As we gear up for the 2013 World YoYo 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 YoYo Contest.
The mastery of a single style speaks to the greatness of the individual yoyoer; endless hours of practice and innovation are crucial to success. Now imagine doubling that: this is what these five individuals have managed to do at an extremely high level. Being elite in two or more divisions is perhaps one of the most incredible displays of talent possible in the world of yoyo and those who endure the challenges deserve recognition.
5. Shane Karan –
- 1x National Champion (5A), 1x National Champion (4A), 1x Regional Champion (4A), 1x Regional Champion (2A), 1x State Champion (2A)
Shane is the only American to win two divisions at the US National competition in the same year. This feat is very unlikely to ever occur again and thus cements Shane’s spot as a legend of multiple division competition. Additionally, Shane is extremely skilled in 2A remaining competitive in every competition he has entered. Shane’s diverse skill set is why he deserves a spot on this list.
4. Shinji Saito –
- 4x World Champion (Combined Division), 8x World Champion (2A), 2x Asia Champion (2A), 2x National Champion (2A), 1x Regional Champion (2A), 1x 2nd Place Regional (1A)
Everyone knows Shinji for his incredible 2A, but not everyone knows Shinji is an overall yo-yo king. Shinji is the only player to ever win the combined division on the World stage which certainly speaks to his multiple division skill; however, Shinji has never out right seriously competed in any division but 2A (which is why he remains fourth on this list) until 2013 where he took 2nd in 1A at the East Japan Regional. It is probable that Shinji could have dominated any division he wanted to–it just so happens it was 2A.
3. John Ando –
- 1x World Champion (1A), 4x National Champion (2A), 1x Regional Champion (1A)
John was always known for his 2A. Rarely was he seen without two yo-yos on stage, if at all. He took four 2A National titles home before he even won a 1A title, but in 2008 he burst on the scene taking the top spot at one of Japan’s most competitive regionals, East Japan. From there he immediately took his 1A to the next level and won perhaps one of the least expected 1A titles ever with a routine that changed the entire trajectory of the community.
2. Maya Nakamura –
- 1x World Champion (5A), 1x 2nd Place World (3A), 1x National Champion (3A), 1x 2nd Place National (5A), 1x Regional Champion (3A)
Maya Nakamura is the only player to take top 2 in two divisions at the World competition in the same year–taking the 5A title home and placing 2nd in 3A. Maya remains a competitive 5A player today but her 3A, which she appears to have retired from, was equally as competitive in the past taking home the National title. Wildly entertaining and amongst the greats of counterweight, Maya is often underappreciated in her contributions to 3A.
1. Takeshi Matsuura-
- 4x World Champion (5A), 2x Asia Champion (5A), 1x 2nd Place Asia Champion (3A), 5x National Champion (5A), 1x National Champion (3A), 1x 2nd Place Nationals (3A), 1x 4th Nationals (1A), 4x Regional Champion (5A), 1x Regional Champion (1A)
Takeshi is perhaps one of the greatest yo-yoers of all time. His domination of the 5A division is obvious but his unique double-National title in 2010, which is a feat few have ever accomplished, demonstrates Takeshi is elite in all aspects of yo-yo. Additionally, he is extremely competitive in 1A, managing to make to the finals through prelims at the World competition and placing extremely high at Japan Nationals. Takeshi is the pinnacle of multiple division skill–incredible in three divisions.
Honorable Mentions: All THP greats in both 2A and 1A
Who do you think are the greatest multiple division 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.