‘I knew them all,’ Spelling Bee champ says after her victory

June 2, 2017 GMT

Ananya Vinay showed little emotion as she plowed through word after mystifying word in the final rounds of the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Later, as she stood beside the confetti-covered stage, the newly crowned champion flashed a toothy grin as she inadvertently revealed how much confidence she’d brought to the competition.

A Scripps representative told Ananya she’d have to deliver a speech during Friday’s closing ceremonies. That wouldn’t be a problem, Ananya said. She’d written the speech before she arrived at the bee.

“In the last few weeks,” the 12-year-old from Fresno, California, said. “Just to motivate me to study more.”

Ananya didn’t come into the bee as the most heralded speller, but she outclassed her better-known competitors and survived a long duel with 14-year-old Rohan Rajeev to win the 90th Scripps bee on Thursday. She’ll take home more than $40,000 in cash and prizes.


Ananya never looked all that impressed by the words she was given. She rarely took even half her allotted 2 minutes to spell. Sometimes she would blurt out questions in a near-monotone — “Part of speech?” ″Language of origin?” — and sometimes she didn’t even bother.

“I knew them all,” Ananya said.