On May 28, the Scripps National Spelling Bee competition resulted in a tie with Vanya Shivashankar, 13, and Gokul Venkatachalam, 14, each taking more than $37,000 in cash prizes as well as the giant trophy home.
Last year was the first time the bee saw two co-champs in 52 years. Now, for the first time in its 90-year history, there have been two ties, two years in a row.
Shivashankar, an eighth-grader from Olathe, Kansas, is also the winner of Lifetime's Child Genius quiz show, and took home the big win after spelling "scherenschnitte" -- the art of cutting paper for decorative designs -- correctly. Meanwhile, Venkatachalam, an eighth-grader of Chesterfield, Missouri, wore a LeBron jersey under his shirt and nailed his final word of "nunatak," defined as a hill or mountain completely surrounded by glacial ice.
The two went head-to-head with 18 words including bouquetière, caudillismo, thamakau, scytale, tantieme, cypseline, urgrund, filicite, myrmotherine, sprachgefuhl, zimocca, nixtamal, hippocrepiform, paroemiology, scacchite, pipsissewa, Bruxellois and pyrrhuloxia.
But how exactly is it possible to not have one winner after all of these words?
Scripps explained it last year, "Once there are three spellers left in a round, the next round begins with a 25-word list. Ordinarily, a winner is declared if one speller misspells and the remaining speller correctly spells two words in a row," their website explains. "If no winner is declared before the list has been exhausted—or there are not enough words left for two consecutive spellings—co-champions are announced."
There just weren't enough words for these students!
And at the end of it all, they left even the bee’s executive director speechless. "The most surprising words trip spellers up," Paige Kimble told the Associated Press. "I thought something was going to surprise us here. But it never happened."
We're spelling that as the ultimate v-i-c-t-o-r-y! Too easy…