February 14th, 2013
03:45 PM ET

Teen gives greatest 'Jeopardy!' question ever

A little luck brought Leonard Cooper to the finals of the 2013 "Jeopardy! Teen Tournament," and a lot of confidence caused his big win to go viral.

The Arkansas high school senior clinched the grand prize with what's been dubbed by some as the greatest Final Jeopardy! question ever. Click on the above video to see the answer, and Leonard's response.

While some people have praised Leonard for his sense of humor, others have scolded him for not getting his math right. A select few have even suggested that Leonard could have given host Alex Trebek a laugh by drawing a reminder to a 1983 game show pilot he made for NBC.

So how did it all go down?

He finished second in his semifinal match, but earned a spot in this week's final when the three contestants in the previous semifinal managed to finish the game with no money in the bank.

He held his own in the first game of the two-game final, but finished a distant third when he missed the Final Jeopardy! query on "The Grapes of Wrath." However, he roared back in the second game, doubling his $18,000 tally on a late Daily Double.

Heading into Final Jeopardy!, Leonard had $37,000 in his second-day bank, compared to $14,400 for Georgia freshman Nilal Sarda (who beat Leonard in the semifinals) and $8,800 for Kentucky senior Barrett Block.

When all was said and done, Leonard had a two-day total of $40,000, and earned the $75,000 grand prize. But he would've have egg on his face if Nilal, who entered Final Jeopardy! with $14,400 in his second-day bank, had answered correctly.

Nevertheless, Nilal went home with $26,400 and Barrett, the only one to answer correctly, took home $35,600 for his efforts.

What do you think of Leonard's gutsy question?  Was he too confident, or was it just a case of youthful indiscretion?

Post by:
Filed under: television • TV recaps

soundoff (110 Responses)
  1. She doesn't know what she is doing...

    She is way too controlled....I will never live like that person does ever.

    August 6, 2013 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Me

    I actually have more of a problem with the female journalist – both an adult and a professional – saying "75,000 grand". It's "75,000 dollars" or "75 grand". "75,000 grand" is actually 75,000,000.

    August 6, 2013 at 8:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Michael B

      Clearly your reading comprehension went out the window. It says "$75,000 grand prize". GRAND PRIZE. this would read to a normal person: "seventy five thousand dollar grand prize". DUH.

      August 6, 2013 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • serenacasey

      "Me" is talking about what Soledad said, not what was written in the article. She clearly said "75 thousand grand."

      August 6, 2013 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jealous and Cold

      Not my style in the least

      August 6, 2013 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
  3. What a waste of blogging.....

    good night

    March 14, 2013 at 9:24 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Thank you cnn...

    have a good night all...

    March 14, 2013 at 9:21 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Don Osmond

    your can file suit for a hack right?

    March 14, 2013 at 9:19 pm | Report abuse |
  6. This is not the same original as the one we have.

    just call cnn for the their version thanks!

    March 14, 2013 at 9:11 pm | Report abuse |
  7. I dont want to watch the damn video just to get the kids response

    Why are journalists getting so lazy?

    March 11, 2013 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Tiny Tim

    This was cute, a smart-ass remark, but far from the best answer ever. My vote goes to Ken Jennings, who, when faced with the answer "A person of low morals, or a garden tool", responded "What is a ho?". The expected question, of course, was "What is a rake" but even though he obviously knew the right answer, he couldn't resist the incredibly clever pun, even at the expense of his wallet! Now *that's* my vote for the best Jeopardy answer ever!!!!!

    March 6, 2013 at 10:31 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Smash Jay

    Some people here are so mad that this kid is black and are so ready to tear him down because of it. It's kind of sad.

    Others probably have no racial animus, they're just smart people who are mad at the world and have to prove that this kid a) isn't "that" smart or b) should've known the actual answer. Also sad.

    March 5, 2013 at 8:31 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Frank

    I don't know... answering a Jeopardy question with "Install The Latest Version of Adobe Flash Player" seems kind of dumb.

    February 27, 2013 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
  11. the call last night that was overheard

    was not directed to anyone...

    February 24, 2013 at 5:52 am | Report abuse |
  12. Ned Noodeman

    Is that Leon Sandcastle?

    February 24, 2013 at 3:25 am | Report abuse |
  13. polkovnik

    What a stupid and senseless video. Now we're applauding a contestant who won despite not knowing the question to a slam-dunk answer - much easier than the usual final jeopardy question. At least the winner knew it was about D-Day.
    Please tell me why CNN is celebrating failure overcome by luck. "Greatest final question ever"? I think not. - I liked the kid too, but not CNN's take on it.

