Spelling champion back home in Queens

June 2, 2013 10:06:19 PM PDT
Arvind Mahankali is back home in Queens, resting comfortably in the knowledge that the German language will no longer haunt the National Spelling Bee Champion.

"Me and the German language are now inseparable friends," said Arvind.

On Thursday night, when the 13-year-old correctly spelled "knaidel", the German word for dumpling, he nabbed the championship trophy in the 86th Annual Scripps National Spelling Bee, along with $30,000 in cash and prizes.

The 8th grader finished third the last two years, and it was German words that stumped him each time.

Arvind and his parents made sure that wasn't going to happen again.

"This time definitely he focused on German words. And any word that has anything remotely connected to German, he studied very hard," said Arvind's father, Srinivas.

So how hard did he study? Arvind studied 4 hours every weekday, and 6-8 hours during the weekend. Arvind used the Webster's 3rd New International Dictionary, 2002 edition. That is the standard, and has 470,000 words.

Arvind acknowledges he doesn't know how to spell a couple of those 470,000 words, and he is thankful he didn't get one of them.