Who is Brian Gondos? Find out on 'Jeopardy!' Hours and hours of studying could pay off for College sophomore Brian Gondos at the end of this semester -- literally. Gondos will fly to Los Angeles during winter break to participate in the Jeopardy! College Tournament, which has an earning potential of $25,000 and a new car. Gondos, a pre-med history major, found out last Thursday that he was one of 15 students chosen to compete in the popular game show's annual tournament. Being on the "smart people's" game show has always been a dream of Gondos. In high school he tried out for the show's Teen Tournament but did not pass the preliminary test. This year, he decided to take another shot. When a message at the end of a Jeopardy! episode announced that the show was looking for college student contestants, Gondos sent in 30 postcards indicating his interest. Fourteen thousand students sent in postcards to the show as well, Gondos later found out, but the show only auditions 2,000 randomly picked students -- a group which happened to include Gondos. A month and a half later, he traveled to a New York City hotel ballroom for the Jeopardy! tryouts for his region. Upon his arrival, Gondos had to take a 50-question test modeled after the television show. He had only eight seconds to answer each question. Gondos said the questions, which were flashed on television screens, gauged his knowledge of mostly the fine arts, such as music, literature and dance. He was disappointed that there were not more questions in other subjects. "I'm big on sports, and they only had one sports question," he said, referring to the answer that prompted him to identify the Chinese American who won the French Open in 1989 -- "Who is Michael Chang?" Gondos was one of seven individuals in his location to pass the test. He never found out his score. At the next level of selection, Jeopardy! officials asked Gondos questions such as, "If chosen, what would you say about yourself at the beginning of the show?" "They want to see if you're enthusiastic and if you have some interesting qualities about you," he said. Gondos then participated in a mock game show against the other individuals who passed the initial test. "You practice your buzzer and you see how you do under pressure," he explained. At the end of the day, Gondos was told that he would know by the first week in December whether he was chosen to compete in the tournament. Much to his surprise, he got the call last Thursday night. "I was shocked," Gondos said. "I've always wanted to be on Jeopardy! and I thought that I'd have to try out next year and the year after that." The shows will be taped January 9 and 10 and will air the last two weeks of February. Gondos's affinity for Jeopardy! stems from his deep love for knowledge. "I've always liked learning about things and having a broad range of knowledge," he said. "I was never really good at sports. In high school I was on the College Bowl team." Gondos is also on Penn's College Bowl team, but because of his observance of the Jewish sabbath on Saturdays, he said he has only been able to attend one tournament. "I am not the best person on the team," he said. "I wouldn't even be on the first team." Gondos said he hopes to win big, but he said he will be satisfied with his performance regardless of his placing. "The people I'm going against are probably more talented than I am," he said. "If I win that's great, but if I lose I'll know that I gave it my best effort." Even if he doesn't run away with the first-place prize, Gondos is still guaranteed to win money: The second-place winner of the tournament will receive at least $10,000, the third-place winner will get at least $7,500, the fourth-through-ninth places receive at least $5,000 and the rest receive at least $1,000. Gondos said he is going to invest his winnings. "I've never won money on a game show before," he said. "I don't have a car, so it would nice to drive a car around."Comments powered by Disqus
Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.