By: Will Blase
In the wake of Alex Trebek’s passing, Jeopardy! has been rotating between guest hosts, ranging from Green Bay Packer’s quarterback Aaron Rodgers to fan-favorite Levar Burton, who is set to host for a week in July.
A simple search of ‘track and field’ on J! Archive, a fan-made tool that tracks nearly every Jeopardy! Question ever aired, yields 147 results. Three of those results are final Jeopardy! questions. Only 147 questions? There are over 415,000 questions that have been fielded on Jeopardy!. A little more running representation couldn’t hurt, huh? Yet, the average Jeopardy! viewer and contestant aren’t actively watching track and field. Sure, they’ll tune into the Olympics, look for their nation’s flag and try to keep their eyes on the lane, but the passion, the library of names, standards and distance isn’t there. It never will be.
But maybe, just maybe, the right guest host could start a renaissance in track and field viewership. Let’s take a look at a few pros, past and present, that would be exceptional Jeopardy! hosts.
The Man with the Golden Shoes:
Four-time Olympic Gold Medalist Michael Johnson. That’s right. American’s watched in awe as Johnson took gold in the 200m and 400m at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games and I have a hunch that the same reverence for Johnson would continue if his name was announced as a guest host for Jeopardy!. Johnson has provided race commentary, produced a documentary and opened the Michael Johnson Performance center for youth runners in 2007, leaving no doubt that he’s qualified to host a show at the caliber of Jeopardy!. Give the Man with the Golden Shoes a chance. I think he’ll surprise us all.
Eat your Merberries:
There’s no rust to bust off of Kyle Merber’s deep understanding of running and running culture. Merber does an incredible job of keeping his followers entertained and informed across all forms of social media. Seriously, go check out his Twitter. The guy is witty, gut-bustingly hilarious and genuine, three traits you’d hope to find in a game-show host. Merber announced his “retirement” in 2020, making the ex Hoka One One runner a prime candidate for a Jeopardy! paycheck and with his knowledge, charisma and desire to grow the sport, there is no doubt in my mind that Kyle Merber would make a damn good host. Bring in Chris Chavez for all of the Jeopardy! video questions and I think we’ve got ourselves a new dynasty in the works. You can’t change my mind.
The 33-year drought was broken. Des Linder rounded the corner on Boylston Street and made history as the first American woman to win the Boston Marathon since 1985. America was watching… the world was watching. But will they be watching when Linden is guest hosting Jeopardy!? Ok, ok. Des isn’t retired yet, but that doesn’t change the fact that I genuinely believe she’d make for a fantastic host of Jeopardy!. I think that the viewership Des would bring in, combined with her passion for running, could make huge waves in the world of track and field, XC, ultra running and road running.
Don’t agree with my takes? Let us know in the comments below! We’d love to hear your thoughts on which retired pro would make the ultimate Jeopardy! guest host!