OXON HILL, Md. (AP) – For the second straight year, the Scripps National Spelling Bee ended with co-champions each holding one side of the golden trophy while being showered with confetti.
Vanya Shivashankar and Gokul Venkatachalam (GO’ kul VEHN-kuh-TAHTCH-uh-lum) were the last two standing Thursday after exhausting the 25 words reserved for the final three spellers without stumbling. Before last year, there hadn’t been a tie since 1962.
No one was surprised to see Vanya and Gokul dueling for the title. They came in with high expectations – Vanya, the longtime darling of the bee and Gokul, who last year had the trophy nearly in his grasp.
But the tie shocked Paige Kimble, the bee’s executive director and the 1981 champion, who predicted last week that another half-century would go by before the bee would crown two winners.