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Scripps Puts Off Plans for International Spelling Bee

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Looks like the National Spelling Bee isn't going international at all. While the E.W. Scripps Company, which runs the National Bee, says it is still "exploring" the possibility of having an international contest, it currently has no "immediate plans" for the event.

Every year, kids around the U.S. compete in the National Spelling Bee, and Scripps had announced in May 2012 plans to take the competition global due to the growing interest from other countries to participate.

For the previously proposed world spelling competition, Scripps would have invited countries to hold their own contests, with teams from each country taking part in a worldwide bee.

But this creates a conflict for the U.S. competition, which currently already includes participants from the Bahamas, Canada, China, Ghana, Jamaica, Japan and South Korea, in addition to teens from the United States and its overseas territories. If there were a worldwide bee, the national contest would be limited to U.S. residents only, and the folks at Scripps didn't think that would be fair.

Still, the idea is not completely lost for the future, Scripps said Wednesday in a statement.

"After talking with numerous potential sponsors and local organizers, there is clearly enthusiasm around the international concept," said Paige Kimble, director of the Scripps National Spelling Bee. "As such, we will continue to evaluate the idea and opportunity. We maintain a long-term vision of adding a new, international spelling bee and will provide updates as we are able."

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