June 5, 2010 — -- The word of the day is stromuhr. Say it again, stromuhr. (Strōm(e)r; We know you needed a little help with the pronunciation, let alone being able to spell it.)
That spelled success for a 14-year-old from North Royalton, Ohio, Anamika Veeramani. She won the 83rd Scripps National Spelling Bee Friday in Washington, D.C.
She's a winner, indeed, claiming the trophy and more than $40,000 in cash and prizes. The bulk of that money may go to a savings account for the pricey tag of a college education, but the eighth-grader confided that she will also spend some of her winnings.
Anamika joined "Good Morning America Weekend" for a live interview this morning after her stupendous win at the nail-biting annual spelling challenge. The teen gave polite thank you's as she went head-to-head with co-anchors Bianna Golodryga and Bill Weir.
So, had she heard the winning word "stromuhr" before, which is an instrument for measuring the velocity of blood flow?
"Yes, I have," she said.
So, she practiced spelling the word?
"Well, I just wanted to make sure I got it right."
And how much preparation goes into a spelling bee like this?
"It's so much hard work and a lot of dedication," Anamika said.
The girl studied words for up to 16 hours on some days, her civil engineer father told The Associated Press.
"And I've been spelling since 7, so that's a really long time, but I love spelling," she said.
Knowing how to spell is a dying art, some say, with the facile use of spellcheck and other online tools.
Many spellers use different strategies to tackle words, as seen during the broadcast, such as drawing words on hands. But Anamika said she simply visualizes the words before taking a stab at spelling the inconceivable words aloud.
"I'm more of a visual person, so I can kind of see the word in my head," she said. "And that's just how I spell it."
She says she has other goals she would like to reach when she gets older.
"I want to be a cardiovascular surgeon, but I also want to write books," Anamika said.
But it's not just about work, work, work ... right?
"Yeah, I play golf. And I love golf," she said. "And I dance. And I love to write. And I love music, everything."
Anamika Veeramani, Spelling Bee Champ, Up for Any Challenge
The young go-getter certainly is a renaissance little lady.
Playing "stump the spelling champ" was too good to pass up.
Asked to spell "Golodryga," she stepped up to the virtual spelling board.
True to form, she asked, "Can I have the definition, please?"
"It's the [last] name of my co-anchor," Bill Weir said. "The origin is Russian."
He added playfully, "I'll use it in a sentence: Bianna Golodryga has filed a restraining order against me again."
"G-o-l-o-d-r-y-g-a. Golodryga," Anamika spelled without hesitation.
The champ is still the champ.