James Holzhauer’s ‘Jeopardy!’ records rival those of sports’ most dominant athletes

Think of the most fearsome, dominant individual-sport athletes of the past couple of generations. At their best, you had little chance of beating them.

Mike Tyson. Michael Phelps. Tiger Woods. Serena Williams. Jason Belmonte. Usain Bolt. James Holzhauer.

Yes, James Holzhauer.

Holzhauer, the record-breaking “Jeopardy!” doyen, is undeniably the most dynamic, unstoppable force in the show’s modern 35-year history.

He doesn’t just vanquish his foes; he annihilates them. Like Tyson, Holzhauer often delivers a knockout blow in the first minute. The ex-heavyweight champion once said, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” Holzhauer bolts out of his corner by choosing the highest-priced clues, and before his opponents have even settled in, he is ahead by $4,000 or $5,000.

What amazes about Holzhauer — other than he has to know all this stuff — is that they tape five “Jeopardy!” shows in a day. He goes up against new competition all afternoon; they bring ‘em in two at a time, fresh-minded and fresh-bodied, and he keeps sending ‘em out on a slab.

.. By the way, let’s give a brief nod to the understated brilliance of Trebek. He has the perfect contestant-side manner for the job. What, you want Steve Harvey or Drew Carey fronting this baby? No. Trebek seems more expedition guide than game-show host.

Holzhauer says he has prepared for years for this; he made it his personal mission. So, you ask, “Who turns over their life to ‘Jeopardy!’?” Hey, it’s not as if he devoted his energies to “Wheel of Fortune.”