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Wheel of Fortune contestant loses potential $1 million prize after mispronouncing answer

Wheel of Fortune contestant loses potential $1 million prize after mispronouncing answer

People have been left divided after a Wheel of Fortune contestant lost out on a $1 million prize for not pronouncing a word right.

People have been left divided after a Wheel of Fortune contestant lost out on a $1 million prize for not pronouncing the winning word right.

Julian Batts appeared on the game show during his freshman year at Indiana University - competing in Wheel of Fortune's college week at the age of 18 - and came a pronunciation away from winning a whopping six figures.

Prepare to experience some severe second-hand pain:

After successfully guessing all the letters to the answer, 'The Mythological Hero Achilles,' Batts fell at the last hurdle when it came to saying the name 'Achilles' correctly.

Taking no prisoners, Wheel of Fortune didn't accept Batts' answer and the freshman's potential $1 million prize money slipped from his grasp.

The show's rules state, as explained to TODAY by a Wheel of Fortune spokesperson: "One of the rules of 'Wheel of Fortune' is when a contestant tries to solve a puzzle, they must pronounce it using the generally accepted pronunciation."

Batt nearly got his hands on $1 million.
Columbia TriStar Television

However, viewers of the since-notorious clip have been left conflicted over whether or not the game show was too harsh on the freshman.

One Twitter user argued it's just the nature of the game. They said: "It's the RULE in this game. You know those things that set the context for EVERYTHING.

"He failed. There are evidently no participation awards for failing on this show."

However, another combatted: "I get that he SHOULD know how to pronounce Achilles, but it’s a 3000 year old proper name from a foreign language translated from a foreign alphabet… Wheel of Fortune is cold blooded for this."

Batt mispronounced 'Achilles'.
Columbia TriStar Television

Batts later opened up to the Indiana Star about his tragically close moment to becoming a millionaire, as well as having been branded the 'World's worst Wheel of Fortune player' by the internet after not only pronouncing 'Achilles' wrong, but also getting two other answers incorrect.

The Indiana graduate - who left the university in 2017 with honours - said: "I didn't have a lot of time to really process. I was just going to say it how I thought it would sound. You have to stay positive. You have to keep the game going. And you can't let one buzzer discourage your performance for the rest of the game.

"[...] With those puzzles that I didn't solve, you have to keep moving forward. You don't have a lot of time to stop and mourn that you've lost the earnings that you could've won."

Batt still left with some prize money.
Columbia TriStar Television

Despite losing out on $1 million, Batts managed to take hope a steady $11,700 (£9,440).

He resolved: "I've realised as a student, that stuff happens on the spot. Stuff happens when you least expect it, and you have to be prepared to adapt and continue to look forward and not look back."

Featured Image Credit: Columbia TriStar Television

Topics: Film and TV, Money, Twitter, Social Media