Canada's First 'Jeopardy!' Contestant In 2 Years Shares How He Perfected His Buzzer Reflexes

Practice makes perfect!

Calgary Staff Writer
Ujal Thakor standing with Jeopardy! host Ken Jennings on set. Right: Ujal Thakor on set.

Ujal Thakor standing with Jeopardy! host Ken Jennings on set. Right: Ujal Thakor on set.

A Calgary man has shared how he practiced his buzzer skills ahead of his appearance as the first Canadian to take part in Jeopardy! in two years.

Ujal Thakor, a Director of Strategy for FYidoctors in Calgary, was representing the great white north, and being the first Canadian to compete on the show in a while must add a whole lot of pressure to the mix.

In a tweet, Thakor said it had taken a “lifetime of random fact retention, tests and auditions, and support from incredible people” to achieve his “lifelong goal”.

Speaking to Global News, Thakor revealed just how much time and effort went into preparing for the show which aired on March 2. It included buying around 30 textbooks to cover any weak spots in his knowledge.

“U.S. presidents, geography, Shakespeare, Greek mythology. Things that come up often enough that they are almost guaranteed to be on your game,” Thakor said.

He also made sure to practice his reflexes to be able to hit the all-important buzzer first.

He said: “The magic number is around 200 milliseconds. The buzzer time between the time the lights come on the board that allows you to ring in and actually buzzing. There’s a good chance the other two contestants also know the answer so it’s a race against that.

“I really focused on that and improved my time from about 0.3 to 0.2 seconds, which is a world of difference in that.”

Jeopardy! contestant from Calgary on the show

On the show, host Mike Richards poked fun at Thakor's story about his helicopter trip in Hawaii, where he realized there were no doors on the aircraft.

The host replied: "I think I would pay extra for a helicopter with doors!"

Charlie Hart
Calgary Staff Writer
Charlie Hart is a Staff Writer for Narcity Canada's Western Desk focused on Alberta news and is based in Calgary, Alberta.