New 'Jeopardy!' Champ Christine Whelchel Reveals She Endured Cancer Battle During Auditions

New Jeopardy! champ Christine Whelchel has revealed that she battled breast cancer throughout the time that she tried out to be on the show.

During Wednesday night's episode of the hugely popular syndicated quiz show, the piano teacher and church organist from Spring Hill, Tennessee, spoke with host Ken Jennings about the health woes she has since overcome.

Detailing her journey, Whelchel said: "I was diagnosed in March of 2021, and one of the first things I did a couple of weeks after being diagnosed was take the Jeopardy! test. And I ended up getting my audition the night before my surgery in May."

"Well, evidently the audition went well," said Jennings, who is the most successful Jeopardy! contestant of all time. "You're here. And I hope the surgery [went well] too."

"Everything else went well and I'm cancer-free as of right now," Whelchel responded, prompting applause from the audience as Jennings congratulated her.

A clip of the conversation was shared on the official Jeopardy! Twitter account, alongside the caption: "Cancer-free and now on Jeopardy! Congratulations, Christine."

Whelchel's road to victory on the show proved decidedly dramatic, as she found herself locked in a rare tiebreaker with two-day champ Henry Rozycki.

During the Final jeopardy round, in the category "Play Characters", the contestants were faced with the clue: "A 1949 review noted the 'wrong formulas for success' of this character & 'fatal misconceptions about his place in the scheme of things.'"

All three contestants correctly responded "Willy Loman," with third-placed Patrick Byrnett wagering his entire $8,800 total to end up with $17,600.

Also doubling his cash earnings, physician and professor Rozycki boosted his final score to $34,000, leaving it to Whelchel to reveal whether she had wagered enough of her $19,000 to pull herself over the finish line.

As Jennings pointed out, Whelchel needed to end up with just $1 more than Rozycki to emerge the victor. However, she bet $15,000, also bringing her total up to $34,000.

In a rare move for the show, Jennings announced that the two would have to face off once again in a tiebreaker, revealing that the first player to buzz in with the correct response would be the day's champion.

Under the category "Flowers", Jennings read out the clue: "After its inclusion in a 1915 poem, this red flower became a symbol of fallen World War I soldiers."

Whelchel beat Rozycki to the buzzer to correctly respond "Poppy," prompting Jennings to announce: "Christine, you are our new Jeopardy! champion! Cancer-free and $34,000 richer. Congratulations to you. What a victory!"

New Jeopardy! champ Whelchel will be seen returning to defend her title on Thursday night's episode of the show.

"Jeopardy!" champ Christine Whelchel
New "Jeopardy!" champ Christine Whelchel revealed during Wednesday night's episode that she endured and overcame a breast cancer battle throughout the time she tried out for the show. Jeopardy!/YouTube