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"Jeopardy!" Champ Slammed for "Awkward" Response to Fellow Players: "Sore Loser"

Tensions were high on the May 6 episode.

Jeopardy!'s trivia categories, which range from historical events to musical legends, are designed to stump contestants (and viewers!) at every turn—or, in this case, at every tile. While the rivalry is fierce, there's always been a sense of respect among competitors. For many Jeopardy! fans, the camaraderie is what makes the pop quiz show so fun, especially when there is a recurring champion in the fold. However, that wasn't the case on Monday's episode in which one player failed to congratulate her winning opponent.

RELATED: "Jeopardy!" Player Says Show Edited Out Major Ken Jennings Flub: "Had the Audience Gasping."

On May 6, contestant Weckiai Rannila, an engineer from Albuquerque, was seeking her fourth consecutive win when she abruptly lost to Matthew Smith in the Final Jeopardy round. The category was historical groups, and the clue read, "Like their uniform, the flag of this group created in 1506 has stripes of red, blue & yellow, the colors of the Medici family."

In last place with $10,600 was Carrie Klaus, who incorrectly guessed the "Italian army." Then, Rannila lost $6,801 of her $19,600 earnings due to her incorrect answer of "French Foreign Legion."

Rannila's fumble gave Smith a chance to steal the lead. Not only did Smith answer correctly, but he wagered all of his money, therefore doubling his total to $26,400.

Host Ken Jennings crowned Smith the new Jeopardy! champion, prompting a round of applause from the audience and fellow competitor Klaus. But when the camera panned to Rannila, she kept a straight face and exhibited no enthusiasm for her rival.

As many fans later pointed out on social media, there were no handshakes, hugs, or words of encouragement exchanged between the pair. Viewers immediately took to Facebook, theorizing whether Rannila was in a state of shock or just being a "sore loser."


"I have never seen a sore loser on Jeopardy like Weckiai. That was so gross," one person commented on a Jeopardy! post.

Another chimed in, "She didn't even speak or look at them, even as Ken started to chat with all of them after the show. Odd."

However, Rannila publicly acknowledged her "awkward" response in a post-game Reddit thread.

"What an exciting game this was to play! Congratulations again to Matthew Smith, our new Champion! I was so happy to go out in a game where I was genuinely happy with my performance," she began.

"I would love another opportunity to prove myself on the Alex Trebek stage. I know I might have given some viewers the impression of being cold or awkward, but I was really just in awe by what I was able to do by even appearing on the show," Rannila explained.

RELATED: Controversial "Jeopardy!" Player Slammed for "Rude and Gross" Remark During Game.

Users quickly flocked to Rannila's defense, admiring the former champ for her "great run."

"I did not think you appeared cold or awkward. You seemed confident and sure of yourself, to me," wrote one person, while another added: "You were a great contestant and a pleasure to watch!"

"Not at all! You seemed very cool not cold," said a third.

One fan said they "did not get the cold/awkward vibe" from Rannila, noting they "would have no clue how to act on stage," either. "You crushed it! Congrats on a great run," they cheered.

Emily Weaver
Emily is a NYC-based freelance entertainment and lifestyle writer — though, she’ll never pass up the opportunity to talk about women’s health and sports (she thrives during the Olympics). Read more
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