March 23, 2012 at 12:30 PM ET
How did this 6-year-old earn her place in the Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee? By keeping cool amongst competitors of any age, including one Fox News reporter who found himself another casualty of the youngster’s remarkable mind.
After beating out 21 middle school and elementary school opponents in her local town of Dale City, Va., Lori Anne Madison, the youngest contestant in the Prince William County spell-offs, stated she wasn’t threatened by anyone, even those who may have a few years on her.
“I’m confident because I’ve been in a spelling bee with older kids before,” explained Madison. “I judge them for who they are, not their age.”
Giving her a run for her money, FOX 5 DC's Paul Raphel waged his own battle with the young champion, and lost miserably in the process.
The duel began with a win for Madison, who nailed her first word, “okapi,” while Raphel offered a paltry attempt at spelling “tourniquet.”
He tried, “t-e-r-n-i-c-h-e,” but the judges were underwhelmed.
“Not even close,” they said to Raphel.
Madison continued her flawless run on subsequent words, “metacarpal” and “embarrassing,” easily trumping Raphel, who couldn’t even finished the second round.
“I don’t know, I don’t know,” the reporter laughed when broached with the word “lozenge.”
Raphel later offered an explanation for his poor showing after his fellow news anchor wondered if, perhaps, he’d played fool to the elementary schooler.
“I wish I could say that,” said Raphel. “Admittedly, going into this, I told everyone I was a very, very bad speller, but I think I proved this.”
To train for the real competition, Madison says her parents quizzed her, she read lists, and also relied on “a really good memory.”
The impressive little girl also said it felt “great” to be a winner, adding, “It’s hard to put it in words really.”