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Thieu returns to ‘Jeopardy!’ to compete for $250,000

Profile image for By Rachel Mehlhaff / Staff Writer
By Rachel Mehlhaff / Staff Writer

Remember Monica Thieu?

She’s the former Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science student at the University of North Texas who won the Jeopardy! College Championship a year ago and took home the grand prize of $100,000 and a small trophy.

And she’s back at it again.

This time she is competing in the Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions, starting today.

“It was definitely different than the first time,” she said of returning to the Jeopardy! stage at the Sony Pictures Studios in Culver City, Calif.

Last time she was up against her college peers, but this time, the 19-year-old Stanford University student is up against 14 other champions from the last two seasons. And they are competing for $250,000.

Thieu of Dallas said she didn’t know what to expect.

“I thought they might be lame, but they were all really, really cool,” said Thieu of her fellow contestants, adding that they may have been louder and sillier than the college students.

“I definitely felt like there was more pressure this round,” she said. “I felt like I had something to prove.”

She said some people didn’t think she’d be able to compete against the regular contestants.

This time she knew more about what to study, and she changed her strategy.

Last time, even if she knew the answer, she couldn’t always hit the buzzer in time, Thieu said.

She was initially chosen for the television quiz show out of about 12,000 college students.

A year ago, she won by supplying the right “question” to this “answer”: “The 14 countries that border China run alphabetically from this to ‘Vietnam.’”

Her response: “What is ‘Afghanistan?’”

RACHEL MEHLHAFF can be reached at 940-566-6889. Her e-mail address is .


To watch Monica Thieu compete again, tune in at 6 p.m. today on Channel 21. It will be a two-week tournament.