“What is a dust bunny?”

With that answer – in the form of a question – Ottawa’s Frederique DeLapree made her debut on the time-honoured U.S. game show, Jeopardy.

It was a debut two years in the making. The 33-year old federal public servant first auditioned for the show online back in 2012. After a second round of auditions in person, and a lot of waiting, DeLapree finally got her chance. She travelled to Los Angeles to tape the episode that aired Thursday night.

It was worth the wait.

DeLapree not only got the chance to be on the show, she won in a dramatic come-from-behind finish.

“I started and I felt really good and I'm like, oh this is a good omen. I'm starting off strong so I think I'm going to do really well,” she says. “ And I was really wrong about that."

DeLapree struggled with unfamiliar categories and eventually trailed her two opponents by several thousand dollars. “I mean I was a little disappointed. I thought, oh my gosh, I came all the way to LA just to crash and burn on national television,” she laments.

But then came final Jeopardy, when contestants can wager any or all of their earnings on one question to potentially double their money.

The category was a tough one - 19th Century U.S. Presidents. All three contestants came up with the wrong answer. But, while the two frontrunners wagered and lost big, DeLapree knew her limitations and decided to wager nothing at all. It was a strategy that paid off. In the end her $6,200 was enough to win the game.

"For a moment I was like, what's happening? And then Alex Trebek was like, oh you've won. And he's coming over and he's shaking my hand, marvels DeLapree. "And I'm still thinking like, what just happened?"

The show was actually taped back in January. DeLapree and the family and friends who accompanied her have all been sworn to secrecy ever since.

But now the secret is out. Ottawa’s Frederique DeLapree is a Jeopardy champion. “It's very exciting. I never could have imagined something like that happening to me. So I'm really happy."