World Yo-Yo Contest

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World Yo-Yo Contest

The World Yo-Yo Contest is the culminating yo-yo competition of the worldwide competitive circuit and is considered the most prestigious yo-yo competition in the world. The winner of this competition in any of the six championship divisions is deemed the World Yo-Yo Champion—the only event to award such a title. The contest attracts competitors from all over the world, and an increasingly large number of spectators. The competition is currently run by the International Yo-Yo Federation (IYYF) and the respective host nation's national organization. As of 2015, 33 countries [1] have fed into the World Yo-Yo Contest from their respective national yo-yo contests.

Yo-yo toy

A yo-yo is a toy consisting of an axle connected to two disks, and a string looped around the axle. It has some similarities to a slender spool.



The first World Yo-Yo Contest was held in London, England, in 1932. The winner was Harvey Lowe. [2] However, the contest was not held annually until 1992, [3] when Dale Oliver started one in Montreal, Canada during that year's annual International Jugglers' Association's (IJA) convention. The contest was held during this convention until 1999, when it was held in Hawaii. The 2000 contest was held at Universal Studios in Orlando, but in 2001, the event moved to the Rosen Plaza Hotel, where it was held annually until 2013 by Gregory Cohen, owner and operator of YoYoGuy and Infinite Illusions. After the 2013 contest, an international coalition (the IYYF) was formed to organize a new, rotating contest which will be held in a different venue/country every year.

Harvey Lowe was a Canadian radio presenter and world yo-yo champion.

International Jugglers Association

The International Jugglers' Association or IJA is the world's oldest and largest nonprofit circus organization, and is open to members worldwide. It was founded in the United States in 1947, with the goal of providing, "an organization for jugglers that would provide meetings at regular intervals in an atmosphere of mutual friendship." Though its focus lies on juggling, its programs also support other circus disciplines.

Hawaii U.S. state in the United States

Hawaii is a state in the Pacific United States. It is the most recent state to join the United States, on August 21, 1959. Hawaii is the only U.S. state geographically located in Oceania, although it is governed as a part of North America, and the only one composed entirely of islands. It is the northernmost island group in Polynesia, occupying most of an archipelago in the central Pacific Ocean.


Following the creation of the IYYF in 2013, The World Yo-Yo Contest now cycles between America, Europe, and Asia. This cycling is scheduled through 2018. The bidding process involves the IYYF and the interested National Organization. After finals of the 2016 WYYC on day 4, Steve Brown announced a bid for the 2018 WYYC in Shanghai, China.

Current Champions

1AGentry Stein (Flag of the United States.svg  USA)Evan Nagao (Flag of the United States.svg  USA)Yuki Nishisako (Flag of Japan.svg  Japan)
2ATakuma Yamamoto (Flag of Japan.svg  Japan)Chun Hay Chan (Flag of Japan.svg  Japan)Hajime Sakauchi (Flag of Japan.svg  Japan)
3AHajime Miura (Flag of Japan.svg  Japan)Alex Hattori (Flag of the United States.svg  USA)Tomoya Kurita (Flag of Japan.svg  Japan)
4ARei Iwakura (Flag of Japan.svg  Japan)Tsubasa Onishi (Flag of Japan.svg  Japan)Yuki Uchida (Flag of Japan.svg  Japan)
5AHideo Ishida (Flag of Japan.svg  Japan)Yoshihiro Abe (Flag of Japan.svg  Japan)Sora Ishikawa (Flag of Japan.svg  Japan)
APShu Takada (Flag of Japan.svg  Japan)

List of past World Yo-Yo Champions

Winners by Country & Players

Hiroyuki Suzuki of Japan winning his fourth World Title in 2012. He also won in 2004, 2005, and 2006. Hiroyuki Suzuki Winning World Title.jpg
Hiroyuki Suzuki of Japan winning his fourth World Title in 2012. He also won in 2004, 2005, and 2006.

The World Yo-Yo Contest has historically been dominated by the Japanese-taking home 85 World Titles in the past 22 years. [4] The United States has also had a lesser dominance, taking home 27 World Titles.

Shinji Saito remains the most decorated yo-yoer of all-time with 13 World Titles. Takeshi Matsuura is second with 7.

Flag of Japan.svg  Japan 807567
Flag of the United States.svg  USA 272831
Flag of Brazil.svg  Brazil 11
Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg  Canada 1
Flag of Singapore.svg  Singapore 122
Flag of Hungary.svg  Hungary 1
Flag of Switzerland.svg   Switzerland 2
Flag of Hong Kong.svg  Hong Kong 11
Flag of the Republic of China.svg  Taiwan 121
Flag of Germany.svg  Germany 2
Flag of Mexico.svg  Mexico 1

In 2003, Brazil's Rafael Matsunaga became the first player outside Japan or the United States to win a World Title, doing so in 5A (Counterweight). In 2004, Hiroyuki Suzuki won his first World Title. Both Daisuke Shimada and Shinji Saito won their third World Title in as many years. Hiroyuki Suzuki became the first player to ever win back-to-back titles in the 1A division in 2005. Shinji Saito continued his dominance, winning his fourth World Title in the 2A division. Kentaro Kimura won the 3A division with what is considered the greatest 3A routine of all time in 2009. In 2010, Canada's Jensen Kimmitt became the first player outside Japan or the United States to win a World Title in 1A. Without Shinji Saito entering the 2A division, Yashushi Furakawa won the World Title. Singapore's Marcus Koh became the second player outside of the United States or Japan to win in the 1A division. Shinji Saito also returned from a year competition hiatus to win the 2A division for a record eighth time. In 2012, Switzerland's inmot!on became the first team outside Japan or the United States to win the Artistic Performance (AP) division. It was also the first ever World Title won by European competitors. In 2013, Hungary's Janos Karancz became the first European to win the 1A division at the World Yo-Yo Contest. 2013 was also the first, and only, year to feature a top-3 in 1A with no players from Japan or the United States. In 2014, Rei Iwakura completed a flawless routine in the 4A division en route to his third World Title.

