Latest Jeopardy! Champion Reveals Serious Health Issue

The champions of "Jeopardy!" have been an inspiring bunch as of late, led by Amy Schenider and her impressive record-breaking run that finally came to an end January 26. Now, fans are celebrating the victory of contestant Christine Whelchel. Hailing from Spring Hill, Tennessee, the piano teacher wrapped up her first game as champion with $34,000 in winnings, according to People.

The episode that aired February 23 was a nailbiter. Whelchel went into the Final Jeopardy! round with a $2,000 lead over fellow contestant Henry Rozycki. Both were able to provide the correct answer, and their wagers landed them in a tie-breaker situation. The news prompted a shocked look from third-place contestant Patrick Byrnett placed between them. Ken Jennings — who has been sharing hosting duties with Mayim Bialik on "Jeopardy!" since Alex Trebek's death in 2020 — informed the players that whoever buzzed in first with the correct answer would be the winner.

With a category in flowers, the final clue read: "After its inclusion in a 1915 poem, this red flower became a symbol of fallen World War I soldiers." Whelchel's quick answer of "poppy" secured her victory over two-day champ Rozycki. The celebration was heartwarming for fans, as the contestant had shared a personal story with Jennings and the "Jeopardy!" audience when she was first introduced.

Christine Whelchel is a breast cancer survivor

As Ken Jennings chatted with the contestants on "Jeopardy!" February 23, he noted that in addition to being a piano teacher and church organist, Christine Whelchel was also a cancer survivor. "I was diagnosed in March of 2021, and one of the first things I did a couple of weeks after being diagnosed was take the 'Jeopardy!' test," she shared with the host. "And I ended up getting my audition the night before my surgery in May."

Jennings celebrated the fact that the audition was clearly successful and offered congratulations when Whelchel added, "Everything else went well and I'm cancer-free as of right now." The audience gave her a round of applause as she went on to play an impressive game. Prevention highlighted the champion's story and noted that breast cancer remains the most common variety in women. According to, 287,850 women are estimated to be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2022.

Whelchel went on to win her second game despite a more challenging board with a whopping 17 triple stumper clues on February 24, and is set to compete again to make a lasting streak. Her total winnings so far amount to $44,600. Fans of the show cheered the champion on in comments on Twitter. One user congratulated her on remission. Another wrote, "You're a rockstar!"