One comment that I have heard quite often in the past week is that Canadians dominate on Jeopardy; thus, the Americans are afraid of being shown up. I thus decided to take a look at the data to see if that fun Canadian theory actually plays out.
Looking At The Data
I’ve gone back to the beginning of Season 21, and searched J! Archive for “Canada”. This brings up every contestant who elected to represent Canada as a contestant, either as a “from” or “originally from”. There are obviously some other expats who were missed, but they also generally don’t get noticed by the general populace as it stands. Season 21 is a convenient starting point, as the Archive has complete information from that point forward, and it also was the beginning of the “challengers get significantly more rehearsal time” era of the show. Since then, a returning champion averages very close to a 50% win percentage (calculations will therefore tell you that a challenger has a 25% chance of winning a game, and the average champion’s run is exactly 2 victories.) As you can see below, while Canadians have had a signficant dry spell as of late, over the past eleven years and change, Canadians have had a reasonably good record on the program, at least when starting out.
What does this mean?
Well, what it means is that while Canadians are better-than-average when it comes to actually winning on the show, Canadians certainly seem to have a slightly-below-average record in stringing together a ToC-level run. (If you consider generally 400 contestants playing for 13 ToC slots, the chances of there being 2 or fewer representatives in an average selection of 90 contestants come in at about 40%; Canada’s only ToC representatives in this time frame have been Doug Hicton and Andrew Haringer).
In conclusion: I’d hardly call that “domination”. Sorry, guys, but the Americans just aren’t being shown up very much by us.