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A 2010 Spelling Bee Primer

Scene from Thursday's action. (By Ricky Carioti - TWP)

Thursday at the Grand Hyatt, the 2010 Scripps National Spelling Bee completed the preliminary rounds, advancing 48 of the 273 participants into Friday's semifinals. Those semifinalists will be whittled down further during elimination rounds Friday morning on ESPN, yielding somewhere around a dozen championship finalists for the night live broadcast on ABC. I'll be live-blogging the proceedings here. A few things you should know to prepare for the day.

* There are four quasi-locals, including home schooler Lanson Tang from Potomac, former D.C. resident Sonia Schlesinger (now of Tokyo), home schooler Sarah Allen from Waynesboro and home schooler Tim Ruiter of Centreville. The DMV hasn't produced a national champion since Richmond's Amanda Goad in 1992; the immediate D.C. area hasn't produced a champ since Leesburg's Daniel Greenblatt in 1984. Lanson "loves sports," according to his bio, and you should probably root for him.

* Ruiter tied for second a year ago, and is considered one of the favorites this time around. (There are just two other returning finalists.) Here's an outstanding profile of Ruiter from the AP.

* Bios for the rest of the semifinalists are available here.

* CNBC's Darren Rovell provided his annual handicapping of the field, identifying Aditya Chemudupaty, Anamika Veeramani and Neetu Chandak -- a four-time competitor -- as the favorites. Spellers of Indian descent have won two straight championships, and seven of the past 11.

* The AP's D.C. sports bureau, led by Joseph White, annually does Pulitzer-worthy work on the Bee. Among other offerings this year, read about the family ties of many top spellers, the impact of the recession on a traditionally robust Canadian contingent, a terrific look at Bee pronouncer Dr. Jacques Bailly and this gripping rundown of Thursday's events. Best quote:

"The kids are just fun to watch," Bailly said. "Some are 13 and short. Some are 13 and tall. Some are 13 looking like 20. Some are 13 and look like 8."

* The first, and best, live Spelling Bee blog remains over at Throwing Things; please take a peek throughout the day.

* To get you in the mood, here are 11 athletes whose names seem like typos. Yes, Antawn Jamison is included.

By Dan Steinberg  |  June 4, 2010; 8:49 AM ET
Categories:  Weirdness  
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Next: Spelling Bee semifinals, live


"To get you in the mood, here are 11 athletes whose names seem like typos. Yes, Antawn Jamison is included. "

Huh? Laveranues Coles doesn't even make the list?

Still wonderin what his momma was thinkin on that one.

Posted by: Predator48 | June 4, 2010 9:08 AM | Report abuse

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