VIRGINIA

Lori Anne Madison of Virginia is youngest contestant in National Spelling Bee

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McLEAN, Va. (AP/ ABC7) - Lori Anne Madison acts like a typical 6-year-old girl.

Lori Anne Madison, 6, is the youngest person to qualify for the National Spelling Bee. (Photo: National Spelling Bee).

"I have a normal life. I like to play," Madison says.

But, the precocious little girl is anything but ordinary. Not only is she the youngest person to ever qualify for the National Spelling Bee, she'll be sharing the stage with contestants twice her age.

The bee doesn't have a lower age limit, but no one younger than 8 had ever qualified for the nationals. Spellers can compete until they're 15, or until they've completed eighth grade.

But, the age of her competitors doesn't seem to phase her.

"Honestly it's not as big.. It's not like. .. I'm going to the national spelling bee!.. I'm more like, uh, it's fine," she says.

Home schooled in Prince William County, Madison is well ahead of the curve when it comes to children her own age who are still learning how to read.

No one is expecting Madison to win. But just being there is a unique accomplishment, and making it beyond the preliminaries on Tuesday and Wednesday would be another stunning development.

Madison is one of 14 contestants from the state. There are nine contestants from Maryland and one from D.C.

When she's not spelling sophisticated words, Madison enjoys playing "Angry Birds" and debating with her parents.


Madison adds, "I just do it... and do it and do it....until their heads spin."

And she has big plans for the future.

"I want to be an astrobiologist, because I like biology and astronomy," she explains. "I'm also aiming...to be in the...swimming part of the Olympics."

As for all the autographs and air time, Madison says she just wants to be back to being a normal kid.

"too much of it is really overwhelming... But, not too many....I hope this is going to be my last one.

Madison still has to make it past the preliminaries on Wednesday and the semi-finals before she is eligible to compete in the finals on Thursday night. And if she doesn't make it that far, she still has nine more years to compete.

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