As we gear up for the 2013 World Yo-Yo Contest, we take a step back to appreciate and admire the greats of years past. We will be posting the top 5 in each division in the weeks leading up to the World Yo-Yo Contest.
The Single A Division has grown and evolved from the division for people who “couldn’t play two-handed” into the most creative and competitive division in every single yoyo contest in the world. At any given contest, the number of contestants in the 1A Division will outnumber all other divisions combined by 5 to 1. One yoyo, one string, endless possibilities. It was difficult to select only five players for our list…we could easily have filled a Top 20. But the players listed below have proven themselves above and beyond their competition, and have inspired entire generations of players to follow them.
5. Johnnie DelValle –
- 1x World Champion, 1x National Champion, 1x Regional Champion, 2x State Champion
In 2003 Johnnie DelValle won the big three: Bay Area Classic, US Nationals and Worlds. In his iconic 2003 World routine he was the first to ever incorporate a range of body, finger and arm grinds into his routines. In addition, he had technical slack and a striking stage presence (who could forget the dramatic removal of his over shirt?) that perfectly complimented his style.
4. Jensen Kimmitt –
- 1x World Champion, 2x National Champion, 4x Regional Champion, 2x State Champion
Jensen’s run to the world title in 2010 saw a man unbeatable. With an array of US contest wins at the Bay Area Classic, Pacific Northwest, California State, and twice Japan’s 44 Clash, Jensen dominated parts of 2009 and all of 2010 capped off by his decisive win on the World stage. Jensen was known for his incredible flow and style in combination with his eccentric personality which inspired endless yo-yoers. Jensen remains an inspiring figure in yo-yo today.
3. Tomonari ‘Black’ Ishiguro –
- 1x World Champion, 2x National Champion
Innovator of some of the most classic string tricks today, Tomonari ‘Black’ Ishiguro was rewarded with a world title in 2001. Many of his trick elements are still in use today and that only speaks to the level of creativity ‘Black’ brought to the table. His unforgettable performances, most popularly his matrix themed routines, demonstrated he was more than just a competitor; now retired, Black is a full time performer and inspiring many more through the theatrical aspect of yo-yoing as well as his wildly popular TED Talk.
2. Yuuki Spencer –
- 2x World Champion, 3x National Champion, 4x Regional Champion, 3x State Champion
Another innovator of some of the most classic string tricks today, Yuuki Spencer is undoubtedly a legend in the world of yo-yo. As the only player other than Hiroyuki to win more than one world title in 1A, Yuuki is technically unmatched. His 2002 and 2007 routine both demonstrated his creativity; in particular Yuuki’s 2007 routine injected a level of intensity and energy that was unheard of at any level of yo-yo competitions. Yuuki’s contributions to yo-yo bolster his resume and secure his spot near the top of yo-yo’s most competitive division.
1. Hiroyuki Suzuki –
- 4x World Champion, 7x Asia Champion, 6x National Champion, 9x Regional Champion
Over a decade of top 3 placing in the World—it is not difficult to place Hiroyuki ‘Mickey’ Suzuki as the greatest single A player. His incredible choreography, ridiculous speed and technically difficult tricks have proven time and time again why he is the best. Capturing his fourth World title after a full eight years after his first, Hiroyuki has managed to maintain an incredible pace of innovation, accuracy and passion. With no signs of slowing down or retiring from competition, he is clearly not done.
Who do you think are the greatest 1A players of all time? Feel free to post your thoughts below!
As a reminder, these rankings take into consideration competitive players from around 2000 and on.