Ohio State Student Fails Geography 101 on National TV

By DJ Byrnes on February 15, 2014 at 12:32p

Wow, does my heart go out to Ohio State student Maria Khrakovsky. She appeared on the college series of Jeopardy last night — only her lifelong dream — and failed a pretty mundane question:

You see how ol' Alex Trebek — who has been accused of being a sexist, racist jerk (those are three separate links) — did her? I'm not even going to lie, first time watching this video, I only saw "M I C H I G A N" spelled out across the map and heard "this city of 104,000 smallest to boast an NFL franchise." Detroit was the first thing that leapt into my mind as well. I wasn't even paying attention to the map really because I was listening to the question.

Color me shocked there are more than 104,000 people willing to live within the city limits of Detroit. 

Fortunately for me, I wasn't on national TV. Of course, this is making the rounds on the internet today. I can only imagine how mortified poor Maria Khravosky, who was born in Ukraine and absolute loves Jeopardy, is this morning. 

I'm also getting a kick out of slovenly, Miller Lite-drinking middle-aged men beating on a 21-year-old tri-lingual French major about geography. Americans and geography have long had an odiously palpable relationship. I'd be surprised if more than 50% of us could fill out a blank map of the United States. One in four of us doesn't know Earth revolves around the sun.

Keep your head up, Maria. Your talents will obviously take you a lot farther than anonymously-bashing college students on the internet. 

And for me, this is just more proof that Jeopardy is a stupid, stupid show that should have been taken off TV by 1997. 


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Buckeye1996's picture

That map sucked and so does *ichigan.

+4 HS
45OH4IO's picture

Yeah, you can put a map of anywhere up on a screen and if you put a cuss word like the S-word, F-word or *ichigan on it, that is all I'm going to look at!

I know that is a tough question for a foreigner, but dang that is a BURN.

cdubs's picture

There was also one where she thought the capital of Germany was Paris. That seemed like a way bigger brain fart to me than this.

+2 HS
DJ Byrnes's picture

I had not seen that, and agreed, that would be worse. Of course the American internet is blowing up LOL SHE THOUGHT DETROIT IS IN WISCONSIN LOLDURRDERPDERPDERP.

Still, the whole amateur being thrown onto national TV, I'm willing to cut her some slack. Obviously not an idiot if she's tri-lingual and got onto Jeopardy in the first place.

Californian by birth, Marionaire by the Grace of President Warren G. Harding.

hetuck's picture

Paris as Capitol of Germany was answer to joke popular after German reunification.

Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.

Vince Lombardi

Riggins's picture

That's...not entirely accurate.

IIRC, the clue was something like "This European capital was the setting for the musical Cabaret."  She answered Paris, and the correct answer was Berlin.

Jugdish's picture

So the folks up north got one question right. Is that any reason to degrade Maria? It is the return favor because of all the negative publicity over their football team.

Remember to get your wolverine spayed or neutered. TBDBITL

Maffro's picture

And for me, this is just more proof that Jeopardy is a stupid, stupid show that should have been taken off TV by 1997. 

Your opinion is wrong. Jeopardy! is an awesome show.

Now if you want to talk about how they should they should stop doing these stupid kids/teens/college episodes, then I can agree with you.

+7 HS
Jason Gruber's picture

If they take away teen/kids Jeopardy, I'll never get another answer right again. This CAN'T happen!!!! Teen week is my time to shine!!! 

"You win with people." Woody Hayes

"If winning isn't everything, why do we keep score?" Vince Lombardi

"¯\_(ツ)_/¯" Joey Bosa

+1 HS
PittBuckeye's picture

Just have to feel for the girl, but at the same time I'd hope she can laugh at this too. It will pass.

Seattle Linga's picture

Oh snap too bad - I don't think she'll be making that mistake again

hit_the_couch's picture

104k? My guess would have been Green Bay. I can't watch the vid, for whatever reason the format doesn't work on my PC.