Championship Divisions

The World Yo-Yo Contest has 6 championship divisions that award the title of 'World Yo-Yo Champion'

Division NameOther NameExplanation
1ASingle Hand String TrickThe player uses a long spinning yo-yo to perform tricks that typically require manipulation of the string.
2ATwo Hands Looping TrickThe player uses two yo-yos simultaneously to perform reciprocating or looping maneuvers.
3ATwo Hands String TrickThe player uses two long spinning yo-yos and performs tricks with both simultaneously.
4AOffstringThe player uses an offstring yo-yo, often releasing the yo-yo into the air and attempting to catch it on the string.
5ACounterweightThe player uses a yo-yo with a counterweight on the other end of the string rather than having it attached to a finger.
APArtistic PerformanceThe performer uses any type of yo-yo or other prop for an open-ended performance which emphasizes choreography and stage presence.

Championship Division Structure

There are a series of preliminary rounds before the final round at the World Yo-Yo Contest. In the past, anyone could enter the World Yo-Yo Contest. Competitors were allowed a one-minute routine, and a set number of players would make the finals. The preliminary rounds have been evolving over the years to accommodate the growing popularity of competitive yo-yos around the world.

In the 1A division, there are currently four rounds of competition. In 2A-5A, there is currently only the Preliminary (1 minute) and the Final (3 minute). [5]

Any player can enter the Wild-Card round
Top-10 at a sanctioned National Competition/Multi-National Competition seeded directly to Preliminary Top performing competitors from Wild-Card
Top-3 at sanctioned Multi-National Competition & sanctioned National Champions seeded directly to Semi-Final Top performing competitors from Preliminary
Previous Year's World Champion seeded directly to Final

Sanctioned Seeding Competitions

Players can earn a seed to various rounds of the preliminaries through Multi-National Competitions, National Competitions, and the previous year's World Yo-Yo Contest.

  1. European Yo-Yo Championship (Kraków, Poland)
  2. Las Vegas Yo-Yo Championship (Las Vegas, United States)
  3. Asia Pacific Yo-Yo Championship (Singapore, Singapore)
  4. Latin American Yo-Yo Championship (Mexico City, Mexico)
  5. Previous year's World Yo-Yo Contest (Prague, Czech Republic)
  6. One of 33 IYYF approved National Competitions

Defunct Championship Divisions

The World Yo-Yo Contest has also held other championship divisions that are now defunct either because it was replaced or had judging standardization issues.

Division NameOther NameExplanation
SHSingle Hand1998.
DHDouble Hand1998.
CHChampionship1992 - 1994.
GCGrand Championship1995 - 1997.
MMaster1992 - 1997.
XExtreme2000 - 2002. The combined division of current 3A, 4A, 5A because there were not those divisions excluding 1A and 2A.
CBCombined2006 - 2009. This is the Combined Division, where players have to compete and demonstrate skill in multiple styles. Due to difficulties with judging, this division was removed in 2010. Shinji Saito remained the only person to ever win this division (winning all four years it was held) .

Non-Championship Divisions

In addition to these World Divisions, the World Yo-Yo Contest also hosts additional divisions such as the 'Women's Division' and, in 2015, the 'Over 40 Freestyle'. There is also numerous yo-yo modifying and design contests, known in the field as modding. These non-championships divisions do not award the title of 'World Yo-Yo Champion'.

Division NameOther NameExplanation
WFWomen's FreestyleWomen freestyle for 3-minutes. They can enter both Women's and Open.
Over 40Over 40 FreestyleMen and Women over 40 freestyle for 3-minutes. They can enter both 'Over 40' and Open.
DLDiabolo Ladder
DFDiabolo Freestyle
SLSports Ladder
SFSports Freestyle
SLSpintop Ladder
SFSpintop FreestyleThis is a World Title as certified by ITSA but not a yo-yo division title.
MDModThe player produces and designs a self-made yoyo.

Participating Nations

There are 33 countries currently registered [6] with the IYYF that have the right to seed a National Champion into the semi-final round at the World Yo-Yo Contest. IYYF is also in communication with several other countries [7] (denoted by *), but, currently, these countries do not have the right to seed a National Champion to the semi-finals.

Related Research Articles

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Steve Brown is an award-winning competitive yo-yo player, competition judge, yo-yo designer, and yoyo blogger currently based out of North Olmsted, Ohio. He is currently the editor for and a co-producer of the Triple Crown of YoYo events. In 2001, the National Yo-Yo League named him as one of eight National Yo-Yo masters. He has designed multiple yo-yos, including the "Cherry Bomb" for Team Losi. While employed by Duncan Toys Company as marketing and promotions coordinator, Brown invented and patented freehand yo-yo play where instead of being attached to the finger, the string is actually attached to a counterweight, and designed a line of yo-yos for the new style. He also authored a book called Duncan Yo-Yo Trick Book while employed by the company.

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