“It’s such a dream,” she said holding the trophy on national television.
Vikram stood nearby with his family, visibly shaking and his head bowed with the strong emotions of the three-hour contest.
But when Bee host LeVar Burton asked Vikram if he would return to The Bee next year, in what would be his last eligible year, the boy, trembling but looking resolute, gave a “yes. “decisive.
It was the first time the Bee had used a spell since the national contest was established in 1925, and it was after Harini and Vikram took turns spelling a series of words incorrectly, which meant that a winner could not be crowned. For viewers, the pressure of the moment felt like penalty shootouts in a high-stakes football tournament.
“Watching this spell, you got a real sense of the real work of preparing the bee,” said Kory Stamper, lexicographer and author of “Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries.” Spellers, she said, had spent months “quickly spelling over the dinner table, while carpooling, after school. You could really get an idea of the daily work. So impressive.”
Harini managed to spell more words than more than 200 other competitors nationally, including 12 other finalists. Words in later rounds included scyllarian, pyrrolidone, Otukian, and Senijextee, reflecting how, over nearly a century of national spelling, words have become increasingly esoteric.