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.
Today we rank the Top 5 Greatest Counterweight Players of All Time. Since our very own Steve Brown debuted his idea at the Bay Area Classic nearly fifteen years ago, the style has evolved tremendously. The evolution bred countless tricks that have brought a certain level of magic to stages across the world. From ‘astro’ to sideways counterweight, finger grinds to slack combos, counterweight play opened many doors in the world of yo-yo and gave these five individuals a medium to create an enduring legacy.
5. Rafael Matsunaga –
- 1x World Champion, 1x National Champion
The first player outside of the United States and Japan to win a World title in the modern era, Rafael is a legend of counterweight. Innovative in the early stages of counterweight at the World level, much of the mounts and concepts are indebted to Rafael. Promoter, entertaining and organizer, even since retiring from competition, Rafael has remained an important figure in yo-yo.
4. Makoto Numagami –
- 1x World Champion, 1x National Champion, 3x Regional Champion
Makoto won every major competition to be won: regional, national, continental and world. Highly competitive in the X-Division era and capturing his own World title in 5A in 2004, Makoto was one of the biggest competitors of the early decade. He was highly theatrical in his performances and brought a lot of energy and passion to the stage in his routines. Makoto will always be remembered for his contributions to freehand in its early development.
3. Tyler Severance –
- 1x World Champion, 2x National Champion, 18x Regional Champion, 13x State Champion
Tyler took home the World title in 2007—the last before the Takuma-Taskeshi era. Just recently winning his second National title, Tyler is still actively competing and seeking to add to his absolutely massive list of accomplishments. Tyler is well known for his intricate tangler and wrap combos which transcend counterweight influence; his creativity is undeniable with a resume to back it up and thus earns a spot as one of the top counterweight players ever.
2. Takuma Inoue –
- 1x World Champion, 2x National Champion, 4x Regional Champion
The only person to even come close to Takeshi—losing by less than a point in 2012—Takuma is a legend of 5A. With his own World title in 2010, Takuma is a loveable performer known for exclaiming ‘THANK-YOU’ during his performances. Takuma is a highly dedicated competitor. His tricks are all extremely high risk and his accuracy when performing them is just one reason why he is one of the greatest 5A players of all time.
1. Takeshi Matsuura –
- 4x World Champion, 2x Asia Champion, 5x National Champion, 4x Regional Champion
Not even a teenager and Takeshi had begun cementing his legacy. The youngest to ever win a World title at the age of 11, Takeshi was not done there. Recently capturing another Japan National title, he seeks his fifth World title going into the 2013 World contest. Takeshi is a performer in the fullest and his tricks, often performed to near perfection, compliment every aspect of his routine—every time. Takeshi is and will remain the greatest 5A player of all time for the foreseeable future.
Honorable Mentions: Maya Nakamura (World Champion), Steve Brown (counterweight play inventor), Miguel Correa (4x US National Champion), Sterling Quinn (top US competitor).
Who do you think are the greatest counterweight 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.