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Plugged In

Hungarian man wins World Yo-Yo contest with “terrifyingly difficult” routine

Plugged In

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(Credit: Duncan)

The resort hotels, amusement parks, and shopping malls of Orlando, Florida’s International Drive are no strangers to quirky forms of entertainment, but it’s not often that a bunch of yo-yos can draw a crowd.

Of course, when the people flinging those yo-yos happen to be the word’s best, it’s worth watching. Over the weekend, the 2013 World Yo-Yo Contest was in town, exhibiting the diversity and approachability of this burgeoning pastime -- and smashing a bunch of world records along the way.

Just take the entry tally for Division 1A, the most prestigious of the weekend’s trick contests and its most popular category by far. Anyone can walk up and enter; this year, almost 200 entrants did just that. That made it a new high for the event, not to mention a headache for contest chairman Greg Cohen.

“We were going crazy. Last year we had 140 or 150 entrants...this year we have 192,” Cohen told Yahoo! Games. “It took eight hours to go through all the one-minute preliminaries. I may never have anyone volunteer to judge them again.”

Cohen’s weary group of judges whittled down that huge field to a mere 13 contestants from a diverse range of nations including the U.S., Mexico, Japan, Indonesia, and Canada. For the first time, the usually dominant U.S. and Japanese contingents failed to land any of the coveted top three slots.

Instead it was Hungarian competitor Janos Karancz, together with his Duncan Barracuda yo-yo, who came out on top, with a routine that yo-yo blogger Steve Brown described as “remarkably clean and terrifyingly difficult.” After watching the video, yeah, that pretty much nails it:

Outside of the main competition, there was still plenty of action. No fewer than three world records fell at the nimble hands of Arizona’s Patrick Mitchell over the weekend -- one of which, the record for successive two-handed “outside-loops,” had stood unbeaten for 17 years. Here’s a highlight reel of Mitchell’s record-breaking run; if you want to see the whole thing, just loop the vid about three times.

Slick though that is, there’s only so many times you can watch a guy throwing the same trick. So here’s something that’ll put a smile on your face: the hilarious double-act Spination and their cops-and-robbers-themed routine, which took first place in the open-ended Artistic Performance category. Who’d have thought that yo-yo tricks and slapstick comedy went together so well?

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