“When I finished Round 1, I kind of felt I had no chance of coming back, so I took a lot of pressure off myself,” said Parameswaran, 22. “So, I said I’d just play the best game I can. And I guess it ended up working because I finally figured out the buzzer timing – the buzzer is key to making all the difference on the show – I got the Daily Doubles I needed to get, and the rest is history.”
Parameswaran first appeared on “Jeopardy!” April 28, 2021. In spite of a valiant effort in which he tied for the lead going into Final Jeopardy! before missing the final question, he still treasures those memories.
“It was a bit surreal,” he said. “I put up a big effort and to lose it all during Final Jeopardy! was a bit disappointing, but there’s a lot to ‘Jeopardy!’ beyond the actual game. For me, it was just a pleasure to go on the set of and be a part of a show that I’ve watched for so long as a kid. It’s a once in a lifetime experience and only a couple of people ever get to experience that which is awesome. The crew was also so wonderful. And Alex Trebek had recently passed away so there were rotating guest hosts. Anderson Cooper was my host.”
The only son of Rajesh and Lakshmy Parameswaran, Hari fondly recalls growing up watching “Jeopardy!” with his parents every night at dinnertime. In 2016 Rajesh auditioned but did not move forward in the process, which makes Hari grateful to not only have auditioned but be selected to appear on the show – twice. When he returned to the “Jeopardy!” set in August, the taping was made extra special by having Lakshmy support him in the studio audience.
“There was a lot of tension and excitement at the same time,” Lakshmy said. “The three of us have worked hard, especially Hari, to get to this stage, and ‘Jeopardy!’ has made it happen through the second chance. I’m really happy for him. We are also very grateful for the Beavercreek school district.”
“Hari wouldn’t be on ‘Jeopardy!’ if it weren’t for the opportunities Beavercreek offered him,” added Rajesh, who recalls Hari as a very inquisitive child who was an avid reader of books about geography and cars. “His being on ‘Jeopardy!’ is great. We always hoped he would get there. We’re really happy he got the opportunity to be called back for the Second Chance Tournament so he could prove his worth. He’s also very young so we’re really happy he’s done so well.”
Parameswaran says his fascination with trivia can also be attributed to his participation in Beavercreek High School’s Academic Team. In 2019 he was notably named National History Bowl Player of the Year and also served as a valedictorian.
“I have a love for learning about the world as a whole,” he explained. “‘Jeopardy!’ asks you about anything and everything you can name – TV, movies, music, art, history, literature, sports – and the pleasure of learning something new about the world every day or every time you go to a trivia competition keeps me interested in various (subjects).”
Parameswaran attended the Georgia Institute of Technology, graduating in December 2022 with his B.S. in Electrical Engineering. He resides in Cupertino, California, where he works as a hardware engineer.
Looking ahead to the Champions Wildcard round, he hopes to tap into the same calm, cool and collected mindset that made him a champion.
“I used my second chance to really enjoy it,” Parameswaran said. “I took a more relaxed stance and reminded myself to be grateful. There were definitely nerves but even when you’re on the stage actually playing, you don’t think about your nerves. You’re just thinking about playing the game and getting ready to answer the next question. This was a valuable experience. It reinforced the idea of perseverance and that I should never count myself out. I should always maintain a positive attitude.”