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Spelling Bee Champs: Where Are They Now?

The Scripps National Spelling Bee is the word nerd’s unofficial start to summer, and this year the first co-champions in decades have been named. Ansun Sujoe and Sriram Hathwar are sharing the 2014 trophy after exhausting the list of competition words.

But what happens years after you take the spelling crown? There are a lot of lawyers and doctors in the post-speller set, but some champions have gone on to surprising careers.

Take Pratyush Buddiga, who won in 2002 with the word “prospicience.” It means foresight, but nobody could have expected that he’d grow up to be a pro-poker player who’s reportedly raked in over one million dollars in winnings.

Then, there’s 1984 champion Dan Greenblatt, who won with the word “luge.” He still works with words, recording commercials and narration as a professional voice over actor.

And 1980 champion Jacques Bailly is another champion who never left the spelling world — in fact, he’s a still a star, working as the official pronouncer at the annual championship. Because the spelling bee’s apparently a bug that sticks with you.

Credit: Bradley Blackburn

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