Vocabulary, Lightning Round Added to National Spelling Bee

This year’s event will be mostly virtual, and the in-person finals on July 8 have been moved from the bee’s longtime home in the Washington area to an ESPN campus in Florida.

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FILE - In this Friday, May 31, 2019 file photo,T he eight co-champions of the 2019 Scripps National Spelling Bee, from left, Shruthika Padhy, 13, of Cherry Hill, N.J., Erin Howard, 14, of Huntsville, Ala., Rishik Gandhasri, 13, of San Jose, Calif., Christopher Serrao, 13, of Whitehouse Station, N.J., Saketh Sundar, 13, of Clarksville, Md., Sohum Sukhatankar, 13, of Dallas, Texas, Rohan Raja, 13, of Irving, Texas, and Abhijay Kodali, 12, of Flower Mound, Texas, hold the trophy at the end of the competition in Oxon Hill, Md. The Scripps National Spelling Bee is undergoing a major overhaul to ensure it can identify a single champion, adding vocabulary questions and a lightning-round tiebreaker to this year's pandemic-altered competition, Friday, April 23, 2021. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)
Image via AP Photo/Susan Walsh

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Scripps National Spelling Bee is undergoing a major overhaul to ensure it can identify a single champion, adding vocabulary questions and a lightning-round tiebreaker to this year’s pandemic-altered competition. The 96-year-old bee has in the past included vocabulary on written tests but never in the high-stakes oral competition rounds, where one mistake eliminates a speller. The only previous tiebreaker to determine a single champion was a short-lived extra written test that…

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