“Jeopardy!” contestant Ryan Long, who had a 16-game streak and pocketed $299,400 from the show, shared a lengthy and heartfelt statement bidding farewell to the beloved competition series. While he lost to Minneapolis meteorologist Eric Ahasic on Monday, Long will be back to compete against fellow Season 38 MVPs Amy Schneider, Matt Amodio and Mattea Roach at this fall’s Tournament of Champions.
“So many feelings,” the Philadelphia-hailing ride-share driver wrote on Twitter. “I’m going to try and keep this short, but I’ll probably fail. I want to thank everybody who watched and supported me. I want to thank all my fellow contestants who were, to a person, exemplary human beings. I want to thank my momma and everybody who put me in the position to do this.”
Long continued, “I owe them everything. Sometimes it seems like society put you in a box, and you are classified as a certain thing with a certain destiny, even though you may feel differently inside. For the longest time, I didn’t believe that a person could really break out of that box. But I feel like this thing that just happened is proof that you can. Trust yourself, hold on to your dreams, you know who you really are. Take your shot, and don’t let anybody tell you you can’t do this or that, or you should be doing things a certain way.”
Long ranks ninth on “Jeopardy!‘s” Leaderboard of Legends Consecutive Games Won list. In a personal essay posted to the game show’s official site, Long said he was hesitant to apply, opening up about his journey with “long denied depression” and writing, “Ultimately, I think it didn’t happen then because I didn’t truly believe that it could happen. It was a pipe dream, the kind of thing that you halfheartedly pursue in your spare time.”
After recovering from a difficult bout of COVID, he realized “not to take anything for granted, and it relit a fire in me that I thought had gone out a long time ago: the fire to do something with my life. I remembered that life wasn’t just about survival; I wanted to actually live and not just ‘get through.'”