The cliche goes that a tie is worse than kissing your sister, but that’s not the case at the Scripps National Spelling Bee, as the two winners walked away with a cool $30,000 apiece.
Sriram Hathwar and Ansun Sujoe won the co-championship at the 87th annual event Thursday after a number of gut-wrenching and back-and-forth rounds that gradually weeded out the nation’s best spellers. As is almost always the case at the Scripps National Spelling Bee, there were plenty of memorable and amusing moments.
Here are a few of them.
Of course, the most important takeaway from Thursday’s proceedings was the tie itself. The event’s Twitter page noted just how rare that occurrence is in the competition's history:
For the first time since 1962, we have #SpellingBee CO-CHAMPIONS!— NationalSpellingBee (@ScrippsBee) May 30, 2014
After winning the co-championship, Sriram said something that summed up the spirit of the entire evening, via ESPN.com: “The competition was against the dictionary, not against each other. I’m happy to share this trophy with him.”
Sriram’s last word en route to the title was "stichomythia," while Ansun was tasked with spelling "feuilleton." Ansun appeared somewhat flustered when the moderator read the word, and he let out something of an exasperated shoulder shrug before spelling it.
He came through when it mattered most, though, and both contestants earned congratulations from the president himself in the process:
Congrats to Ansun and Sriram, the incredible co-champs of the #ScrippsNationalSpellingBee. You make us all proud! -bo— The White House (@WhiteHouse) May 30, 2014
Kate Miller’s Horror Movie Marathon
Kate Miller was eliminated from the competition when she was asked to spell the word "exochorion," which is something of a horror-show word as it is, but all is well, because she now has more valuable time on her hands.
She amused the crowd and viewers alike in her post-competition interview when she exclaimed that she was going to take 24 hours to watch every horror movie she could get her hands on now that her studying was over. MashableLive captured the moment:
Kate Miller says she’s going to go home to Texas and watch every horror movie that she can get her hands on pic.twitter.com/w2BCFgpMYI— MashableLIVE (@MashableLive) May 30, 2014
Whether she eventually finds herself in a battle of intellectual wits with the likes of Jigsaw or Hannibal Lecter remains to be seen.
Jacob Williamson’s “What?!”
It is a testament to Jacob Williamson’s energy and crowd appeal that he provided the evening’s most memorable moment even when there was a historic tie for the championship.
Williamson celebrated ecstatically throughout the competition every time he spelled a word correctly, although he was premature in his elation when he was given the word "kabaragoya."
Buzzfeed highlights what happened perfectly:
It was both amusing and somewhat heartbreaking to watch the roller coaster of emotions from Williamson. He demonstrated why he was such a crowd favorite in his interview afterward, discussing all the memories he would take away from the event.
Anyone Up for Milkshakes?
Things got weird for a moment late in the competition when eventual co-champion Hathwar was tasked with spelling the word "feijoada."
Fox 19’s Joe Danneman described what happened when Hathwar asked for the word in a sentence:
What. Just. Happened on the Spelling Bee? The moderator just said "Tabitha's milkshake brings all the boys to the yard...oh wait..." Haha.— Joe Danneman (@FOX19Joe) May 30, 2014
The moderator was quickly stopped and claimed to have read the sentence for the wrong word, but the fact that the sentence referenced the Kelis song “Milkshake” in the first place was what was so strange. Bleacher Report provided the video:
VIDEO: A Spelling Bee judge mentioned a milkshake that brings all the boys to the yard in a sentence clue http://t.co/lfilWy0QIY— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) May 30, 2014
While the sentence was hilarious, it should make all viewers of the spelling bee feel old that Hathwar was just a toddler when Kelis, and not the spelling bee moderator, was the one bringing the boys to the yard with her milkshake.
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