Robin Carroll has taken home the most cash of any contestant during the regular syndicated series, winning a total of $214,100.
She wouldn’t say if she now has another win under her belt, but said it’s a game worth watching. Tonight’s show is part of Jeopardy!’s “Battle of the Decades” series. Contestants from the 1990s are set to appear on the show this week.
“It’s a very exciting game. I can’t tell you the outcome. I can tell you it was anybody’s game,” Carroll said.
Carroll first appeared on the show in 2000 when contestants were only allowed to win five games before ending their streak. In 2003 the rules changed to allow guests to remain on the show as long as they continue winning.
She wasn’t able to afford a trip to Los Angeles to audition but was selected to appear on the show when recruiters held a mock competition in Atlanta in 1999. Carroll can’t be sure, but she thinks part of the reason she was selected is her gender.
Even in the late ’90s, she said, few women were chosen to compete.
“At that time there was a furious imbalance,” Carroll said.
Her desire to be on the show was first stoked as a young child.
“Even for a kid I was fairly good at it, even as an 8-year-old,” Carroll said.
Carroll went on the show with the goal to win one game and bring home enough cash to make a dent in her tuition at Kennesaw State University where she had just enrolled.
But she ended up walking away with enough to buy a new home in west Cobb after winning that game and then winning the 2000 Tournament of Champions later that year. Carroll quickly became a Marietta favorite.
“I was a minor local celebrity for a few years,” Carroll said.
She has since moved to Sandy Springs but still works in Marietta as an instructional designer.
Carroll played again in the 2002 Million Dollar Masters tournament but did not win. Her ex-husband, Dan, competed in 2011 but also did not win.
Even after making multiple appearances on the show, Carroll said it’s still a different experience each time.
“It is never routine,” Carroll said. “It’s not just a day at the office.”
She called the show’s host, Alex Trebek, “gentlemanly,” though she said he isn’t allowed to spend much time mingling with guests. Contestants are closely guarded, she said, even being escorted to the restroom to ensure no one has a chance to cheat.
There’s mutual respect, she said, among competitors, particularly those at tournament games.
“It’s a club that doesn’t have very many members,” Carroll said.