And then I told her...i'm no weatherman, but tonight's forecast is calling for several inches!

+1 HS
southbay's picture

I can't imagine what the pressure is like, having to come up with the correct response and then make a decision as to whether you are sure, all in an instant before someone else locks you out.  I can do fairly well playing Jeopardy when I'm watching in my living room, but I would fall apart on TV.

In this case, the dot tells you that it's Green Bay, but the "MICHIGAN" would have fooled a lot of people.  I might have said "Pontiac", which is where the Lions used to play in the Silverdome.  Not sure where Ford Field (their current stadium) is located.

BTW, I gather that Maria didn't win, but I'm sure she did us proud regardless.

+1 HS
buckeyedude's picture

Chicks just suck at directions and geography. That's just a fact. At least she's cute.

For the record, Green Bay is about 1/3rd the size of Toledo or Akron. Think about that.



-1 HS
Silver Bullet 10's picture

Not gonna lie, Detroit was the first thing that came to my mind. And that's in front of a computer screen, not national television. That is a very deceptive map. If there wasn't "Michigan" labeled across the whole darn thing, she (like I) would've have actually studied the map carefully and chose the correct answer. That is hardly failing geography 101.

+6 HS
NoVA Buckeye's picture

Still not as bad as thinking the Rambling Wreck was the mascot of the ACC

The offseason begins when your season ends. Even then there are no days off.

Sportpaco's picture

Actually, to me, the funniest part of that clip was the fact that the contestant in the middle was actually from Middlebury. Well played Jeopardy.

buckguyfan1's picture

Man, for a second there I thought it said Geology 101... Nobody failed "Rocks for Jocks" when I was on campus. 

NoVA Buckeye's picture

She probably fared better in Potent Potables

Wait, that's not a category anymore? CANCEL JEOPARDY FOREVER

The offseason begins when your season ends. Even then there are no days off.

+3 HS
BeijingBucks's picture

ha!  I thought you said the Earth revolves around the Sun!!  smh...

None can love freedom heartily, but good men; the rest love not freedom, but license. ~ John Milton

DMcDougal24's picture

To be fair, she was leading until Final Jeopardy.

Unky Buck's picture


Rock over London; Rock on Chicago. Timex: It takes a lickin' but keeps on tickin'

+3 HS
Chief B1G Dump's picture

She doesnt give a damn for the whole upper midwest!

+2 HS
InvertMyVeer's picture

“I personally believe, that U.S. Americans, are unable to do so, because uh, some, people out there, in our nation don’t have maps. and uh… I believe that our education like such as in South Africa, and the Iraq, everywhere like such as… and, I believe they should uh, our education over here, in the U.S. should help the U.S. or should help South Africa, and should help the Iraq and Asian countries so we will be able to build up our future, for us.”


Football is complicated...

+5 HS
Unky Buck's picture

I don't think I've ever felt as uncomfortable for someone than I did for her. It was like a Michael Scott moment (where you're like, "Oh no, please don't! Oh Michael...) times ten. 

Rock over London; Rock on Chicago. Timex: It takes a lickin' but keeps on tickin'

+2 HS
Jason Gruber's picture

Hey, if you were that close to Slater you'd stutter too... 

"You win with people." Woody Hayes

"If winning isn't everything, why do we keep score?" Vince Lombardi

"¯\_(ツ)_/¯" Joey Bosa

TatumRuled's picture

So any true Buckeye fan would get all confused and flustered after seeing a bad word - *ichigan - across the screen..

"Hell, Woody didn't recruit me; he recruited my mother!" -Jack Tatum                       

+1 HS
geoffrsc's picture

The way Detroit's heading, it won't be long before it's population is 104,000. She wasn't wrong, just early.

Scarlet_Lutefisk's picture
DJ love your age warfare! Unfortunately the link supporting your 'long relationship' specifically discusses the drop in geography knowledge within the 18-24 demographic.