    February 23, 2013 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • DSS

      You need to relax – he's a kid – you don't like CNN, you don't like the kid, I don't like you, and I'm sure you don't have many friends, do you?

      February 24, 2013 at 11:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alien Dave

      Factually, I believe Polkovnik and Bill are quite close.

      March 5, 2013 at 6:38 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Bill

    Here is the really funny part. General Eisenhower was actually in England when the Invasion began. Therefore the answer "Some guy in Normandy" is factually incorrect. Mr. Cooper should not have won. It is even sadder that no one knew the answer.

    February 22, 2013 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • vbscript2

      Bill, they didn't count his answer as correct. He won because he bet nothing and already had more than the other players, who also missed the question.

      February 22, 2013 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Chris

    Psh... this is nothing. Awhile back there was a contestant on Who Wants to be a Millionaire who made it all the way to the million dollar question without using a single lifeline. He gets to the final question and knows the answer but ends up using the "phone a friend" to call his dad. He doesn't need the help but just uses the phone call to tell his dad that he just won a million bucks! Now THAT was epic!

    February 20, 2013 at 9:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nate

      @Chris: You also forgot to remind everyone that the 1-million winning question then was – What is state the language of Brasil? And those 'smart' contestants before the winner answered Spanish and Brasilian. Of course, he answered Portuguese and got the money. It is a shame that people know nothing about not so small and distant countries. The wiinner was almost falling of the chair when he was giving interview to CNN then. He was about to say – The question was rid[iculously simple] but interrupted by CNN interviewer swerved and changed the phrase to something less embarassing to the show organizers.

      March 7, 2013 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Christine

      Please ignore "Nate" the question had nothing to do with Brazil. That was the very first "Who wants to be a millionaire" Million dollar winner in 1999, and the question was:

      Which of these U.S. Presidents appeared on the television series "Laugh-In"?
      • A: Lyndon Johnson • B: Richard Nixon
      • C: Jimmy Carter • D: Gerald Ford

      and yes, he called his dad and everyone was shocked. I remember all this and I was only 14 at the time.

      March 7, 2013 at 10:46 pm | Report abuse |
  16. JJ

    So, what his question was??
    I dont have speakers on my comp...

    February 20, 2013 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
  17. jeff

    That was stupid

    February 20, 2013 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Thomas


    It is great that you have the video, but in the artlcle you could not simply list the answer/question?

    Not everyone can run the video.

    February 20, 2013 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Anthony Toledo

      ”Who is some guy in Normandy, but I just won $75,000!”

      February 22, 2013 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
  19. Mike Conrad

    I like Jimi Hendrix and all, but it would have been better if he had known the answer.

    February 19, 2013 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
  20. Happy for others

    Good for him. Intelligence, confidence and a sense of humor. Those are the qualities I wish for my own young children. I wish him well.

    February 19, 2013 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
  21. Don Merchant

    Not impressed at all! Doesn't take rocket science to have figured the total amount one would need to win based on a the 2 day total and knowing your opponents amounts. Again the media trying to make a no name individual famous over nothing, yet ignoring the average Joe or Jane who has done something much more beneficial for the world such as heroism, research, or some kind of remarkable invention. Thumbs down! Absolutely not impressed in any way shape or form. It would of been more impressive if he knew the answer. Now what another Snookie in the making! They get to live a life of luxury based on their immoral ways of life heightened by media attention. Enough is enough when praises people for stupid things when so many try so hard and get no credit at all!

    February 18, 2013 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • NyteShayde

      Would you like a ladder to get off that high horse?

      He's kid. Lighten up.

      February 18, 2013 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Simon

      Lighten up man!!!

      February 18, 2013 at 8:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • August

      Did you watch the game? The kid won because he made a gutsy move by betting a true double jeopardy and answering the question correctly which doubled his money from $18000 to $36,000. With that much money he won the game although he did not answer correctly in the final round.

      It is news because it is a very rare thing that someone to become a champion coming from behind by doing a very gutsy move.

      It showed that, in addition to being a very intelligent, the kid is a risk taker. For only a high school senior, he seems to have accomplished many things. He has a good sense of humor and does not seem to take himself seriously. All are good qualities! I bet he will be highly successful in life. Wish him the best!

      February 20, 2013 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • gutsy move...

      yea maybe your right-he did make that gutsy move....was it the left or right of the stage?

      February 20, 2013 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe_Baby

      I don't think I like you, Don Merchant.

      February 22, 2013 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kody

      It would have been more impressive implies that you were impressed to some degree but could have been more impressed had the situation been slightly different; however, you claim to be completely unperturbed (not impressed).

      I am very confused.

      p.s. His answer, though slightly mathematically misguided, was, in fact, very funny.

