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Jeopardy! contestants stumped by running question

We'll take "what is the 1,500 metre" for $100,000

Most of the time the contestants on Jeopardy! leave us in awe of their seemingly endless knowledge of random facts, which is why there is no better feeling than knowing an answer that none of them gets right. In last night’s episode (with Ken Jennings as the new interim host in place of the late Alex Trebek), runners everywhere finally had their moment when all three contestants on the show demonstrated their extreme lack of knowledge of track and field (and well, distances in general). We know our sport is more niche than football or hockey, but this was just embarrassing.

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The question that made runners everywhere shake their heads was:

Hicham El Guerrouj holds the world records in the mile and this metric track distance that’s just a bit shorter.”

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The answer is (obviously) the 1,500m, but before we get into the contestants’ hilariously bad answers, let us first say that we understand Americans don’t use the metric system, so maybe that’s where some of the confusion came from. Still, take a minute to consider they got questions like this right:

“Something ridiculously small such as an apartment may be compared to this sticky item, which is often 0.87 x 0.98 inches.”

Seriously?!

(The answer was a postage stamp.)

OK, so on to the answers. It’s obvious that none of these contestants have any running friends, because they’ve clearly never had to sit and listen as we regale them with our running stories, or talk their ear off about track stats. Or they did, but they tuned us out, which, if we’re being honest with ourselves, is kind of fair.

Instead of listing their answers in order, we’ve decided instead to rank them from bad, to worse, to worst:

Liz Fitting’s answer: “what is the 500 metre?”

This answer was at least in the realm of possible track distances (there is, after all, a 600m indoors) so we’ll cut her a bit of slack. But in what world is 500 metres “a bit shorter” than a mile? It’s less than half the distance! Clearly she’s never experienced the pain of being 1K away from a finish line.

Lucy Ricketts’ answer: “what is the 10 metre?”

This answer is just plain ridiculous. The 10 metre? Is she going to track meets for hamsters? (Actually that might be kind of fun to watch.)

Brett Moore’s answer: “what is the 10,000 metre?”

Did he panic and just blurt out the first thing that came to his head? It’s possible. Is this another case of confusion over the use of the metric system? Maybe. Or maybe poor Brett has been claiming he can run an eight-minute 10K his whole life because he was legitimately confused.

So there you have it, runners of the world — when you’re talking to all your friends about your running accomplishments, you can add this one into the rotation. Now we’re going to go find out if hamster Olympics are a real thing…

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