Thursday night, Sriram Hathwar of Painted Post, New York, and Ansun Sujoe of Fort Worth, Texas made history at the Scripps National Spelling Bee. They became the fourth co-champions in the bee’s 89-year history and the first since 1962.
According to ESPN.com, Ansun misspelled “antigropelos”. Unfortunately, the error ruined Ansun’s chance to claim victory. In the result, Ansun and Sriram went through a challenging face off, spelling the most difficult words the spelling bee had to offer: Skandhas, Hyblaean, Feijoada, Augenphilologie, Sdrucciola, Holluschick, Thyemelici, Paixtle, Encaenia, Terreplein. Both competitor’s spelled the words perfectly. Sriram’s last word was stichomythia, a theatrical term for dialogue that depicts an altercation and is delivered in alternating lines. He was confident in his answer and ecstatic he finally got a word he was familiar with. Ansun, however, was a little apprehensive. He was asked to spell the word “feuilleton,” which is the feature section of a European newspaper or magazine. With much hesitation, Ansun smirked and rolled his eyes. As the stage lights turned red, signaling he had 30 seconds left, he said, “Ah, whatever!” The judges claimed both Ansum and Sriram the winners of the spelling bee.
Both competitors took home a trophy and $33,000 in cash and prizes. Hathwar said “The competition was against the dictionary, not against each other. I’m happy to share this trophy with him.” Ansun told reporters that he always looked up to Sriram. “I’d seen him in the finals, and I wanted to be like that.”
Even President Barack Obama congratulated the two via twitter:
“Congrats to Ansun and Sriram, the incredible co-champs of the #ScrippsNationalSpellingBee. You make us all proud!”