Kavya Shivashankar Wins National Spelling Bee With Word 'Laodicean'

The statement would ultimately turn out to be prophetic: During round 8, Chand's bee fate was sealed by "apodyterium," the changing room in a Roman bath complex.

Anamika Veeramani, 13, who was on her maiden voyage to both the bee and the bright lights of the finals, had the calm collectedness of a veteran.

"If you don't know it by now, you won't learn it anyway," she said following the semi-finals. Veeramani was eliminated during round 11 on the word "fackeltanz."

New Spelling Bee Champions Find Inspiration From the Old

This year's winner, Shivashankar, cited Nupur Lala, who took home the big prize in 1999 and was featured in the 2002 documentary film "Spellbound," as her role model.

In an interview with ABCNews.com earlier this week, Lala, now a researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said she tells champions to expect "the summer after you win the spelling bee to be a whirlwind and all the memories will start coming back after."

Lala describes winning the bee as "totally overwhelming, especially if it's something you weren't expecting."

She says fellow "word nerds" share a "unique bond over words" that ties them together for life.

Spelling Bee: Famous for Big Personalities

For bee enthusiasts at home holding on to memories of 1997's Rebecca Sealfon, who shouted the spelling of her winning word or 2008 champion Sameer Mishra, who mistook the word "numnah" for "numbnut", the finals were not without their own personalities.

Crowd favorite Kennyi Aouad, 13, known for a comic delivery style and stage presence, famously burst into giggles during his 2007 spelling of "sardoodledom." Aouad spelled out this year during round 11 on "palatschinken."

Three-time finalist Neetu Chandak, dripping in good luck charms, celebrated correct spellings with appropriate flourish on stage until round 8, when she incorrectly spelled "derriengue."

Official word pronouncer, Jacques Bailly, himself a former spelling champ, injected humor into the unlikeliest of places -- usage sentences delivered at the spellers' request.

"Enough of this low-carb madness, bring me the palatschinken," Bailly deadpanned to finalist Aouad during round 1. The word "palatschinken," by the way, refers to a Central European pancake.

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