JEOPARDY! favorite Ryan Long has left fans buzzing over his glow-up in a new photo.
The Philadelphia-based Uber driver looked unrecognizable compared to when he won $300K, 16 games, and fans’ hearts in 2022.
Ryan, 38, took to Twitter for a rare update earlier this week.
The Jeopardy! champ, who boasts the 10th-longest winning streak ever, looked completely different from when he competed last June.
He wrote: “Just checking in on planet Earth, hope you’re all doing well today. #clean.”
Ryan donned a Superman necklace, black baseball cap and was clean-shaven, ditching his goatee from his contestant days and looking totally slimmed down.
He flashed a peaceful smile and left fans blown away by his winning transformation.
When someone asked what was new in his life he joked: “Just been working on myself…though it looks like this app has been through more changes than me. Lol”
‘YOU LOOK FABULOUS!’
Other fans just gushed over the new look as one commented: “Looking good, champ!”
Another wrote: “Wondered how you were doing…glad you checked in! Looking healthy (and young!) with that clean shave.”
A third wrote: “Wow! At first I thought this was your son. You look fabulous!!!”
A fourth wrote: “It is so good to see your face! You’re very handsome. I hope you’re doing well and enjoying life!”
A fifth penned: “You look amazing! Good for you!”
A sixth wrote: “Hi from Australia I watched you on Jeopardy and you are by far my most favourite champion. Your humility and modesty was inspirational. Hope you’re doing well.”
Ryan began exercising after his major winning streak aired.
He wrote to Twitter last summer: “It took some working up, but I finally took my shirt off at a beach. #fitnessjourney,” alongside a suntanned snap.
RYAN’S INCREDIBLE RIDE
Ryan stood out from the pack when he competed during Season 38, his run kicking off just days after Mattea Roach’s 23-day streak ended.
His big personality, pop culture category sweeps, and humbly hilarious Q&A stories thrilled fans endlessly when he competed.
Ryan would look down at his winning score and shake his head in bewilderment every game – and began his run by pumping out an Arnold Schwarzenegger impression.
More earnestly, Ryan once spoke about his son and single-dad working-class backstory, bringing Mayim Bialik near tears in a moving interview segment.
Ryan shared as he raked in the big bucks: “He wants to come to California, he wants to go to the theme parks – the best thing is, I have time to do these things with him now.
“I don’t have to, you know, work and say ‘I can’t do it,’ now we can just go wherever we want,” Ryan shared, as he worked so many odd jobs in Philly before winning his life-changing earnings.
Ryan’s other odd jobs before Jeopardy! included being a bouncer, an airport security worker, package handler, office clerk, piano mover, water ice seller, UPS worker, cashier, and a street sweeper.
‘I FELT LIKE I WASTED MY LIFE’
The broad-shouldered brainiac opened up about his traumatic upbringing in Philly in an interview after his run with This American Life.
He described himself as a “husky” kid with a mixed-racial identity on- his mother is Black and his father white, who died when he was 17.
Being put into gifted classes made him uncomfortable, so he “downplayed” his intelligence “to fit in” and dropped out of community college.
“I’ll oversleep, or I’ll be late, or won’t show up, something like that,” Ryan said on the podcast.
“It happens a lot, especially for things that could potentially benefit me. Because some part of me is either ‘this is stupid’ or ‘you don’t deserve it’ or something.
And I’m pretty sure that’s depression.”
Ryan had a spare $200 to spend just getting to California to compete.
“There was a little bit of class satisfaction that I came in to beat. People like my mom, like me, we’ve always watched the show but never been represented by the show.”
“I had to acknowledge I wanted it, give myself permission to want it. ‘We’re not gonna screw it up.’”
He didn’t prepare and went in with: “No tutorials on technique, no studying. I didn’t have time. I was working up until I left.”
Ryan had a near-death experience with COVID right before his Jeopardy! run taped, so aside from just being able to afford it, his health was in question.
He was hospitalized and was put on oxygen to stay alive. After being discharged, his knee gave out, and he was diagnosed with diabetes.
Ryan told the Jeopardy! site: “It went bad pretty quickly. I ended up in the hospital for two and a half weeks…”
“The hospital staff brought it home to me pretty quickly that they weren’t sure I’d make it.
“I still keep the picture my doctor gave me of my saturated lungs on my phone, as a reminder of how close I came to never seeing my son again.”
Ryan hinted that no one – especially himself – had given him a shot until the game show came along.
He told This American Life: “I felt like I had wasted my life so far. I felt like I didn’t have a huge amount of time left. My dad died young, his dad died young.
“I didn’t wanna do that to my kid. I found my dad dead.”
“I dont look smart, whatever that means, I look like a bruiser. People underesitmate me. I know I’m kind of smart. I know what I can do.”
Ryan returned for the 2022 Tournament of Champions but didn’t nab the extra $250K and was eliminated in the first round.
But while everyone is smart on Jeopardy!, Ryan epitomized the American dream on screen.