This was a record by all means.
A record eight children in the United States were crowned joint champions of the Scripps National Spelling Bee. While there have been joint winners before, this is the first time in the history of the event that so many children have been crowned champions.
This had to be done because the organizers had fallen short of words that were challenging enough for the participants: the final eight contestants combined to spell the last 47 words correctly over five consecutive rounds.
Interestingly, seven of the eight children were of Indian descent, making this year the 12th consecutive year in which children of Indian descent have been crowned champions.
Rishik Gandhasri, Saketh Sundar, Shruthika Padhy, Erin Howard, Sohum Sukhatankar, Abhijay Kodali, Christopher Serrao and Rohan Raja were the eight children that were finally crowned champions. Each of these prodigies will win a prize of $50,000, along with savings bonds worth $2,500 and reference books.
Congratulations to our Octochamps!#Speller5 Rishik Gandhasri#Speller93 Erin Howard#Speller132 Saketh Sundar#Speller307 Shruthika Padhy#Speller354 Sohum Sukhatankar#Speller407 Abhijay Kodali#Speller427 Christopher Serrao#Speller462 Rohan Raja https://t.co/du3VgXKKEz pic.twitter.com/ZhYvFeiWE0
— Scripps National Spelling Bee (@ScrippsBee) May 31, 2019
A total of 562 children started off and after 20 rigorous and gruelling rounds, the final eight were crowned champions.
A few interesting words that the contestants spelled were ‘omphalopsychite’, a person who stares fixedly at their navel to induce a mystical trance, ‘auftaktigkeit’, a musical principle where all musical phrases begin on an upbeat, and ‘geeldikkop’, a type of plant poisoning that can affect sheep.
The contest was held at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center hotel in National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland. It started on 26th May and was held for three days.
The National Spelling Bee was first held in 1925 and is held annually.