BREAKING NEWS: World YoYo Contest Merges With IYYF

Steve Brown February 8, 2013 8

IYYF International YoYo FederationHere is the official statement from the International YoYo Federation:

We are proud to announce that the World Yo-Yo Contest and the newly formed International Yo-Yo Federation (IYYF) are going to merge into one organization, with the IYYF taking over the running of the World Yo-Yo Contest.

IYYF is a nonprofit organization that unites national associations and is designed to become the governing body for yo-yoing as a sport. Starting in 2014 the IYYF will be responsible for hosting the World Yo-Yo Contest. After 14 years as chairman of the contest, Gregory Cohen is passing the torch to the IYYF so that, together with national yo-yo associations, the IYYF will host the WYYC in countries around the world. The planned schedule for the next four years is:

* 2013 United States of America (Orlando, Florida)

* 2014 Czech Republic (Prague)

* 2015 Japan (Tokyo)

* 2016 United States of America

The exact locations and dates of these events will be announced when they become available.

We will do our best to help the yo-yo community grow, support contests and national associations around the world and much more. You can find more information at and at

Ondrej Sedivy (CYA), Hironori Mii (JYYF), Rafael Matsunaga (ABI), Thad Winzenz (NYYL), Gregory Cohen (WYYC)


I spoke with Greg Cohen, who has been running the World YoYo Contest since 2000. “There have been a lot of discussions, and this has taken a long time. I’m not going to lie, it hasn’t been a fun or easy transition.” says Cohen. “But I’m supporting this move because I think it’s best for the community, and for the event. I’m excited to see the World YoYo Contest in Prague in 2014‚Ķhanding it off to the Czech crew is going to be a huge moment for me at Worlds 2013 in Orlando.”

Rafael Matsunaga, president and founder of the Brazilian YoYo Association, says “I’m quite relieved we never got to a split and I’m grateful Greg approached us to talk, even if it took an unfriendly and aggressive move from IYYF to make him realize we were willing to sacrifice continuity in order to promote change.”

The World YoYo Contest has been under-fire for several years now due to the general stagnation of the event. But while plenty of people agree that it was time for the contest to evolve and change hands, others disagreed about how the change started happening.

“Personally I’m stoked to see the formation of the IYYF as both a player and sponsor of many events including the World Yo-Yo Contest,” said Brandon Jackson, National Sales & Marketing Coordinator for Duncan Toys. “Many players have expressed their dissatisfaction with the current state of the World Yo-Yo Contest and this was especially true during the 2012 event as rumors began to fly of a competing world championship to be held in Prague. The rumors created both confusion and excitement amongst players, but the consensus was that of excitement and hope of a bigger, better world championship to be held in a new location. It’s very exciting to see an uprising, especially in the yo-yo community. But it’s even more exciting to see these two organizations come together for the betterment of competition yo-yo play.”

Seth Peterson, Communications and Team Manager for YoYoFactory was a bit more reserved. “It’s interesting to hear this finally come together. It’s cool that Greg’s part of it…surprising, but good. Greg has been instrumental in a lot of different aspects of the community for a very long time. He’s been a figurehead for a lot of people in their growth in the yoyo community, and I’m glad to see that his accomplishments and gifts aren’t being thrown to the wayside by the IYYF. I think last years “Worlds13” announcement came as a surprise to a lot of people, including people who were involved in the goal of moving the contest. I don’t think the way it was presented was to anyone’s benefit, but I’m glad that its been resolved in a way that is clearly moving the event forward. It was hard for me to see the way that Greg was being treated, in spite of my own hopes of moving the contest. I have a lot of respect for Greg and what he’s done, even if we didn’t always agree on aspects of the event.”

There’s certainly still a lot of work to be done, and lots more detail that we’re waiting to see before anyone can really determine if this move will help the event. But I’ve been assured that the IYYF will be an open and transparent organization, with elected board members and representatives from all countries with national organizations given room to speak and contribute.

We’ll continue reporting on this as more information becomes available but in the meantime we offer our congratulations to the IYYF and all involved in this huge step forward for the World YoYo Contest and hopefully all other major contests worldwide.


  1. Henry February 9, 2013 at 10:52 am -

    Gotta admit, I am kind of excited at the thought of following the World YoYo Contest around the world.

    • Steve Brown February 9, 2013 at 12:34 pm -

      I’m just excited at the idea of never going back to Orlando.

  2. Jeff Coons February 9, 2013 at 12:51 pm -

    Great article, Steve. I think these are the kind and quality of articles that will be really good for the success of YoYoNews.

  3. Dave Geigle February 11, 2013 at 5:52 am -

    Great post, Steve. Very well written and the movement itself is also a good consensus.

    Although I always enjoyed coming to the Rosen Plaza (somehow, when you see this big hotel appear, it felt…special?), I really enjoy the idea of being able to move around the globe if I want to spend my vacation at Worlds.

    Hope to see lots of you in Prague 2014!

  4. Jorge Garcia February 11, 2013 at 1:57 pm -

    Great post Steve,

    Who says it’s never returning to Orlando? From the announcement it looks like they’ll be moving it around which is excellent.

    That you don’t like the Rosen Plaza hotel I can understand, there are plenty of large outdoor venues in Orlando and your in the middle of one of the largest tourism areas in the country having it outside with proper advertising could yield some huge turnouts.

    Just in case I’m really going to try to make it this year, since who knows when if ever this will happen again in Florida.

    Thanks for the news, I was worried the community might get swallowed into a civil war of sorts.

  5. Joe Banks February 12, 2013 at 9:17 am -

    Good article,
    I agree with Seth’s comments completely. The first I heard anything about this was a post on January 22, 2012 on YoyoFactory’s facebook, 2013 World yoyo contest Prague, Who will be there? At 2012 Worlds rumors were rampant. Not being an insider I had no knowledge of what was going on. Anything that builds and promotes the sport is good, but Rafael’s comment about a “split,” and ” and an “unfriendly and agressive move,” causes me a little concern about the willingness to create schism and bad feelings, which would not have been a good thing for the community. I agree with Seth, that the way it was presented was not to anyones benefit. Steve is right, time will determine if this move will help the event.

    • Steve Brown February 12, 2013 at 10:41 am -

      To be fair, while the aggressive nature of insisting that the contest change hands may not have been the most respectful way to handle things, quite a few people had attempted to work with Greg previously to accomplish this without any success…for several years.

      The contest has been in stagnation for at least the last 5 five years. And while Greg certainly deserves credit for doing a lot of work to keep the contest going, he unfortunately also deserves the blame for the lack of progress towards a more effective representation of the top level of yoyoing.

      Could it have been handled better? Sure. But is the end result ultimately for the best? As long as it’s handled properly moving forward…absolutely.