Ananya Vinay from Fresno, California, earned the Scripps National Spelling Bee on Thursday after many rounds compared to Rohan Rajeev. But it wasn't exactly a word they asked her to spell - not a real one, anyway.
Ananya's parents and brother stormed onto the stage to embrace her as the confetti fell. "I am so happy right now", she said.
As the victor Ananya, a 12-year-old sixth-grader from Fresno, Calif., takes home $40,000 in cash, a $2,500 savings bond and a large collection of reference books.
For the past three years, the Scripps National Spelling Bee has ended in a tie as two competitors, going head to head, have met in brutal linguistic battle and fought to a draw.
After three consecutive ties, the National Spelling Bee was determined to have a solo victor, so it added a new tiebreaker procedure for Thursday night's finals in Oxon Hill, Md.
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Ananya is the 13th consecutive Indian-American to win the bee and the 18th of the past 22 winners with Indian heritage, a run that began in 1999 with Nupur Lala's victory, which was featured in the documentary "Spellbound". Here are some memorable words from Thursday's final rounds of the bee.
She left out the "v" - but it's not a real word anyway, so no harm done. "The biggest thing that she wants to do is sit and read". And she'll have to find time to watch her beloved Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals while enjoying the champion's whirlwind media tour.
And finally, because it's always good to be reminded that the Scripps National Spelling Bee demands both winners and losers, let's end on this scarring image of what could have been avoided, if only they'd said, "You know what?" Her mother, Lekshmi Nair, competed in 1988, 1989 and 1990.
But Rohan eventually misspelled the word "marram", a beach grass, and Ananya went on to win after coolly spelling two more words correctly.