In an episode that aired Tuesday, Colby Burnett, a World History teacher from Chicago, Ill., won the JEOPARDY! Tournament of Champions and captured the $250,000 grand prize. The 29-year-old Burnett also won the JEOPARDY! Teachers Tournament in November 2012.
"I told my students before I left not to be disappointed because this might be a 'one and done' event," said Burnett, who teaches at his alma mater, Fenwick High School in Oak Park, Ill. "I was just happy to be out there. I had no idea I would do so well. It was amazing, for both cash and prestige purposes."
Keith Whitener, a research chemist from Charlotte, N.C., came in second and won $100,000, while Kristin Morgan, a strategic analyst at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., finished third and took home $50,000.
"I was happy with the opportunity to come back and compete against some amazing players," Burnett said. "The most challenging part was overcoming apprehension about people who had won more games than I had. Momentum was never an issue, I ran off pure adrenaline in every match."
The $250,000 Tournament of Champions payday coupled with the $100,000 prize from his Teachers Tournament victory places Burnett in an elite group of high-earning JEOPARDY! champions.
"I'm staying committed to being the same person I was before I set foot on that stage," said Burnett, who plans on purchasing a house for his mother with his winnings. "I certainly can't retire, so I'm going to work with the same zeal I had all these years. I'm still riding public transportation and living in my apartment. I don't like change all that much."
JEOPARDY! airs locally in Chicago at 2:30 p.m. on WLS-TV (ABC Chicago). For complete national TV listings, please click here.