      March 14, 2013 at 8:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kody

      This was supposed to precure my previous post but something went wrong.

      Quote from Don:

      "Thumbs down! Absolutely not impressed in any way shape or form. It would of been more impressive if he knew the answer."

      March 14, 2013 at 8:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kody

      ...to be a precursor of...

      I will get it right one of these times..

      March 14, 2013 at 8:59 pm | Report abuse |
  22. That's what she said

    This is just dumb. Some guy from Normandy...should be ashamed he didn't know it was Ike.

    February 18, 2013 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
  23. James

    I really don't want to have to watch a commercial just to watch a 2 minute video – this kind of crap gets old cnn.

    February 18, 2013 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
    • katty wompus

      Not just CNN. It's become a universal annoyance. I mute them.

      March 11, 2013 at 10:18 am | Report abuse |
  24. FayKname

    Not to take away from this guys awesome answer but I'm sure I saw this same thing done on Jeopardy years ago by another contestant.

    February 18, 2013 at 3:42 am | Report abuse |
  25. cleareye1

    Excessive confidence can really payoff occasionally. The 18k bet was the gutsiest move I've seen on Jeopardy.

    February 17, 2013 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  26. paralaxvu

    I'm with the answer from "i hate to nit pick."

    February 17, 2013 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  27. Dreamboat

    when i see my dreamboat all calms down...

    February 17, 2013 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
  28. Melting Heart

    i saw my fantasy dreamboat this morning...wow.

    February 17, 2013 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
  29. Kingsley Gregory

    You did well my boy. CONGRATULATIONS. You have a Very Bright Future.

    February 17, 2013 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Don Merchant

      Be careful saying "boy" you might have a deformation lawsuit on your hands. Isn't that what this world has come to, easy money for misreading or misunderstanding the comment and feeling they were involved in a racist slur.

      February 18, 2013 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • NyteShayde

      Deformation suit?? LOLOLOLOL. That would be defamation, genius and you can't file a suit for defamation for what YOU perceive as a racist slur, Mr. Racist.

      February 18, 2013 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • guido

      nice one, nyte. don feels like an idiot now. total facial.

      February 18, 2013 at 7:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kody

      Don, this is the second unintelligible post so far. If I keep reading will I find more??

      March 14, 2013 at 9:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Good Night Kody


      March 14, 2013 at 9:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kody

      What am I supposed to enjoy!?! The suspense is going to kill me!

      March 14, 2013 at 9:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • repeated information

      good night

      March 14, 2013 at 9:30 pm | Report abuse |
  30. Vito M.

    she went for it...thanks.

    February 17, 2013 at 8:45 am | Report abuse |


    February 16, 2013 at 7:58 am | Report abuse |
  32. gotcha miss joel

    another one in the folder please.. thanks

    February 16, 2013 at 7:57 am | Report abuse |
  33. Who finds this game show challenging

    do you....i find it a total bore nowadays...i guess people who are home 24 hours a day doing nothing works for them.

    February 16, 2013 at 7:56 am | Report abuse |
  34. dumb

    who watches this crap every night

    February 16, 2013 at 7:55 am | Report abuse |
  35. That's what she gets for the billy joel hack

    February 16, 2013 at 7:49 am | Report abuse |
  36. Joel

    What's truly sad & amazing is that they didn't know the answer. There are two days from WWII that everyone ought to be able to remember: Dec 7 (Pearl Harbor) and June 6 (D-Day). Perhaps less time on video games and a little attention in History class is called for.

    February 16, 2013 at 7:47 am | Report abuse |
    • your comment is ridiculous

      what are you talking about

      February 16, 2013 at 7:51 am | Report abuse |
    • filthyhat

      what does she do all day?

      February 16, 2013 at 7:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Kary

      How is the comment by Joel ridiculous? This just proves how dumbed down the US has become.

      February 17, 2013 at 8:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Kody

      He clearly knew that June 6th 1944 was D-day ,or he would not have referenced Normandy. Not knowing the quote's orator is excusable considering D-day is still the largest modern military amphibious assault to this day. The planning and preparation of D-day would have involved numerous big-name generals, admirals and politicians.

      March 14, 2013 at 9:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • The blog ariticle is different then the one i have...

      Good Night...

      March 14, 2013 at 9:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kody

      Who said "Rangers, Lead The Way!" on June 6th 1944?

      If you can not answer this question–without looking it up–then you are ignorant and did not pay attention in history class.

      March 14, 2013 at 9:13 pm | Report abuse |
  37. Kim

    I do not think it's youthful indiscretion. I don't think it's indiscretion at all. I think he's awesome. Love it. Love him.

