National Spelling Bee a fiercer competition than NBA Finals Game 1

About 11 million spellers participated in the competition that kicked off at local levels.

Ananya Vinay showed little emotion as she plowed through word after mystifying word in the final rounds of the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

Ananya's winning word, marocain, is a French word for a dress fabric of ribbed crepe, made of silk or wool or both.

Vinay, at 12, follows a long list of Indian-American students who emerged as champions in the national competition since 2008. "Weekends, she'll do it, vacations, she'll be like I studied spelling my entire vacation it was so much fun", said Soraya Abedi, friend. Ananya and Rohan, an eighth-grader from Edmond, Oklahoma, went head to head for nearly 20 rounds. "Do you know the word 'covfefe?'" she asked a seemingly puzzled Vinay.

This astonishing legacy of Indian-American spelling whizzes has already become the subject of academic study. He took the second place when he failed to spell the word "marram", (a type of coarse perennial grass). After failing to break into the top 50 last year she came back this year with a vengeance and a fool-proof strategy.

The 90th bee was the first since 2013 that had only one sole victor, with the middle years ending in ties.

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Ananya's victory broke the bee's three-year streak of ending in a tie.

For 36 rounds 12-year-old Ananya Vinay seemed unfazed, even unimpressed with the words she had to spell.

"Language of origin?" she asks.

"C-O-F-E-F-E?" she guessed, while giggling could be heard in the background. Then she paused for a few seconds before spelling the word easily. Join us in a conversation about world events, the newsgathering process or whatever aspect of the news universe you find interesting or important.

She finally ventured a guess, which was just barely wrong, at least according to the President's spelling of the non-word.

  • Sonia Alvarado