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Nonbinary Contestant Rowan Ward Takes Jeopardy! Second Chance Tourney

Ken Jennings and Rowan Ward

Ward will be seen in an episode airing Wednesday as they compete for a spot in the Tournament of Champions.

Wednesday’s semifinal round of the Second Chance Tournament on Jeopardy! will feature nonbinary contestant Rowan Ward.

Ward competed last year against Matt Amodio, one of the top champions of the 2021-2022 season. The Second Chance Tournament, which began airing last week and continues through Friday, gives Ward and others who lost to big winners like Amodio, Amy Schneider, and Mattea Roach the opportunity to claim a berth in the Tournament of Champions, which begins airing Monday and brings together all the leading champs of the season.

Ward, a sportswriter specializing in horse racing, didn’t come out as nonbinary until after their first Jeopardy! appearance, so they competed under the name they used before coming out. “It felt like the right decision at the time, but then when it aired, I was very excited that it happened,” Ward recently told NPR. “But I was also kind of sad because I know that this name isn’t long for the world, but it's going to follow me around in this context forever because I was on Jeopardy! under it. And to get a second chance to play Jeopardy! as Rowan Ward means everything to me.”

They won fans on the show “for their eccentric personality and their odd line of work,” NPR notes. Ward explained, “I write and edit words about horses running around in circles very fast, and it makes me happy.”

Related: 7 Times Amy Schneider Made Jeopardy! History

The Wednesday show pits Ward against two other Second Chancers, Nikkee Porcaro and Do Park. The winner will face Monday’s and Tuesday’s respective winners, Sadie Goldberger and Jack Weller, in a two-part final round airing Thursday and Friday. The contestant who finishes first in the final will be in the Tournament of Champions with last week’s Second Chance winner, Jessica Stephens, plus the top champs of the season, including Schneider, Amodio, Roach, Ryan Long, Jonathan Fisher, and others.

Whether Ward makes the Tournament of Champions or not, that tournament will have LGBTQ+ representation with Schneider, who is transgender, and Roach, a lesbian. Schneider, Amodio, and Roach will skip the first round of the tournament so others won’t have to face such formidable contestants, and the three of them will compete in an exhibition game set to air November 8.

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