    February 15, 2013 at 11:40 pm | Report abuse |
  38. Lost

    He is very cute.

    February 15, 2013 at 7:39 pm | Report abuse |
  39. Lynn

    How cute that his name is "Leonard" and "Cooper"...how very "shades of Big Bang Theory..."

    February 15, 2013 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
  40. grouchoman

    Watched the show. Realized right away that he could have lost. Did NOT think it was "the greatest Jeopardy question ever" but liked kid anyway. You get to know them a little bit watching them on a few shows. He is smart, funny, I love the hair and because he said Jimi Hendrix inspired him. Jimi was my favorite musician when I was about the same age. It was on one of the earlier shows where smart kids did dumb things. That was the show where they all wagered everything and all lost. It was especially dumb for the kid in first place. All he had to do was wager enough that if he got it right no one else could have caught him if they got it right and in this case, since they all missed it, he would have still won. So I feel bad for that kid.

    February 15, 2013 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
  41. JamesInPA

    Man, some people have no sense of humor. The kid was excited that he won and wanted to get a laugh from his family and friends. He's a teenager that just won $75,000. He looks like he might naturally be a comedian. That wouldn't be a surprise since its pretty common for very intelligent people to be a little "off" to everyone else.

    February 15, 2013 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • I hate to nit pick

      But did he actually get the question correct? Think about it, with the "Question" involving Ike making a statement to the troops in, or going shortly to Normandy, Ike would not have been in Normandy. So saying some guy in Normandy as funny as it is, is actually incorrect.

      February 16, 2013 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Plub

      It would have been especially funny if the kid in second place got the question right and ended up beating him.

      February 23, 2013 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kody

      As a joke, which clearly was the intention, it achieved its goal; therefore, I think that even though it was technically incorrect, it still worked.

      March 14, 2013 at 9:19 pm | Report abuse |
  42. Lunchtime Hokeys

    picture this–

    February 15, 2013 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
  43. Zach

    Why can't you just tell me what he did so I don't have to watch the stupid video? I can't watch videos at my work computer.

    February 15, 2013 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
  44. Chucklehead

    This is ridiculous. Even though the kid won, he's still a buffoon. If he was a skinny white kid, everyone would be slamming him for being stupid.

    February 15, 2013 at 9:00 am | Report abuse |
  45. Laurence Charles Ringo

    I'm with Jeff on this one;Wow!There's somewhere in the U.S.that's still stuck in the'70's(LOL!)-That"Jackson5"'fro is way cool,homeboy!

    February 15, 2013 at 8:25 am | Report abuse |
  46. Nope.

    just throw her back in the ocean...thanks.

    February 15, 2013 at 7:41 am | Report abuse |
  47. Rob Brob

    Youthful indiscretion for sure

    February 15, 2013 at 7:35 am | Report abuse |
  48. male stroopers...makes sense to me

    ever hear of it–better view of the kids–goodbye pink–the jersey shore in me is ready for fun.....
    what are you doing tonight

    February 14, 2013 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
  49. Boo

    This article made absolutely NO SENSE.

    February 14, 2013 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • yahoogoogle

      I agree!

      February 14, 2013 at 8:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Elaine

      I'm so glad I'm not the only one that noticed. Had I not of seen it elsewhere last night I would have no idea what happened.

      February 15, 2013 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
  50. good for you...

    i'm dancing with "tarzan" in a few hours–hahahaha

    February 14, 2013 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  51. Monkasaurus

    Us monkasauruses are pretty rare. You just don't see us every day.

    February 14, 2013 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
  52. Sarah

    Tomorrow's Friday. Maybe it will be a good one for everyone. I've got relatives visiting Saturday so have to clean house alots and also get them some gifts. Booooo.

    February 14, 2013 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
  53. guy stroppers... vday outing....

    fine a place....toooooooo funny!!!!!!

    February 14, 2013 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
  54. Sarah

    I'm thinking I might go home and take a nap. But not for a while.

    February 14, 2013 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
  55. Mark

    My dang arm hurts and I got another sinus headache. It's tough being in middle school.

    February 14, 2013 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • i'm feeling disgusting this evening...

      let's go for it.... (your don't know the little dark side)–don't mention the name

      February 14, 2013 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
  56. braless before heading out...

    take pink off.....hahahaha

    February 14, 2013 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  57. that's exactly what she looks likes

    there you have it folks...

    February 14, 2013 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  58. Dan

    It's nice when people look like the 1970's and before. That's when people looked normal – and nice.

    February 14, 2013 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
  59. Jeff

    I think he looks cool. Like a black guy from the 1970s. I like his Afro. It's neat !

    February 14, 2013 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |

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