David Madden (Jeopardy! contestant)

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David Madden (born June 13, 1981) is an American game show contestant, academic competition organizer, and art historian. He is a former 19-day champion on Jeopardy!, which had previously been the second longest streak in Jeopardy history. Madden is also the founder and executive director of the National History Bee and Bowl, the International History Bee and Bowl, the United States Geography Olympiad, the US Academic Bee and Bowl, the National Science Bee, the National Humanities Bee, the International History Olympiad, and the International Geography Bee.

Early life

During his time at Ridgewood High School[1] in Ridgewood, New Jersey, he competed on his school's Quiz Bowl team, and attended the National Academic Championship, where he was later named to the Hall of Fame, being one of only 19 people named to it in its 25-year history.[2][3]

He led his Ridgewood team to consecutive titles at the Eighth & Ninth Annual Omar Q Beckins Academic Challenge Tournaments, an offshoot of the Westchester Academic Challenge of Knowledge Organization, in 1998 and 1999. He was Omar MVP in 1999, after placing second to Sahir Islam of Somers High School. (Sahir was the 1998 Jeopardy! Teen Tournament Champion). David was inducted into the Omar Q. Beckins Hall of Fame in 1999 (one of only 19 in the twenty-year history of OMAR).[4]


Making his first appearance on the July 5, 2005 episode, Madden continued on a winning streak through September 19 of that year, winning a total of nineteen games and $432,400. His last appearance during non-tournament play was on September 19, 2005, when he was defeated by Victoria Groce, a musician from Decatur, Georgia.[5] During the 2006 Tournament of Champions, Madden won his first-round match[6] (defeating the eventual winner of the Tournament, Michael Falk), but failed to win his second-round match,[7] taking home a consolation prize of $10,000 and bringing his total to $442,400, the seventh-highest, behind Brad Rutter, Ken Jennings, Jerome Vered, Matt Jackson, Julia Collins, and Roger Craig.[2][3]

Madden's streak of 19 wins in regular games was the second-longest on Jeopardy! (after Jennings) until Collins won 20 games in 2014; his dollar winnings in regular games are still the second-highest, after Jennings and slightly ahead of Collins. Madden was invited to take part in 2014's Battle of the Decades Jeopardy! event, but declined to participate due to contractual issues. He has been invited to take part in its 2019 All-Star Games tournament featuring 18 past champions.

Madden had first watched Jeopardy! with a babysitter when he was 11–12 years old. While watching Jeopardy! at that age, Madden would get the correct response to more clues than his babysitter. Madden claims to have studied a great deal in preparation for the show, which helped him with the clues. His parents did not realize Madden was going to be on Jeopardy! until his first game aired.[8]

Work as academic competition organizer

In 2010, he founded the National History Bee and Bowl, two academic quiz competitions for students with a history focus (the Bee is for individual students, the Bowl is for teams). Madden oversees all aspects of NHBB, and has expanded the competitions to include colleges and middle schools in the USA, and high schools in over twenty foreign countries. The competitions outside the USA are known as the International History Bee and Bowl.[8]

In 2012, he organized the National History Bee Middle School Competition, whose National Championships were filmed in May 2012 for broadcast on History.[9]

Also in 2012, Madden founded the US Geography Olympiad, which serves as the qualifying competition for students in the USA who are looking to attend the International Geography Olympiad. At the 2014 International Geography Olympiad, Madden served as head coach for the American team, which included the overall champion student, James Mullen of Cupertino, California.[10]

In 2015, Madden founded the International History Olympiad, which brought 111 students from 14 countries together for its inaugural competition, held at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia.

In 2016, he founded the United States Academic Bee and Bowl, the National Science Bee, and the National Humanities Bee, all of which are currently directed at students in eighth grade and younger. The inaugural National Championships for all of these events was held in Arlington, Virginia, in May 2016.[11]

In 2017, Madden founded the International Geography Bee as a worldwide geography quiz competition. The inaugural IGB World Championships were held in 2018 in Berlin in conjunction with the 3rd International History Olympiad.[12]

Other work

Madden studied at Princeton and Berlin and is a co-author of the 2010 catalogue raisonné of the American artist Richard Anuszkiewicz.[13]

From July 2007 to February 2008 he hiked the length of the east coast of the United States as a fundraiser for the Fisher House Foundation, a charity that provides free accommodations for family members of veterans at American military hospitals.[14]

See also


  1. ^ Scavuzzo, Sam. "'Jeopardy!' Champ Starts History Bowl at RHS". Ridgewood-Glen Rock Patch. Retrieved 1 August 2014. 
  2. ^ a b "Madden '03 wins big on 'Jeopardy'". Daily Princetonian. September 25, 2005. Retrieved October 4, 2010. Until Monday, when Madden lost for the first time in 20 games, the 24-year-old alum held the title of reigning champion. He earned $430,400 in all, second only to Jennings, who earned more than $2.5 million over the course of 74 wins last year. 
  3. ^ a b Strauss, Robert (October 9, 2005). "I'll Take Quiz Kids For $600, Alex". New York Times. Retrieved October 4, 2010. By the time the episode on which he finally lost was broadcast last month, Mr. Madden had won 19 straight games -- second only to Mr. Jennings -- and his winnings came to $432,400. ... Mr. Madden was the captain of the Quiz Bowl team at Ridgewood High, and was on a similar freshman team at Princeton. When he comes home he says he plans to teach high school and perhaps enter politics. But his days as a quiz-show star are probably behind him 
  4. ^ Les Roby, tournament director Omar Q Beckins
  5. ^ Jeopardy!. Season 22. September 19, 2005. Syndication. 
  6. ^ Jeopardy!. Season 22. Episode 4831. September 19, 2005. Syndication. 
  7. ^ Jeopardy!. Season 22. Episode 5002. May 16, 2006. Syndication. 
  8. ^ a b "Champion Updates". Jeopardy!. Archived from the original on August 18, 2014. Retrieved August 1, 2014. 
  9. ^ "The National History Bee". History. Archived from the original on 2012-10-12. 
  10. ^ Noguchi, Sharon (August 28, 2014). "Cupertino Student Wins International Geographic Olympiad". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved September 17, 2014. 
  11. ^ "About the US Academic Bee and Bowl". 
  12. ^ "International Geography Bee World Championships". 
  13. ^ Ursus Books and Prints.
  14. ^ "Jeopardy! Winner Hiking for Families of Wounded and Disabled Veterans". Huffington Post. October 31, 2007. 

External links

  • Madden's personal blog detailing his hike
Preceded by
Ken Jennings
Biggest Jeopardy! winners by season
Succeeded by
Mehrun Etebari

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