Here’s an awesome submission we got from the 1960 Hong Kong yoyo champion, Tony Tebbutt. It’s always great to get first-hand accounts of yoyo contests from the “golden age”. Check out what Tony has to say about the contest below. (Thanks to Korda at YoYoStore.cz for sending us this one!)
That’s me in the center of the photograph, the 1960 yo-yo champion of Hong Kong and Macau. I won what was then an enormous prize of $7,500 HKD (editor’s note: that’s about $15,790 USD today!) sponsored by Coca Cola and Russell yo-yo’s. I think this was the first such contest in Asia and the skill level and engineering development of the yo-yo today is light years ahead of what we had in the 1960’s. Nevertheless the competition was as fierce as it is today and the experience was one of the highlights of my life. My ability with the yo-yo never left me and throughout my career I would find occasions to use my yo-yo to bring some fun and levity to speeches to some very large audiences. This Hong Kong boy, born of Eurasian heritage, went on to University in California and senior management positions in Canada and England before becoming the President of a $2 billion US company. Keep practicing, you never know where your yo-yo might take you! Today I am 66, retired, wrote a book on my teenage years in Hong Kong (including the yo-yo contest) and on occasion I still give yo-yo demonstrations.
As a former yo-yo prodigy, it is so exciting to read about the re-emergence of yo-yo contests around the world and then be able to watch some of the performances via YouTube. Technology and Talent have brought the modern-day yo-yo contest to a vastly different skill level vs. the way it was in Hong Kong in the year 1960. In those days, the contest format was very different but the pressure to perform was as grueling as it is for today’s contestants. If you would like to know more about a major yo-yo championship held back in the “old days,” the excitement, the drama and the prizes; I devote an entire chapter in my book A Rising Son In The Land Of Nine Dragons.