YoYoFactory team members Tyler Severance and Harold Owens III are dropping another taste of their freestyles for the upcoming 2013 World YoYo Contest. Competition is going to be fierce this year, and Harold & Tyler are stepping up early as the American players to beat in 1A and 5A, respectively.
World YoYo Contest Organizer Charged With Tax Evasion
Gregory Cohen, the lead organizer for the World YoYo Contest since 2000, was arrested last week and immediately released on bond for failure to pay sales tax to the state of Florida. Authorities say that he failed to file six consecutive tax returns, which are due monthly in the state of Florida. According to our sources, all six of the tax returns in question were from 2010 and Cohen had been working with authorities for some time to remedy the situation when the warrant was issued. While some news sources are reporting specific dollar amounts owed, these dollar amounts are from a press release issued by the local prosecutors office and reflect the total amount if the maximum penalties are assigned, and are not indicative of the actual amount of back taxes owed. YoYoNews has been unable to confirm the actual amount of back taxes owed from 2010, but has confirmed that Cohen is one of at least a dozen local Leon County businesses who have suddenly been pulled off their back tax payment plans and arrested.
We immediately contacted Cohen for comment, and while he was unable to comment on the specific nature of the charges or his tax situation, YoYoNews was assured that “This is completely separate from the World YoYo Contest business and bookkeeping, and will not affect the 2013 World YoYo Contest or the transfer of the event to the IYYF.” Normal procedure for serious tax offenses is for business assets to be immediately seized and auctioned and the State of Florida has shown no interest in doing this. In light of this, YoYoNews has drawn the conclusion that while this arrest certainly indicates that Cohen is a lousy bookkeeper, it’s a simple matter of Cohen working with the State of Florida to rectify the situation and moving on. Hopefully with a better accounting system.
The IYYF was unavailable for a comment.
Gregory Cohen has been an influential, and sometimes controversial, member of the yoyo industry since the early 90s. His store, Infinite Illusions, was widely recognized as the first online yoyo retailer and for many years was easily the largest and most comprehensive. Cohen was an early pioneer of “boutique” yoyo and accessory manufacturing and retail; at a time when ordering spare wooden axles for a yoyo usually meant writing to the manufacturer and waiting weeks for your yoyo to be serviceable again, Cohen became a one-stop shop for string, axles, parts, and accessories. His mailorder business began slowing with stiff competition from companies like the now-defunct YoYoNation, and since YoYoExpert took the position of the world’s largest online yoyo retailer, Infinite Illusions has closed down almost completely.
Cohen took over the World YoYo Contest in 2000 from Dale Oliver, who had been running it in conjunction with IJA juggling festivals. Cohen expanded the event to a stand-alone event held in Orlando, Florida with almost triple the attendance over the past decade; registered attendees have gone from 315 in 2000 to almost 900 in 2012. Cohen has come under fire in recent years for his inability to grow the contest beyond its current size, and recently agreed to turn over the World YoYo Contest to the IYYF, an independent managing body that would oversee the contest being outside of the United States for the first time since 1932.
The 2013 World YoYo Contest will be his last event as organizer.
BREAKING NEWS: World YoYo Contest Merges With IYYF
Here 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 http://iyyf.org and at http://worldyoyocontest.com
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…handing 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.
YoYoRadio To Break News About World YoYo Contest
This week’s YoYoRadio broadcast will feature an interview with Ondrej Sedivy, Rafael Matsunaga and Hironori Mii. The three international yoyoers will make an announcement on YoYoRadio about the future of the hotly-contested World Yo-Yo Contest, and YoYoRadio will be the first place they will make this announcement.
Looks like we’re finally going to get some answers to the tremendous number of questions raised by the announcement last August that a group of yoyo players were actively working towards creating a rival World YoYo Contest after several years of failed negotiations with the current World YoYo Contest organizer to improve and move the event.
The current World YoYo Contest has been stagnant for quite a few years now, and while a great deal of thanks are due to Greg Cohen, who took over the contest more than a decade ago, it’s clear that it’s now time for the event to evolve beyond what is currently being offered. While the manner in which this “takeover” was held was certainly counterproductive, no one can deny that hiding the contest away in a hotel ballroom for the past decade hasn’t helped the sport or industry in the slightest. We’re greatly looking forward to hearing this broadcast, and will be tuned in with everyone else to find out what is happening.
YoYoRadio is the world’s first internet radio show by and for yoyoers. Started in 2005, YoYoRadio broadcasts live each Friday at 9:30 pm (EST). Listeners can listen live and/or download the one hour show after the fact. To listen to the live show, click the ‘Listen Now’ tab at YoYoRadio.net between 9:30 pm and 11 pm (EST) on Fridays. To listen to previous shows, click the ‘Show Archive’ Tab at YoYoRadio.net. Listeners can call the show via Skype (yoyoradio) or via phone (302) 319-9696.
Top 10 YoYo Players on Twitter
Everyone loves a Top Ten list, right? The kids go crazy for the Twitter these days, so I thought it was about time someone ranked the best yoyo players on Twitter. Because, you know, if it’s not ranked, does it really exist? And besides, all the cool blogs have Top Ten lists, so here’s ours!
