Kristyna Ng, who says ‘Jeopardy!’ helped her learn English, gets on show

A woman who learned English by watching “Jeopardy!” after moving to Canada from China when she was 8 years old has fulfilled her dream by becoming a contestant on the game show and meeting Alex Trebek.

“Jeopardy! has been the soundtrack of my life,” Kristyna Ng, a corporate strategist with the City of Calgary, told the BBC after coming in second place in Tuesday’s episode. “I feel like I won the lottery just by being on the show.”

Ng took home a $2,000 consolation prize after losing to Danyelle Long-Hyland by only $2,221. The game was even closer when she trailed the front-runner by just $600 before going into the Final Jeopardy, where contestants place bets on whether they get the right answer.

The clue: After statesman and banker Robert Morris declined a job offer from George Washington, this man took the job.

The answer: Alexander Hamilton.

Ng guessed correctly in the American History category, a topic she said she didn’t feel very comfortable with, but her bet was too conservative to overtake Long-Hyland.

“Betting depends on your strength in the category and also the position that you’re in,” Ng told the Calgary Herald.

“I was competing against two Americans, and one of them was from Harvard, so all these considerations ran through my mind. It’s not a simple black-and-white calculation,” she said.

Despite the loss, Ng got the thrill of her life by meeting her idol, Trebek, 79, the longtime host who is battling stage-four pancreatic cancer.

And at the end of the game, she said Trebek offered some personal words of encouragement.

“He came by and he said, ‘Don’t be too hard on yourself. You did a great job and you should be very proud,’ ” Ng told the Herald. “He was so genuine and soft and gentle.”

During the game, one mispronunciation cost Ng big when a clue asked for the name of former Polish Prime Minister Lech Walesa.

She was close, but confused the consonants and said “Lawensa,” — an answer that was initially accepted, but the judges later reversed their decision, costing her $4,000.

“I guess I should start learning Polish,” Ng said, chuckling. “Learning English was difficult enough. I learned some French, I know Cantonese and Mandarin. Polish was never really at the top of my list.”

Ng, who was initially encouraged to try out for the show by a friend she and her husband, Ritchie, had made while playing trivia on a cruise ship, said she was looking forward to returning to her everyday life.

“It’s amazing to have been on that stage and to represent Canadians that are diverse or newcomers, and to know that through hard work, perseverance and the love of learning, anything is possible,” she told the Herald.

“I have no regrets. It’s all such a wonderful journey and it was never about winning. It was never about the prize. It’s about knowing that anyone can make it.”

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