Arvind Mahankali wins the Scripps National Spelling Bee

Knaidel. K-N-A-I-D-E-L spells victory. Yesterday, 13-year-old Arvind Mahankali of Bayside Hills, New York correctly spelled "knaidel" -- a word for a small mass of leavened dough -- to win the 86th Scripps National Spelling Bee: Arvind Mahankali, 13, of New York, wins the Scripps National Spelling bee.

After finishing in third place in both 2011 and 2012, this time Arvind was out for some spelling redemption -- a German redemption, of sorts. While he had previously been eliminated on German-derived words, this time he had it aced:

Arvind outlasted 11 other finalists, all but one of whom had been to the National Spelling Bee before, in nearly 2 ½ hours of tense, grueling competition that was televised nationally. In one round, all nine participants spelled their words correctly.

When he was announced as the winner, Arvind looked upward at the confetti falling upon him and cracked his knuckles, his signature gesture during his bee appearances. He'll take home $30,000 in cash and prizes along with a huge cup-shaped trophy. The skinny teen, clad in a white polo shirt and wire-rimmed glasses pushed down his nose, was joined on stage at the Washington-area hall by his parents and his beaming younger brother.

An aspiring physicist who admires Albert Einstein, Arvind said he would spend more time studying physics this summer now that he's "retired" from the spelling bee.
It's worth noting that Indian American contestants have had an incredible lock on the spelling bee for over a decade. Arvind becomes the sixth consecutive Indian American winner and the 11th in the past 15 years. That's quite badass. More here: Arvind Mahankali, 13, Wins National Spelling Bee.

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