Philly Jeopardy! champ honored by city ahead of Tournament of Champions
Ryan Long went from a rideshare driver to a big winner on the nationally syndicated game show. Now, he’s ready to take on other Jeopardy! champions.
Former rideshare driver Ryan Long won just under $300,000 in his 16-day run on Jeopardy! that ended in June. As he prepares for the game show’s Tournament of Champions, he was honored at City Hall with a formal ceremony. Mayor Jim Kenney presented Long with a ceremonial model of the Liberty Bell in honor of his achievements.
City Representative Sheila Hess said Long’s winning streak is a major milestone, but going back to compete in the Tournament of Champions this fall will give him an ability to further “demonstrate his deep knowledge and Philadelphia grit.”
Long grew up in the University City neighborhood of Philadelphia, and he graduated from George Washington High School. He now resides in the city’s Mt. Airy section.
He first applied to compete in the iconic game of Jeopardy! in September of 2020 during COVID and a month later was contacted for an audition via Zoom. When his run ended he held the ninth position on Jeopardy!’s Leaderboard of Legends Consecutive Games Won list. He won a total of $299,400.
Kenney congratulated Long on his win, calling him a “hometown hero” that had survived COVID and “believed in his dreams” by going on the quiz show. Kenney said the “city will tune in and cheer you on as you progress through the tournament.”
Long said he’s not a very public person and was “hounded by his mother” to come to City Hall to receive the mayoral citation.
He’s hoping to start another win streak on the gameshow’s Tournament of Champions.
“It’s not that much different from before, I’m more about enjoying the trip,” Long said. “It’s my kid’s first time in California, last time was my first time in California. I’m eager to go back and get lightning in a bottle again.”
Long says having the money in the bank does admittedly make his life easier.
“My primary instinct is to keep myself in my hole and let the world pass me by. I think that’s a good instinct for survival reasons.”
He added the cash gave him the opportunity to purchase the ultimate game show grand prize: a new truck.
WHYY is your source for fact-based, in-depth journalism and information. As a nonprofit organization, we rely on financial support from readers like you. Please give today.