Ananya Vinay

The Spelling Bee Contest Winner

National Spelling Bee Winner Cements Victory With ‘Marocain’
National Spelling Bee Winner Cements Victory With ‘Marocain’
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Ananya Vinay, 12, of Fresno, Calif., with her Scripps National Spelling Bee trophy on Thursday. Credit Tasos Katopodis/European Pressphoto Agency
Being asked to spell “marocain” to win the 2017 Scripps National Spelling Bee seemed barely a challenge for Ananya Vinay.
She had already survived 36 rounds of competition and along the way had aced the spelling of words such as “konditorei,” “heiligenschein” and “wayzgoose.” (Take your best guess at the definitions, then see the answers at the bottom. But no peeking at a dictionary — of the digital or dead-tree variety.)
Then Ananya was challenged with “marocain” — a dress fabric made with a warp of silk or rayon and a filling of other yarns. She asked for the definition, its part of speech and language of origin.
She knew if she got this correct, she would be the champion.
She looked down, paused for six seconds, repeated the word, licked her lips and spelled it slowly and deliberately.
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As the announcer offered his congratulations and the audience at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Md., roared, Ananya remained expressionless, except for the slightest lift in one cheek.
She swayed from right to left, a movement that only stopped as her father, Vinay Sreekumar, rushed to the stage and gave her a bear hug.
“It was a shock to actually hear it,” Ananya, 12, of Fresno, Calif., said on Friday, referring to the announcement that she had won. “It was like a dream. I was there but I was watching it almost.”
She only began to beam when her mother, Anupama Poliyedath, and 7-year-old-brother Achuth, joined her father on the stage and hugged her amid the falling confetti. She got some help lifting the 10-pound trophy above her head.
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Message Received by Bruce Henry
Date: Saturday, June 3, 2017 - Time: 3:00 PM
Received from The New York Times
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