(NEW YORK) — Indiana University freshman Julian Batts seemed to be on a roll during his appearance on Wheel of Fortune, until a series of unfortunate answers torpedoed his chance for a car, a trip to Jamaica and a shot at a million dollars.
Batts filled in the letters to practically solve the puzzle “Mythological Hero Achilles,” but he mispronounced the hero’s name, saying instead: “A-chill-is.”
It cost him potentially $1 million.
In an interview with ABC News’ Good Morning America, Batts explained what was going through his mind when he realized what had slipped through his fingers in the episode, which aired Friday during the show’s College Week.
“It just kind of hit me like a train and I really didn’t know how to react to it — the game continued on and [another contestant from] Texas A&M, she solved it and it hit me right then and there that it was Achilles,” he said. “I didn’t feel like I made a mistake but I feel like I solved the puzzle entirely and all I had to do was read it and I just went for it and I did my best.”
In a statement to ABC News, Wheel of Fortune said: “When a contestant tries to solve a puzzle, they must pronounce it using the generally accepted pronunciation.”
His misfortune wasn’t over. In the Person category, with just one letter missing from the phrase “The World’s Fastest _a_,” Batts chose a letter “C.” There was no “C.”
Another contestant solved correctly: “The World’s Fastest Man.”
And in another puzzle-solving misstep, Batts said, “On the Spot Dice Spin” instead of ‘On the Spot Decision.”
Even though Batts went on to win the game, his major mistakes cost him big money.
“I don’t think anyone has ever taken a more circuitous route to victory, but the important thing is you’re here and you’ve got $11,700 dollars and we’re pleased about that,” the show’s host, Pat Sajak, said during the episode.
So how does Batts feel about the experience? “It was a dream and it was one of the greatest experiences I’ve accomplished so far,” he said.
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio
Sandra Gonzalez, CNN
Sara Ashley O'Brien, CNN
Nikki Siegel, Idaho Falls Magazine