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Spelling Bee 2017: Which D.C athletes have the hard names to spell?

Spelling Bee 2017: Which D.C athletes have the hard names to spell?

On Thursday afternoon, the finals of the 2017 Scripps National Spelling Bee takes place at the Gaylord National Resort & Casino in Oxon Hill, Md.

The Spelling Bee is one of the many great "It's not REALLY sports, but it's wacky-yet-interesting competition and I'm kinda OK with that" events that fill the offseason months.

It's almost like the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating contest, but for kids ... and with words.

If you think about it, the Spelling Bee is basically just an orthographical and etymological hot-dog eating contest. Yeah. Let's go with that.

Bu that aside, the finals of the annual Spelling Bee are taking place in our backyard and it once again got us thinking about some of the most difficult and confusing DC athlete names of past and present.

Watch the above video.

It will properly explain just how hard it is to spell "Gheorghe Muresan" out loud, without time to prepare. It's not easy.

But Muresan is hardly the lone D.C. athlete name that gives writers and broadcasters fits.

-- Ruben Boumtje-Boumtje (Georgetown 1997-2001): A name so Boumtje, they'd Boumtje'd him twice.

-- Al Iafrate (Capitals 1990-94): Sounds like "Al Eye-uh-fray-tee."
Pronunciation spoonerism:"Eye Al-uh-fray-tee."

-- Kirk Cousins (Redskins 2012-Current): K-I-R-K, C-O-U-S-I-N-S
Common Misspelling: Curt Cousins, Kirk Cousin, Curt Cousin

-- Gus Frerotte (Redskins 1994-98): Sounds like: "Fur-rot"
Ex.: After running head-first into an end zone wall, GUS FREROTTE will miss the Redskins' next seven games.

-- Odrisamir Despaigne (Orioles 2006): 85 Scrabble points for "Despaigne."

-- Tom Gugliotta (Bullets 1992-94): Sounds like "Googly-aught-uh." 
Alternate Spelling: "THE GOOGS!"

-- Kirk Hinrich (Wizards 2010-11): Often confused with similarly sounding "Curt" (kert).
Origin: Low Germanic/Nordic. One of too many iterations.

-- Sonny Jurgensen (Redskins 1964-74): So many potential ways to spell "Jurgensen." Only one way to spell "Sunny" "Sonny."

-- Kory Lichtensteiger (Redskins 2010-16): Sounds like "Cory Lickten-styger." 
Ed. Note: Why can't you just spell it with a "C"? 

-- Shaone Morrisonn (Capitals 2003-10): "Shaone Morrisonn" is a copy editor's worst nightmare.

-- Michal Neuvirth (Capitals 2008-2014): Nueverth? Newvirth? Neuverth? Nuevirth? Noiverth? Nouverth? 

-- Jayson Werth (Nationals 2011-Current): Why, just why?
Similar: Y, just Y.


Maryland native Frances Tiafoe takes Roger Federer to the brink; nearly forces U.S. Open stunner

Maryland native Frances Tiafoe takes Roger Federer to the brink; nearly forces U.S. Open stunner


On Tuesday night, College Park, Md. native Frances Tiafoe nearly did the unthinkable.

19-year-old Tiafoe took five-time U.S. Open champion Roger Federer to a fifth and final round at Arthur Ashe Stadium in Flushing, N.Y. before Federer squeaked out the victory, 4-6, 6-2, 6-1, 1-6, 6-4.

Not only did Tiafoe take Federer the distance, but the highly touted American teen took the first set 6-4.

Federer, who has twice as many grand slam championships than Tiafoe has grand slam appearances, won the next two sets with relative ease.

Tiafoe, who began training at the Junior Tennis Champions Center in College Parl at four years old, could not be put away.

He won four of five break points, and only committed 49 unforced errors to Federer's 56. But Federer's 17 aces and 49 first-serve winners were too much for young upstart.

While Tiafoe exits the tournament with a loss, the five-set thriller against one of the greatest tennis players of all time, the Maryland native and breakout star continues on his meteoric trajectory.

Remembering Jim Vance, a Washington institution and the city's guiding light

NBC Washington

Remembering Jim Vance, a Washington institution and the city's guiding light

Washington, D.C. is a city of great institution, and in its human form, there was no greater institution than Jim Vance. 

For 45 years -- the longest of any newscaster in the region -- Vance treated every Washingtonian with courtesy, respect and the ability to not just read the news, but talk with you about it. The latter is an important distinction in this city, one ruled by political grandstanding and ruthless social posturing.

On Saturday, the nation's capital lost its kindest, most charismatic and respected voice of news and information, as Vance passed away at the age of 75.

I am not writing this as an employee of NBC Universal, nor am I writing this as a former intern at NBC4.  I am writing this as the son of a Washingtonian. I am writing this as a 32-year old who was born and raised in Washington, D.C. Someone who took the local bus to high school every day, the same bus adorned with his NBC4 headshot.

I am writing this as someone who loves Washington, D.C. as not the seat of American politics, but the greatest local community in the country.

And Vance was the face and the voice of the local community.

But what made Vance great was not what he did, but how he did it.

Vance was as charming a newscaster as you will ever see. He was polite but direct. He could make you laugh and make you cry. He made you care about the community, whether you grew up on a metro line or simply spent a summer interning on one.

I did not know Jim Vance on a personal level. I met him on several occasions as an intern, and as incredible of a journalist as he was, what always shined was his urbane sophistication and truly warm demeanor.

He was the same person on television as he was in the newsroom, and was that very same person when you ran into him at the local florist. He was Washington D.C.'s guiding light. The city's voice of knowledge and community.

It's why despite hundreds of thousands of Washingtonians not knowing Jim Vance on a personal level, each and everyone felt like he was a part of their extended family.

We welcomed him into our houses every day.

We discussed the local happenings and important world issues.

We groaned when local teams were eliminated from the playoffs and shared imaginary yet all-too-real hi-fives when the teams won. 

He wasn't just a newscaster. He was a Washingtonian. He was the guy whose photo you saw on the wall at local delis and the guy who stood behind you in-line at the very same place. 

Death is human, but influence is forever. Jim Vance truly is a Washington institution, one that will never die.