11-Year-Old Wins National Geographic Bee

Rebecca Carroll
for National Geographic News
May 21, 2008

Cochabamba is the third largest urban area of what country?

Eleven-year-old Akshay Rajagopal knew, and with the answer—Bolivia—he won the 20th annual National Geographic Bee today in Washington, D.C.

The national finals tested the geographic knowledge of 55 U.S. students in fourth through eighth grade—each contestant was already a winner at the state or territory level. Each finalist is allowed one wrong answer.

(Quiz yourself with the questions from the bee's championship round.)

"I think I just got lucky," said the Lincoln, Nebraska sixth grader, who said after the contest that he was confident of all his answers except one.

Asked what country lies east of Iran and holds the city of Balkh—the supposed birthplace of the ancient 13th-century Persian poet Rumi—Rajagopal wasn't sure.

With magic marker, he wrote "Afghanistan" on his card. His guess was right.

"For the second year in a row, ladies and gentleman, the National Geographic Bee champion is a student who has not missed one question," said the event's moderator, Jeopardy! quiz show host Alex Trebek. "Akshay, way to go!"

(Watch video of the final tense minutes of the bee.)

Narrowing the Field

Nearly five million students took part in National Geographic Bee state and territory competitions this year before the 55 finalists came to National Geographic Society headquarters this week.

(The National Geographic Society owns National Geographic News.)

Continued on Next Page >>



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