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University Challenge star Freddy Leo reveals truth behind speedy buzzing

University Challenge viewers were left in awe of Oxford student Freddy Leo during this week’s quarter-finals.

The team captain of Oxford’s St Edmund Hall raised eyebrows as he hit the buzzer at lightening speed throughout the show, and successfully answered question after question as they were fired his way by host Jeremy Paxman.

Leo – who boasted the highest average point score of the tournament before Monday’s show – also gave a distinctive arm jolt each time after pressing the buzzer, as if he were touching hot lava.

However, despite his jerky buzzing technique capturing the attention of viewers at home, the BBC contestant revealed he wasn’t even aware he was doing it.


Revealing he’d found the reaction to his buzzing "surprising," Leo added that it was only when his team-mates pointed out his unusual buzzing that he had realised it could work to their advantage.

He explained that while his team were on average younger than their opponents, he had the advantage of his youthful reflexes.

"There’s a bit of debate in the University Challenge world on whether it’s really fair for older contestants to take part," he told the BBC.

"Some people say you can have three to four times as long to accumulate the knowledge.


"When you’re 20 you’re in the middle of your studies which you can dedicate yourself to in a way you perhaps can’t if you have a family and a day job.

"And, of course, when you’re younger your impulses and reflexes are that much quicker."

Leo’s team thrashed Emmanuel College, Cambridge with a 190-55 win.

Although he admits it wasn’t just his speedy buzzing that brought home the victory, he promises more of his trademark move throughout the semi-finals.

University Challenge quarter-finals continue Monday on BBC at 8.30pm.

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