Spell it Like the Indians do

Two Indians yet again emerge as winners at the 2015 Scripps National Spelling Bee. 

2 min read
(Photo: PTI)

The bee contest hadn’t ended in a tie for 52 years — until last year. Now, it has happened for the second year in a row. Two competitors tied to win the Scripps National Spelling Bee on Thursday.

Vanya Shivashankar, 13, of Olathe, Kansas, and Gokul Venkatachalam, 14, of Chesterfield, Missouri, were declared co-champions.

Making History in two Different Ways

Spell it Like the Indians do

Why Were They Declared Champions?

The judges ran out of words and there weren’t enough words left on the list for them to keep facing off. Proving their superiority over even their toughest competitors, Vanya and Gokul went head-to-head for 10 rounds before the list of 25 championship words was exhausted. Vanya correctly spelled ‘Scherenschnitte’ and Gokul spelled ‘nunatak’.

Other words included: bouquetière, caudillismo, thamakau, scytale, Bruxellois and pyrrhuloxia.

“They’re as calm and cool under pressure as anyone we’ve ever seen here”, one of the ESPN announcers said.

Winning Streak in the Family

Vanya has competed 4 times in the contest. Last year, she came 13th and in 2009 her older sister Kavya won the contest, which means the Shivashankar family has made the trip in nine of the past 10 years. Vanya was competing in the bee for the fifth and final time.

Gokul, won 3rd place last year. He had a gruff on-stage demeanor, asking about the word’s roots and definition before chugging through the letters as if he had dinner plans.

Vanya and Gokul each will receive more than $37,000 in cash and other prizes, and as they held the trophy together they were showered with confetti. Fourteen-year-old Cole Shafer-Ray of Norman, Oklahoma, making his first appearance in the finals, finished third.

This is also the 2nd year in the 50 years of the contest that there are co-winners. Indian American kids have won 12 times in the last 15 years.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

Stay Updated

Subscribe To Our Daily Newsletter And Get News Delivered Straight To Your Inbox.

Join over 120,000 subscribers!