 followers on Twitter.
🧵(8/8) Lastly - this is my dad’s Reach for the Top (quiz bowl for Americans) team photo from 1983. Dad is seated in the flannel shirt. Everything I am doing on TV this week is for him ❤️ pic.twitter.com/S0JlY7HYPr
— Mattea Roach (@mattearoach) May 23, 2023
Phillip Roach died from an aneurysm on May 2 in his Halifax home, according to his obituary, which described "his warmth and kindness which he displayed in equal measure to those he'd known for decades and those he'd just met."
Tonight’s Jeopardy Master final will see the three remaining champions, Roach, Holzhauer and Matt Amodio, play each other twice.
Mattea Roach's run on Jeopardy!
Roach first started making headlines last year, when they won 23 consecutive games of the popular trivial TV show from April to May 2022.
This remarkable feat earned them a total of US$560,983 — more than enough to pay off their student loans. The streak catapulted Roach to No. 5 in the all-time Jeopardy! earnings
Roach as the fifth in total all-time regular season earnings and fifth in total regular-season wins, in addition to being the most successful Canadian to ever compete in the game. In November 2022, Roach played in Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions, but lost to Andrew He.