The National Spelling Bee has ended in a tie for the second straight year: Indian-Americans Vanya Shivashankar and Gokul Venkatachalam are co-champions, cementing the community’s hold on an event which has come to be dubbed the Indian Super Bowl.
Shivashankar and Venkatachalam won the contest easily Thursday night after the pronouncer ran out of words lined up to decide a dragged out final round.
Shivashankar’s victory set an event record as the first by two members of the same family — her sister Kavya Shivashankar, who was there in the audience, won in 2009.
Shivashankar's final word was "scherenschnitte." After being informed he'd be the co-champion if he got the next word right, Venkatachalam didn't even bother to ask the definition before spelling "nunatak."
Venkatachalam finished third last year.
Indian-Americans have won the contest eight years running now, and twice jointly in consecutive years, and 14 times in all, since the community’s first in 985, Balu Natrajan.