Answer: This 17-year-old from Thornhill graduated from high school with a 99.4 per cent average. He aced Grade 12 Geometry and Discrete Mathematics when he was 14. He started reading short books when he was three. He's a baseball umpire and coach, a musician, and a 2005 provincial spelling-bee champion.
Question: Who is Jeffrey Baer, the only Canadian teenager who will take a shot at Jeopardy!'s first Summer Games Teen Tournament on Friday?
That's right, but before you write off Mr. Baer as Mr. Perfect, rest assured that even someone who's three steps ahead of most people his age can have the odd mental lapse.
Thursday was Disney Day at the arts and drama camp where Mr. Baer works as a counsellor, but he didn't let his mother know until Wednesday that he needed a Pinocchio costume. "When I was a counsellor in training, I didn't have much choice of which camp I was sent to," Mr. Baer says. "I ended up there but I loved it - even though dance and drama are definitely not my strong points."
It's hard to take a comment like that seriously from an individual who graduated from the Academy for Gifted Children, just north of Richmond Hill, with more perfect 100s on his high-school transcript than high 90s.
And last September, Mr. Baer discovered an advertisement for Jeopardy!'s teen tournament. A fan of the show since he was seven, he signed up to take a 50-question online test, which anyone aged 13 to 17 could take. Participants had 15 seconds to type in an answer.
"What I like most about Jeopardy! is that you have to connect the facts from all different arenas," he says.
A week after his test, Mr. Baer was among 300 teenagers who received an invitation to November tryouts across the United States. He and his family flew to Chicago, and Mr. Baer took a 50-question written test and participated in a five-minute mock Jeopardy! show and an interview.
"Basically, they were looking for people who were TV-ready, who wouldn't freeze up," Mr. Baer recalls. "They weren't keeping score. They want people who were loud and energetic."
But Mr. Baer clearly has the brainpower, and the intellectual curiosity, to do well on the show. He and his fraternal twin brother Aaron both attended the Academy for Gifted Children - a small, private school with about 300 students from kindergarten to Grade 12. They completed junior and senior kindergarten in one year and graduated one year early.
"Socially, everything was fine," Mr. Baer says. "I just needed the challenge. I would have been bored if I wasn't ahead."
The gene pool from which he and his fraternal twin brother Aaron sprung is startling in its depth: Their father, Philip, and their mother, Erica Weinberg, are both medical doctors in Scarborough. Dr. Weinberg had two master's degrees in chemistry before attending medical school at the University of Toronto. And Dr. Baer skipped two grades during elementary school and attended McGill University's medical school after his first year of university.
Dr. Baer was also always a trivia buff. So it's no surprise that Mr. Baer formed a Reach for the Top team at his school and took his team this year to third-place in the provincial championship, narrowly missing a trip to the national finals, just like his dad.
In December, Mr. Baer found out that he was going to appear on Jeopardy! - which launched him into a serious training regimen. "At the same time, I was preparing for Reach for the Top, so it worked out well," he says. "I had to focus on American stuff because I was obviously at a disadvantage right at the beginning."
Using Wikipedia and other online sources, Mr. Baer compiled massive topic lists - American history, the Bible, the Academy Awards, medicine - and studied them on his Viva bus ride to and from school.
"I was somewhat weak on my pop culture, so I made sure I loaded up on movies, TV shows, music."
During March Break, Mr. Baer and his parents flew to Culver City, Calif., near Los Angeles, where Jeopardy! is filmed. The two-week tournament was filmed in two days, five shows on Monday, five shows on Tuesday. Mr. Baer was chosen for the July 20 quarter-final, which meant that he sat sequestered in the show's green room watching movies and chatting with other contestants from about 11 a.m. until about 5 p.m. "I was trying to relax, but I was still nervous," he recalls.
Then it was his turn to go. The filming of his show took about 45 minutes, much quicker than he thought.
But that's as far as Mr. Baer will go when it comes to revealing how he did - other than to say Alex Trebek was extremely funny and mingled with the contestants during commercial breaks. (The two-week tournament starts airing on Monday, with three rounds ending July 26 and 27.)
He's obliged not to say a word about how he fared, or else he won't receive any prize money. He'll win at least $5,000 - all figures U.S. - for taking part, and possibly up to $75,000.
But in any case, Mr. Baer says, it was a dream come true. "I've been hoping to be on Jeopardy! half my life," he says. "It was just a thrill to be there. I met some extremely bright individuals, and we still keep in touch."