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'Jeopardy' ace runs streak to 4

April 03, 2001

'Jeopardy' ace runs streak to 4



By JULIE E. GREENE

julieg@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Martinsburg resident Bob Fleenor stunned his audience and himself when he won his fourth consecutive "Jeopardy!" game Monday night.

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"This is the game that, in my heart, I lost," said Fleenor, whose four-day total is $38,500.

Having secured victory going into the Final Jeopardy round during the previous two contests, Fleenor entered the final round in second place on Monday night.

He guessed wrong to the clue, "The English names of this god's 2 companions are Panic & Fear."

But so did Jeff Granger, who went into the final round with $6,400 and a $500 lead over Fleenor.

Granger misunderstood the clue and responded "Who are Phobos and Diemos."

The correct response was "Who is Mars?"

Granger bet $5,500, while Fleenor lost $500 on the final question.

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That left Granger with $900 and Fleenor with $5,400 and the victory.

"I felt so sorry for Jeff," said Fleenor, 49, an editor for The Herald-Mail in Hagerstown.

"I thought Jeff was going to get it right and he knew the answer, he just misread the clue," Fleenor said.

So far, Fleenor has about $21,560 in winnings after California, West Virginia and federal taxes.

If Fleenor wins tonight, he will secure a spot in the "Tournament of Champions" on the nationally televised trivia game show.

A five-time winner also wins a vehicle or two - a fact that made Fleenor nervous going into his fourth game.

Just before filming started a crewman asked him what kind of car he wanted so they could prepare the commercial for Fleenor's fifth game, in case he won.

"I'm playing one game at a time here. I'm not even thinking of the possibility. So many champions lose about this point," Fleenor said.

His nerves were bolstered when he saw the category "Pigskin Pix" in the first round. The category played to two of his strengths - sports and movies.

He responded correctly to four of five clues in the category and later swept the "U.S. 'O' Tour" category.

The " 'O' Tour" clues were all about geography, which Fleenor considers a weak area for him.

He also considers Greek and Roman mythology a weakness, which is why he tried to brush up on the topic the morning of the taping.

"(I) was hoping something would stick, but it didn't," Fleenor said.

Fleenor's wife, Carolyn, said she thought it was over when she saw the Final Jeopardy! category was "Roman and Greek Mythology."

Another twist of fate came when Fleenor, trailing Granger by $500 with one clue left on the Double Jeopardy! board, couldn't come up with the name of the ice hockey comedy "Slap Shot" in time to ring in.

As it turned out, it benefited him.

Fleenor said if he had held the lead going into "Final Jeopardy!", he would have bet a large amount to try to hold off the second-place contestant - and he would have lost the game.

Instead Granger tried to hold Fleenor off, and Fleenor bet conservatively to come away victorious.

"Funny how things work out," said Carolyn Fleenor.

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