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Spelling Bee winner explains why he 'airtypes' when spelling and his process is mind-blowing

The 12-year-old set a new record when he spelled 29 words correctly in 90 seconds.

Spelling Bee winner explains why he 'airtypes' when spelling and his process is mind-blowing
Cover Image Source: Bruhat Soma spells his word during the semifinals of the 2024 Scripps National Spelling Bee at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center on May 29, 2024. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

The Scripps National Spelling Bee, establisged in 1925, is America's largest and longest-running educational program. The contest sees hundreds of participants face a high-pressure test that challenges their spelling skills and knowledge. In a historic move, Bruhat Soma, a 12-year-old from Florida, won the competition this year. Stuck in a tiebreaker, the young boy correctly spelled 29 words in 90 seconds to win the championship. He is being widely applauded for the dramatic fashion in which he won the contest.

Image Source: Twelve-year-old Bruhat Soma, of Tampa, Florida, is handed the Scripps Cup by E. W. Scripps Company CEO Adam Symson after winning the 2024 Scripps National Spelling Bee at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center on May 30, 2024 in National Harbor, Maryland. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
Image Source: Twelve-year-old Bruhat Soma is hugged by his family after winning the 2024 Scripps National Spelling Bee on May 30, 2024, in National Harbor, Maryland. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

The 96th edition of the annual competition saw 245 participants from all over the world. This year's contest was not only thrilling but also historic as it was only the second time that the winner was determined by a tiebreaker. Also known as a "spell-off," the tiebreaker round involves the contestants spelling as many words as they can within 90 seconds. So, after an intense battle, the results boiled down to the lightning round between Soma and Faizan Zaki.



 

The 7th grader from Turner/Bartels K-8 School in St. Petersburg was seen spelling difficult words like "bisellium," "mycteric," "endecha" and much more. His winning word, the final word he spelled correctly during the Spell-off, was "abseil." Soma beat Faizan Zaki, who spelled 20 words in 90 seconds, by a landslide of 9 words. His incredible victory saw him bag the prestigious Spell Bee trophy and was handed a staggering cash prize of $50,000 along with a few goodies. 



 

In an interview with TODAY, the young boy talked about his journey to the winner's podium. For Soma, this was his third appearance in the Spelling Bee. He previously competed in 2022, where he tied for 163rd place. Then, he returned in 2023 and tied for 74th place. The 12-year-old called his victory "a dream come true moment."

Talking about his preparation for the competition, the boy said, "I've been working really hard this whole year." He added, "After I lost in the quarterfinals last year, I was really disappointed and I knew I had to work harder to win, so I worked really hard this last year." 

Image Source: Twelve-year-old Bruhat Soma, of Tampa, Florida, is hugged by his family after winning the 2024 Scripps National Spelling Bee at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center on May 30, 2024 in National Harbor, Maryland. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
Image Source: Twelve-year-old Bruhat Soma is hugged by his family after winning the 2024 Scripps National Spelling Bee on May 30, 2024, in National Harbor, Maryland. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

One thing that caught everyone's eye was his unreal talent for air typing while spelling his words. TODAY host Craig Melvin jumped on the curiosity train and asked the boy how he managed to "air type" so fast to which he explained, "So basically I use this website called Spell Pundit and it has the pronunciation of words. What I usually do to practice is to type the word and click enter and it goes on to the next word." He added, "I use the website to study and on stage, I airtype my words to simulate that."

When asked how he intended to spend the prize money, Soma said he would donate it to charity. He said, "I plan to donate the money to the underprivileged, for people who lack basic things like education and food."



 

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