November 24, 2014

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Olmsted Falls man finally gets the call for ‘Jeopardy’

OLMSTED FALLS — While some boys dream of making it to the NBA or NFL, one area boy had a different dream.

Coury

He wanted to be on “Jeopardy.”

From the time he was 10 years old and he discovered there was a kids’ tournament, it became Jim Coury’s mission to get on the show.

He tried out for the kids’ tournament, but wasn’t selected.

He tried out again for the teen tournament, but again wasn’t selected.

So, when he tried out for the college tournament, he was hopeful, but he didn’t necessarily expect anything.

“I didn’t even really know how to react at first,” Coury said of finding out he would appear on the show. “I was overwhelmed. I was just trying to keep it together on the phone with them. When I got off, I just  went through the roof.”

The 2011 Olmsted Falls High School graduate had been prepping for this moment most of his life.

Along with playing trivia games ever since he was a child, Coury was captain of the Olmsted Falls Academic Team for three years, winning numerous titles and championships.

“He’s extremely hard working,” said Rhonna Smith, coach of the Olmsted Falls High School Academic Team. “He’s very competitive, but in a good way. He wanted to compete and he wanted to work hard, so he convinced others to get on board and work hard as well.”

Smith, who said she considers Coury to be like a grandson to her, traveled to Los Angeles for the taping of the show. But she wasn’t the only one.

Coury’s parents, Michael and Diane, his twin brother, Mike, his sister, Meg, and his aunt, Cathy Cherney, all accompanied him.

“It was nice having them there,” Coury said. “It helped take my mind off of it beforehand because we went sightseeing the day before, and at the studio it was nice having them cheer me on.”

Coury admits he was pretty nervous at first when they were shooting the introduction for the show and taping the opening segment.

“I was a lot more focused when we started playing the game and answering questions,” he said. “It was a lot less nerve-wracking.”

His time with the Academic Team in high school prepared him for this moment.

“It definitely helped me prepare,” Coury said. “It exposed me to a lot of information I wouldn’t have encountered otherwise and taught me so much.”

Coury is best when it comes to history and literature. He admits he isn’t quite as strong when it comes to movies and television.

The Georgetown University sophomore is majoring in international political economy, but he isn’t sure of his future plans.

For now, he and his classmates at Georgetown plan to watch Jeopardy when it airs on May 7.

His family will be watching the show in Olmsted Falls.

Obviously, they already know the outcome since they were there for the taping, but when it was going on, that was a different story. Needless to say, they aren’t allowed to say how he did until after the show airs.

“His brother tried to keep his mother and I calm,” Michael Coury said. “We thought we knew what he knew, so that helped as well.”

No matter the outcome, the Courys are just proud of their son.

“For a parent, to watch him achieve that dream, it was surreal,” Michael Coury said. “Watching one of your kid’s dreams come true is every parents dream.”

The college tournament airs May 6 through May 17.

Contact Christina Jolliffe at 329-7155 or ctnews@chroniclet.com.