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After Being Sidelined By The Pandemic, The Spelling Bee Makes Its Great R-E-T-U-R-N

The 2019 Scripps Spelling Bee co-champions hold up their trophy at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in National Harbor, Md. After pausing in 2020, the competition is back on this year. The finals are Thursday night in Orlando, Fla.
The 2019 Scripps Spelling Bee co-champions hold up their trophy at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in National Harbor, Md. After pausing in 2020, the competition is back on this year. The finals are Thursday night in Orlando, Fla.

Updated July 8, 2021 at 4:12 PM ET

Last year, fans of the popular Scripps Spelling Bee were distraught when the coronavirus spelled an unceremonious end to the 2020 competition. But this year, the game has returned, with special guest Jill Biden attending the Orlando, Fla., event.

Eleven finalists out of more than 200 of the nation's b-e-s-t spellers will take to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at the Walt Disney Resort on Thursday in pursuit of academic prestige and a $50,000 cash prize.


How to watch

The National Spelling Bee will air on ESPN2 and stream online with a subscription at 8 p.m. ET.


The 2020 games were canceled as a result of the coronavirus. This time last year, infection rates were raging, and the world was still months away from approving a vaccine against the virus.

But Thursday night, young scholars from across the country once again have a chance to show off their spelling chops on one of the largest academic stages in the world. FLOTUS (not included in the 2020 official spelling guide, but fun to write nonetheless) is herself an educator, adding extra layer of competition for the spelling hopefuls.

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