Hundreds of competitors flock to Cleveland for 2016 World Yo-Yo Contest

Last year's event was held in Tokyo
Posted at 10:17 AM, Aug 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-04 11:14:44-04

From Prague, to Tokyo and now Cleveland, the best yo-yo players on the planet are downtown competing in the 2016 World Yo-Yo Contest. 

The contest is not only unique to Cleveland, but Ohio too. This is the first time the World Yo -Yo Contest has been held in the Buckeye State.

The event includes five styles of play: 1A (single yo-yo), 2A (double yo-yo looping), 3A (double yo-yo sleeping), 4A (offstring) and 5A (counterweight).

Northeast Ohio yo-yo native Steve Brown, the inventor of the 5A style of play, said this could be the biggest international event the yo-yo community has ever seen.

Hundreds of competitors, from more than 30 countries, will put on a show for the judges starting on Monday using their own music and choreographed routine.

Earnst Kahn, a 29-year-old from San Francisco has been in the yo-yo community for 17 years. He first picked up the toy when he was growing up in the Philippines. 

"I had a lot of time on my hands, yo-yoing was just a great form of escapism, kind of like skateboarding, and it was just something fun to do." 

Kahn described it as 'art in motion.' "I feel that it is very pleasing to the naked eye," he said. 

Pleasing and complex.

“Now we have yo-yo’s off the string, tied to dices, two yo-yo’s at the same time. There’s many styles," Kahn said.

Kahn is vying for first place in the contest for his second time.

“I just want to put something out that I’m proud of," he said. 

Ivan Maslin, a 19-year-old, flew to Cleveland from Russia for his first shot at the competition. Maslin has been practicing for two to three hours a day for months in preparation. 

The player of seven years said everyone has to focus on executing a trick with the beat of their music. 

"The judges and are looking at the music and the tricks, how complicated they are," Maslin said. "It's about showmanship."

The Greater Cleveland Sports Commission said it's an honor to host the competition. “The Yo-Yo Contest is another amplifier of Cleveland’s positive energy and changing a narrative turbocharged by the Cleveland Cavaliers historical championship run and an equally successful, Republican National Convention,” said David Gilbert, president and CEO, Greater Cleveland Sports Commission. “The event itself will bring more than a thousand competitors and fans from as far as Japan, Iceland and numerous other countries, the majority of whom will see our championship city for the first time as we are shining our brightest.”

The event runs from Aug. 3-6 at the  Renaissance Cleveland Hotel.  Click here for more information.