Vanya Shivashankar, Gokul Venkatachalam

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

Amazing. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G.

Use it in a sentence? Vanya Shivashankar and Gokul Venkatachalam are amazing. BOOM. We win.

No, but really, these two young teens (and we think it's fair to call them geniuses) tied as winners for the Scripps National Spelling Bee on Thursday, which is the second year in a row that something like this has happened. Aside from these past two years, a tie for first place hadn't happened in over 50 years!

How were two competitors declared winners, you ask? Fair question. Basically Shivashankar, 13, of Olathe, Kan., and Venkatachalam, 14, of Chesterfield, Miss., were so good that there weren't enough words left on the competition's list for them to keep facing off until someone was crowned the winner. So they both won.

And you won't believe the final words they had to spell.

Vanya correctly spelled the word "scherenschnitte" (a German word meaning the art of paper cutting) and Gokul correctly spelled the word "nunatak" (exposed, often rocky element of a ridge, mountain, or peak not covered with ice or snow within an ice field or glacier).

Exactly. Geniuses.

This is the eighth consecutive year that Indian-Americans have retained the trophy, and the first year a sibling of a former champion was announced a winner. Vanya's sister, Kavya Shivashankar, won in 2009 on the word "Laodicean," meaning lukewarm. The spelling chops clearly run in the family.

And although getting hit with words like that might make anyone else break a sweat, Vanya and Gokul were cool as a cucumber.

"They're as calm and cool under pressure as anyone we've ever seen here," one of the ESPN announcers said during the broadcast. He later added, "It maybe impossible to stump these two tonight."

He was right.

We and our partners use cookies on this site to improve our service, perform analytics, personalize advertising, measure advertising performance, and remember website preferences. By using the site, you consent to these cookies. For more information on cookies including how to manage your consent visit our Cookie Policy.