Meet the two best spellers in the world
Bouquetiere. Thamakau. Sprachgefuhl. You might think I’m just slamming my head against my keyboard and seeing what comes out, but actually, these were some of the words that co-winners Vanya Shivashankar and Gokul Venkatachalam had to spell last night as they breezed through the final round of the 2015 Scripps National Spelling Bee. The two winners, 13- and 14-years-old respectively, won after they made their way through the the 25 word “championship list” that is used to to determine a winner when three or fewer spellers are left in the game. What happens if nobody misspells? Then there’s a tie.
This isn’t the first time the National Spelling Bee has had two winners, but last year was the first time in 52 years that there had ever been one. It’s been 90 years since there were two in a row. That seems even more unlikely than being able to spell the word scherenschnitte, but Vanya did that — and won.
Gokul’s winning word was nunatak, which is a hill or mountain surrounded by glacial ice. He didn’t even pause as he rattled off the correct spelling.
Not that anybody was surprised. Both winners has been finalists multiple times before, and Vanya had just wrapped up filming (and winning) the Lifetime realty show Child Genius. But none of this success has made her cocky. When they were declared co-winners, each holding up a side of the trophy, Vanya explained:
Well, believe it, girl! It sounds like this wont be the last time these winners astound their peers. They’ve made national news and aren’t even old enough to drive! I’ve been driving for years and there are still basic words I have to double-check how to spell. Guarantee. Restaurant. Queue. These two teens are totally amazing!