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World Yo-Yo Contest

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.


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.


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.

  • 2014 Europe (Prague, Czech Republic)
  • 2015 Asia (Tokyo, Japan)
  • 2016 United States of America (Cleveland, Ohio)
  • 2017 Europe (Reykjavik, Iceland)
  • 2018 Asia (Shanghai, China)
  • 2019 United States of America (Cleveland, Ohio)
  • 2020 Europe (Budapest, Hungary)

Current Champions

Style Winner 2nd 3rd
1A Gentry Stein ( USA) Evan Nagao ( USA) Yuki Nishisako ( Japan)
2A Takuma Yamamoto ( Japan) Chun Hay Chan ( Japan) Hajime Sakauchi ( Japan)
3A Hajime Miura ( Japan) Alex Hattori ( USA) Tomoya Kurita ( Japan)
4A Rei Iwakura ( Japan) Tsubasa Onishi ( Japan) Yuki Uchida ( Japan)
5A Hideo Ishida ( Japan) Yoshihiro Abe ( Japan) Sora Ishikawa ( Japan)
AP Shu Takada ( 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.

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.

Country Gold Silver Bronze
 Japan 80 75 67
 USA 27 28 31
 Brazil 1 1
 Canada 1
 Singapore 1 2 2
 Hungary 1
  Switzerland 2
 Hong Kong 1 1
 Taiwan 1 2 1
 Germany 2
 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 Name Other Name Explanation
1A Single Hand String Trick The player uses a long spinning yo-yo to perform tricks that typically require manipulation of the string.
2A Two Hands Looping Trick The player uses two yo-yos simultaneously to perform reciprocating or looping maneuvers.
3A Two Hands String Trick The player uses two long spinning yo-yos and performs tricks with both simultaneously.
4A Offstring The player uses an offstring yo-yo, often releasing the yo-yo into the air and attempting to catch it on the string.
5A Counterweight The player uses a yo-yo with a counterweight on the other end of the string rather than having it attached to a finger.
AP Artistic Performance The 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]

  • Wild-Card (30 seconds)
Any player can enter the Wild-Card round
  • Preliminary (1 minute)
Top-10 at a sanctioned National Competition/Multi-National Competition seeded directly to Preliminary
Top performing competitors from Wild-Card
  • Semi-Final (1:30 minutes)
Top-3 at sanctioned Multi-National Competition & sanctioned National Champions seeded directly to Semi-Final
Top performing competitors from Preliminary
  • Final (3 minutes)
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 Name Other Name Explanation
SH Single Hand 1998.
DH Double Hand 1998.
TM Team 2000.
CH Championship 1992 - 1994.
GC Grand Championship 1995 - 1997.
M Master 1992 - 1997.
X Extreme 2000 - 2002. The combined division of current 3A, 4A, 5A because there were not those divisions excluding 1A and 2A.
CB Combined 2006 - 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 Name Other Name Explanation
WF Women's Freestyle Women freestyle for 3-minutes. They can enter both Women's and Open.
Over 40 Over 40 Freestyle Men and Women over 40 freestyle for 3-minutes. They can enter both 'Over 40' and Open.
DL Diabolo Ladder
DF Diabolo Freestyle
SL Sports Ladder
SF Sports Freestyle
SL Spintop Ladder
SF Spintop Freestyle This is a World Title as certified by ITSA but not a yo-yo division title.
MD Mod The 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.


  1. ^ []. Retrieved 2015-03-13. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. ^ Hopkins, Michelle (2009-04-19). "'Great ambassador' passes away". Richmond News. Retrieved 2009-04-12.
  3. ^ Branch, John (2008-08-18). "Competitors Go To Extremes in World Yo-yo Contest". NY Times. Retrieved 2010-07-14.
  4. ^ []
  5. ^ "Change in WYYC15 seeding from Multi-National Contests – IYYF.ORG".
  6. ^ "Member Organizations – IYYF.ORG".
  7. ^ "Other Recognitions – IYYF.ORG".

External links