This is sick. Out of the 41 semifinalists left standing today, 15 of the are Indian Americans. The Kenyans have running. The Cubans, baseball. The Chinese, ping-pong. Indian Americans own spelling.
It was a moment to savor. Of the record 293 participants at 82nd Scripps National Spelling Bee, only 41 moved on to the nationally televised semifinals that start Thursday morning (10 a.m. ET, ESPN)…
Expected to be in that final group are several returning favorites. Fourteen-year-old Keiko Bridwell of Duncan, S.C., back for the fourth time after tying for 17th last year, had no problem with “swivel” and “mahout” (one who keeps or drives elephants) in her oral rounds and breezed into the semifinals.
Is it easier now because she’s a veteran?
“More pressure,” Keiko said. “Everybody wants me to do better.”… [Link]
p>When ESPN calls you the Spelling Bee favorite it is just like putting an NFL player on the cover of a Madden game. You are probably cursed. Therefore, based on my own intensive scouting I offer up the following thoughts for those people who have bookies in Vegas and want to bet on these young horses. Word of advice: always bet on brown.
p>The first one I want you to keep an eye on is Vaibhav S. Vavilala from Indiana. Double V as he is known on the circuit is a 4 time competitor. Experience helps, but it can also prove to be a mental block because you can better visualize past failure.
The next contestant I want you to watch for is Kavya “The Destroyer” Shivashankar. Like Double V above she is a four time veteran. According to her profile the thirteen year old looks forward to becoming a neurosurgeon. The Kavyas we know stop at nothing when the smell of success is in the air.
My next pick is thirteen year old semifinalist Aishwarya Eshwar Pastapur. She cites aviator Amelia Earhart as her role model so she has a good head on her shoulders. I see her going far this year.
My final pick is a dark horse long shot. He is a 9 year old speller who reminds me of a petulant 18-year-old Boris Becker. His name is Sriram Hathwar:
Sriram has studied piano for five years and enjoys learning to play new hymns and prayer songs. He likes to swim, ice-skate, ski, and play basketball. In his spare time Sriram may be found reading books in the Harry Potter series or watching Tiger Woods on the putting green. Sriram participated in the 2008 national finals, when he was the youngest contestant in the history of the event. [Link]
Game on. Will you all be watching tomorrow night?