National Spelling Bee stalwarts persevere through 2-year gap

(AP, U.S.) — Competitors in the Scripps National Spelling Bee got lessons in patience and perseverance after last year’s bee was canceled because of the pandemic.

Spellers normally train year-round for the bee, studying for hours a day.

The cancellation forced them to buckle down for another year before getting a shot at spelling’s top prize.

The bee itself underwent major changes since the last in-person competition, which ended in an eight-way tie because Scripps’ word list wasn’t strong enough to challenge the champion spellers.

The finals of this year’s bee will be held on Thursday night at an ESPN campus in Florida.

The field was cut to 11 spellers during a few weeks of virtual competition.