10 – Ann Connolly – @annmayy
Best Recent Tweet: I woke up to bloody toes with bruises and remnants of neon paint all over my body. I just @ Coral Bungalows http://instagr.am/p/Te94izG3Tj/
Ann’s arguably the world’s best known female yoyoer. She’s been traveling quite a bit recently and her Twitter feed has taken a bit of a travelog feel about it.
9 – Drew Tetz – @drewtetz
Best Recent Tweet: clippers died halfway through my haircut. i look like two-face, or an urban outfitters employee. please charge faster.
Drew’s one of the good guys of yoyoing. He tweets about yoyoing, art, design, and his many creations including lasercut yoyos and kendamas.
8 – Paul Escolar – @paulescolar
Best Recent Tweet: My recycled plastic/wood composite desk chair just
cracked. Sh*t just got real. going #GREEN is not for #FATTIES .
Runner Up: WOW, That was a Good Belch! I don’t remember the last time i had one that was more than a mere Burp. #BOOGERWOULDBEPROUD
Fabulously funny Paul really rarely tweets about yoyos, but his tweets are funny and, yes, fabulous. And for good measure, follow him on Instagram for peeks at his sketchbook.
7 – Ed Haponik – @kinopah
Best Recent Tweet: more and more, i find the overall quality of my original tricks to be inversely proportional to their length. http://vimeo.com/56491225
A school teacher by trade, Ed is almost poetic in his writing. OK, strike the ‘almost’, he IS poetic. He even avoids capital letters in a nod to poet e.e. cummings. Smart, thoughtful feed from a good guy. If you’re looking for a role model in yoyoing, you could do worse than Ed Haponik. For example, Steve Brown. See? Definitely worse than Ed Haponik.
6 – Hiroyuki Suzuki – @HSJPN
Best Recent Tweet: Christopher Chia met Ludacris when he was shooting ANGLAM Ver.CC Video! pic.twitter.com/uyp5B86s
Multi-time world 1A champion posits on his store, his yo-yos, mainly in Japanese, but sometimes in English.
5 – Takahiko Hasegawa @Taka_yoyo
From what I could find, Taka is the world’s most followed yoyoer on Twitter. (Keep in mind my study consisted of a bored Sunday afternoon on the internet). That’s the good news. The bad news is Take tweets solely in Japanese. Still, there’s lots of pics of cool yoyos!
4 – Daniel Ickler – @ZammyIckler
Best Recent Tweet: I wish they made pizza on a stick, like how a corndog is like.
Runner Up: Merry Z-Mas and Zammy New Year to all! Sorry if as Zammy Clause is delievering yoyos that he breaks a door..or chimney.
Endlessly entertaining feed, some of which was actually intended to be funny! The personable Zammy will tweet about anything and everything.. .be forewarned, he’s liable to put a ‘z’ in just about any word. In the immortal words of Fat Albert & the Cosby Kids – “And if you’re not careful, you may learn something before it’s done!”
3 – Chris Mikulin – @clyw_canada
Best Recent Tweet: Oh ya FYI we’re making a plastic return top!!! Lol … Soooo stoked 🙂
Chris has proven time and time again to be one of the sweetest guys in the industry, and his Twitter feed shows the results of that….a nearly endless stream of love and support from CLYW fans, peppered with news about CLYW releases and videos.
2- YoYoFactory – @yoyofactory
Best Recent Tweet: Just saw the @yoyoskills award list. Lol. Not sure who is kidding who. #undeniable
Ben McPhee’s in charge of the Twitter feed at YoYoFactory and he’s quite a personality. The guy that everyone loves to hate weighs in on style, life and (occasionally) yoyoing.
1 – Steve Brown – @unklesteve
Best Recent Tweet: I’d love to write a sequel to The Vagina Monologues made of stories from male audience members who didn’t know what they were going to see.
The never-shy Steve Brown is always entertaining and often polarizing. He’s been around long enough to know just about everyone in yoyoing and at some point has pissed off all of them.
Steve also maintains @365YoYoTricks (one new yoyo trick every day), @sbgallery (his online art gallery), @triplecrownyoyo (official Twitter account for the Triple Crown of YoYo contest), and @shinbonetweet (his company that handles digital sculpting and prototyping).
YoYoRadio – @YoYo_Radio
Shameless self promotion. The world’s first internet radio show about yoyoing called yoyoradio.net. Yes, there is a second internet radio show about yoyoing called yoyoradio.net. We were first. We are best. TAKE THAT, copycat Japanese yo-yo radio!
World Yo-Yo Contest – @wyyc
Best Recent Tweet: Testing the WYYC twitter feed.
Runner-Up: No, that’s it. It’s the biggest yo-yo contest in the world , and their Twitter feed amounts to one tweet that’s over two years old. And they wonder why people want the contest to move out of Orlando…
That’s all, folks! And don’t forget to follow @YoYoNewsBlog on Twitter for the latest updates on stories just like this one. How incredibly meta!
2012 World YoYo Contest Clip Video – David Ung
David Ung just released this great clip video of footage from the 2012 World YoYo Contest in Orlando…well worth a look!
Fixed Axle Throwdown 2012
David Ung was awesome enough to put together this great clip video showcase of the Fixed Axle Throwdown from the 2012 World YoYo Contest. Be sure to check out Ed Haponik’s amazing kendo catch at 1:52.
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