Akash Vukoti At Spelling Bee

Every year, countless elementary and middle school students take the stage at events like the Scripps National Spelling Bee, taking on words that the majority of the population hasn't even seen before. For this, they seize nationwide attention – but what goes on behind the scenes for these mental athletes isn't always as glamorous.

In a feature on the latest edition of HBO Real Sports, correspondent Soledad O'Brien gives in an in-depth look at the rigorous preparation that these competitors undertake before their respective events. It proves that the best of the best have offseason work ethics on par with those of elite stars in any sport.

Here's a clip from the story that premieres Tuesday at 10 p.m. ET/PT:

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