Eight super smart kids out-spell the Spelling Bee

And the winner is... everyone!
spelling bee Would you be able to spell 'bougainvillea' if you heard it? We know some kids who can! (© Joanne Zhe - Dreamstime.com)


The Scripps National Spelling Bee is the World Cup of wordsmithry, the Olympics of orthography, the Super Bowl of, uh... spelling!

Anyway, as we've reported in the past, it's a big deal. Over 500 young people aged 15 and under from across the United States (as well as other countries around the world) gather to put their English spelling skills to the ultimate test. Round after round, players earn points by correctly spelling words. And round after round, those 500 or so students are whittled down until a dozen or so remain for the final rounds.

This is where even the slightest mistake is the difference between moving on or being eliminated. And where a single champion is eventually crowned.

Usually.

Octochamps!

In a groundbreaking occurrence, the 2019 Scripps National Spelling Bee ended with eight co-champions. Yes, eight winners. Following twenty intense rounds of top-flight letter ordering, the judges felt that they simply couldn't separate these young mental athletes. And in case you're not as up on the world of spelling bees as you are, say, basketball or hockey, this has never happened before. Incredible!

Before round 20 began, the remaining eight competitors were told that any of them who successfully spelled their next word would be named a co-winner. And all eight of them nailed their word. Boom. It's kind of an amazing moment. A reminder that even in heated competition, there's room for sharing victory among opponents. Here are the eight winners along with the final word that each of them spelled.

  • Rishik Gandhasri — auslaut
  • Erin Howard — erysipelas
  • Saketh Sundar — bougainvillea
  • Shruthika Padhy — aiguillette
  • Sohum Sukhatankar — pendeloque
  • Abhijay Kodali — palama
  • Christopher Serrao — cernuous
  • Rohan Raja — odylic

Think you could master those words? Hey, there's always the 2020 Scripps National Spelling Bee!

If you'd like to watch the Octochamps spell these words for yourself, we've included a video of the final round below. Congrats to the Exceptional Eight!


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