1. ITV Report

Two boys share US Spelling Bee title after contest runs out of words

Ansun and Sriram celebrate their shared victory. Credit: ESPN/Scripps National Spelling Bee

For the first time in more than half a century, the United States' famous Scripps National Spelling Bee was shared by two winners after the contest ran out of words.

14-year-old Sriram Hathwar from Painted Post, New York and 13-year-old Ansun Sujoe from Fort Worth, Texas shared the spoils after a tense final day in Maryland.

Footage courtesy of ESPN/Scripps National Spelling Bee

In the end it came down to one final word: feuilleton.

In case you were wondering, its dictionary definition is:

A part of a newspaper or magazine devoted to fiction, criticism, or light literature

It wasn't a perfect showing - both boys got words wrong back-to-back meaning the tie progressed - but the pair, both of Indian descent, were rightly pleased after receiving a reward of $30,000 each.

"We both know the competition is against the dictionary, not against each other," Sriram said after the result. "I'm happy to share the trophy with him."

In the end, the contest came down to 'feuilleton'. Credit: ESPN/Scripps National Spelling Bee

"I like sharing the victory with someone else," Ansun said. "It's been quite shocking and quite interesting, too. It's very rare."

The result propelled the boys to national fame, with President Barack Obama (bo) even joining in the congratulations.

The win was the culmination of a tense final day in which twelve children battled it out for the coveted title.

Kate Miller from Abelene, Texas mimicked typing to visualise her words. Credit: ESPN/Scripps National Spelling Bee

Among the words contested were:

  • elepidote
  • stichomythia
  • brachypterous
  • phytophilous
  • ardoise
  • parapraxis

Perhaps the most entertaining moment, though, came when 15-year-old Jacob Williamson prematurely celebrated at getting a word he knew: euripus.

Footage courtesy of ESPN/Scripps National Spelling Bee