Elk Grove Marine Competes On The Hit Game Show Jeopardy!
One of Elk Grove’s very own made it as a contestant on the hit game show Jeopardy! 40 year old Chris Shim is an Elk Grove resident of four years and a Marine Corps Officer of 15 years. He competed on Jeopardy! back in August of this year, and the episode aired this past Friday on ABC. Shim won second place and walked away with $2,000. Second place winners typically win $2,000 and third place winners win $1,000. First place winners win the amount of money they accumulated during their win.
Regardless of the cash prize, Shim made his family and the Elk Grove community proud as he wore his prestigious Marine Corps Reserve uniform on the show and answered tough questions ever so eloquently. Shim has watched Jeopardy! since he was a child and dreamed of competing on this particular game show, one that tests a wide variety of one’s trivia knowledge.
About The Contestant
Chris Shim is no ordinary Elk Grovian. He is a multi-talented and enthusiastic student of life. He is not only a husband and a father, he is a Harvard graduate. Furthermore, he is a U.S. Marine Corps Officer turned licensed attorney, turned current medical student in Elk Grove. He teases his wife that seminary and business school may be next in his future, but then she gives him “the look.”
With a terrific sense of humor, Shim tells the Elk Grove Tribune that he placed third in the student-run 2002 “Miss Harvard” competition. It involved wearing a swimsuit, a clamshell bikini top created by Shim, an evening gown, a traditional Korean hanbok, and a talent show portion where he broke a concrete brick with a Taekwondo turning back-kick. It was all for fun, as Shim was doing it for the sake of a charity that was raising money for education and emergency relief in Kenya, Gambia, China, and Nepal.
Even with Shim’s brilliant accomplishments and bright accolades, he ever so humbly tells the Tribune that anyone who is interested in Jeopardy! should definitely try out. He said if he can do it, anyone can. Jeopardy!, however, is a tough show to compete on, and even tougher to qualify for as a contestant.
About 250,000 people take the online quiz each year to qualify for Jeopardy!. Of these thousands of eager people, about 2,000 people are invited each year to try out. Then, from that pool, 200-300 folks are selected each year to actually appear on the show. Afterward, contestants are each thoroughly screened, investigated, and researched so that the show is represented by excellent and good-standing citizens. Every question in Jeopardy! must be answered with a “What is…” or the answer will not be accepted.
Jeopardy’s Beloved Celebrity Host
Alex Trebek has been the beloved host of Jeopardy! since 1984, and the face of the show for 26 years. Over the years, Mr. Trebek has become a celebrity household name in America. He is one of television’s most endearing, enduring, and iconic figures and he is contracted to host Jeopardy! until 2022. For his work on the hit game show, Trebek has received 31 nominations for the Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Game Show Host, winning the award 7 times.
Taping The Show During Covid
“One of my dreams was to be on Jeopardy! and shake Alex Trebek’s hand,” Shim shared. But due to the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions, contestants could not come within 20 feet of Mr. Trebek. The game show host has been fighting stage 4 pancreatic cancer, and in an effort to keep the star protected, the show is compelled to take extra precautions. Additionally, Shim and the other contestants had to socially distance from each other and could not socialize in the usual green room set aside for the waiting contestants. Furthermore, contestants also had to submit their negative test results prior to showing up at Sony Studios in Culver City, where the show is currently taped.
Concluding Our Interview
It was an honor getting to know Shim during our interview. He is an Elk Grovian who is friendly, caring, kind, and funny. Most interesting of all is his knowledge and understanding of so many different aspects and minute details of life. Indeed, some of the categories that were covered on Jeopardy! were TV Shows, All That Jazz Lingo, Bells, and Happy Hour. His very first question was on DNA. Shim confidently answered, “What is deoxyribonucleic acid?” Shim tells of how he is a stickler for acronyms and his obsession with looking up initials and what they stand for. He jokes, and shares that DNA is actually not an acronym, but is considered initialism because it is an abbreviation consisting of initial letters pronounced separately.
“I felt humbled to be on the show, it’s quite a community of trivia nerds,” Shim shared. He strongly encourages others to at least try out. There is an online quiz anyone can take over the internet in order to be considered for the show and Jeopardy! strongly encourages everyone who is interested to take the quiz.
Congratulations to Chris Shim for living up to your highest potential, for serving our country, and for competing on America’s famous game show Jeopardy!