Zaila Avant-garde wins U.S. Spelling Bee

Video Credit: Reuters - Politics
Published on July 9, 2021 - Duration: 01:19s

Zaila Avant-garde wins U.S. Spelling Bee

Zaila Avant-garde, 14, became the first African American to win the 90-year-old Scripps National Spelling Bee on Thursday by correctly spelling 'Murraya,' a genus of plants, staying cool after a near miss with a botanical word in a previous round.

Gloria Tso has more.


Zaila Avant-garde wins U.S. Spelling Bee

BROADCAST AND DIGITAL RESTRICTIONS~** Broadcasters: NO MORE THAN 5 MINUTES USE / NO USE OF JULY 8 CONTENT AFTER 0200 GMT ON JULY 15 / NO ARCHIVE / NO RESALE - EXCERPTS MAY ONLY INCLUDE HIGHLIGHT FOOTAGE AND MAY NOT INCLUDE INTERVIEWS, FEATURES, OR VOICES OF ON-AIR TALENT / USE ONLY RECORDING OFF-AIR / MUST NOT OBSCURE ESPN LOGO OR GRAPHICS BROADCASTERS MUST PROVIDE AUDIO AND VIDEO COURTESY TO ESPN / MUST NOT OBSCURE ESPN LOGO OR GRAPHICS / FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY / NO NEW USE AFTER JULY 15 / NO ARCHIVE/NO RESALE.Digital: MUST AUDIO AND VIDEO COURTESY ESPN / MUST NOT OBSCURE ESPN LOGO OR GRAPHICS / FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY / NO NEW USE AFTER JULY 16 /NO ARCHIVE/NO RESALE) Fourteen year-old Zaila Avant-garde became the first African American winner of the Scripps National Spelling Bee broadcast on ESPN on Thursday, winning $50,000 and the coveted Scripps Cup.

Avant-garde sealed her victory with the word 'Murraya,' a genus of plants, staying cool after nearly misspelling another botanical word in a previous round.

Hailing from New Orleans, Avant-garde is the first Black contestant to win the championship since Jody-Anne Maxwell from Jamaica in 1998.

She's also an accomplished basketball player, and has even set several Guinness World Records for dribbling multiple basketballs at a time.

Avant-garde told the Associated Press in an interview before the finals she hoped to inspire other African American spelling bee hopefuls, particularly those who might not be able to pay for the lessons needed to be competitive.

12 year old Chaitra Thummala from San Francisco came in second place Thursday after misspelling 'neroli oil,' but still took home a $25,000 prize.

This year's competition added rules meant to avoid having multiple champions, like the eight winners who shared the title in 2019.

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