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Jeopardy winner Jake Marini

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Ardmore’s Jake Marini wasn’t really sure why she was worthy of coverage in Main Line Today. But as we reminded her, it’s not every day a Main Liner appears on Jeopardy (though, for the record, a Wynnewood mom/attorney was a contestant several years ago). Plus, we wanted Marini to admit publicly that she practiced for the show by standing in front of taped Jeopardy episodes with a pen as her clicker. Granted, there have been numerous other contestants who’ve won bigger and lasted longer. But the show on which Marini won the most money—$18,300— did air on her birthday, which is a pretty cool coincidence.

MLT: What are some of your unique talents that fit the profile of a Jeopardy champion?
JM:
I’m into random bits of trivia, and I have a really good memory for facts, figures and license plate numbers. And I know how to dial a phone really fast. I had a summer job working for a telephone manufacturer where I tested keypads on new phones. I’ve won dozens, maybe hundreds, of radio contests that way. Just don’t ask me what I ate for dinner last night. I have no short-term memory.

MLT: How did you train your brain?
JM:
I learned the presidents in order from Washington to Dubya 2. I learned the flags of the world and focused in on areas where I’m not very strong, like astronomy and opera. As it turns out, none of that came up, but I can tell you about some really cool flags.

MLT: Were there any moments of panic?
JM:
More like brain freeze. Things I knew cold flew right out of my head. And my palms were sweating the entire time. I wiped them on my pants during every break.

MLT: What was going on underneath your seemingly composed exterior?
JM:
I laugh when I’m nervous, so it probably looked like I was enjoying myself when I was actually dying inside. But I definitely had my game face on. I’ve run events for 20 years; I just told myself I was at work, and I was as cool as I could be.

MLT: Did it feel ominous or fortuitous to have your appearance air on your birthday?
JM:
Definitely fortuitous—and fantastic. We taped the show back in November, so I knew there was a high likelihood that it would be on March 6. When you think about it, though, it’s a little bizarre. Who would’ve thought the stars would align like that?

MLT: What was the first thing you did with your winnings?
JM:
I bought a pretty scarf I’d seen at a shop on Walnut Street. It wasn’t even that expensive, but it still seemed extravagant. We’re also renovating our bathroom. It’s not sexy, but really necessary.

MLT: How does this rate on the life experiences meter?
JM:
It’s in the top three best events of my life. The first is the day I got married. And the second, the day I met Pete Townshend (of The Who).

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