STANDARDS

CCSS: 7.G.B.5, MP4, MP6, MP7

TEKS: 7.11C

Yo-Yo Pros

Hobbyists from around the world compete to do the coolest yo-yo tricks

Courtesy of YoyoFactory.com

Betty Gallegos

Betty Gallegos was 12 when she and her mom stumbled across a yo-yo competition in a park near their home in Mexico City. The competitors flung down their yo-yos then bounced them around, creating complex configurations with the strings while the yo-yos kept spinning at the end. Gallegos was amazed by the performances. Her mom bought her a yo-yo, and she’s been doing her own tricks ever since.

Gallegos, now 20, is part of a worldwide community of over 10,000 competitive yo-yoers. They practice for hours, share tutorials on YouTube, and show off their tricks at championship events. In August, Gallegos traveled to Cleveland, Ohio, to compete in the World YoYo Contest.

Betty Gallegos was 12 when she saw her first yo-yo competition. She and her mom came upon the event in a park near their home in Mexico City. The competitors threw down their yo-yos and bounced them around. They created complex shapes with the strings while the yo-yos kept spinning at the end. Gallegos was amazed by the performances. Her mom bought her a yo-yo, and she's been doing her own tricks ever since.

Gallegos is now 20. She’s part of a worldwide community of over 10,000 competitive yo-yoers. They practice for hours and share tips on YouTube. They meet and show off their tricks at championship events. In August, Gallegos traveled to Cleveland, Ohio, to compete in the World YoYo Contest.

Many people hear the word “yo-yo” and think of the classic wooden children’s toy, says Graeme Steller, a yo-yoer and competition host from Boston. But modern yo-yos are often made of lightweight metal or plastic. Many have ball bearings around the center to keep them spinning longer. “It’s definitely evolved over the past 100 years,” Steller says.

For competitions, yo-yoers develop a two- or three-minute routine of tricks choreographed to music. Gallegos starts by picking out a song with a good beat. Then she plans her routine and practices up to three hours a day in the months before a competition. She has to be careful not to let the yo-yo stop spinning or accidentally tie knots in the string.

Graeme Steller is a yo-yoer and competition host from Boston. He says many people think of yo-yos as the classic wooden children's toys. But modern yo-yos are often made of lighter metal or plastic. Many have ball bearings around the center to keep them spinning longer. "It's definitely evolved over the past 100 years," Steller says.

For competitions, yo-yoers develop a routine of tricks performed to music. Gallegos starts by picking out a song with a good beat. Then she plans her routine, which lasts two or three minutes. She practices up to three hours a day in the months before a competition. She has to be careful not to let the yo-yo stop spinning or accidentally tie knots in the string.

Matej Divizna/Getty Images

Yo-yoers compete at the 2014 World YoYo Contest in Prague, Czech Republic.

Judges score a routine on its artistry, technical difficulty, and execution. To maximize points, competitors do as many tricks as possible before the yo-yo’s spinning slows and they throw it down again. Every second counts, says Steller—and so does every mistake.

Gallegos has spent all year preparing for the World YoYo Contest. In April, she competed in the Mexican national championship, where scoring well would earn her an advantage in the world event. The crowd whooped as she spun and bounced her pink metal yo-yo. “When they said my name in first place,” she says, “I was the most happy person in the world.”

Judges score a routine on its style, difficulty, and execution. To get the most points, competitors do as many tricks as possible while the yo-yo is still spinning. When it slows down, they have to throw it down again. Every second counts, says Steller. So does every mistake!

Gallegos has spent all year preparing for the World YoYo Contest. In April, she competed in the Mexican national championship. Scoring well there would earn her an advantage in the world event. The crowd cheered as she spun and bounced her pink metal yo-yo. "When they said my name in first place," she says, "I was the most happy person in the world."

UPDATE: On August 18, Betty Gallegos won the 2019 World YoYo Contest Women’s Division with a final score of 86.6 out of 100. Congratulations Betty!

UPDATE: On August 18, Betty Gallegos won the 2019 World YoYo Contest Women’s Division with a final score of 86.6 out of 100. Congratulations Betty!

Use the interior angles formula to analyze the string configurations in yo-yo tricks. Angles marked with slashes are congruent, or have equal measures. Record your work and answers on our answer sheet.

Use the interior angles formula to analyze the string configurations in yo-yo tricks. Angles marked with slashes are congruent, or have equal measures. Record your work and answers on our answer sheet.

Kate Francis

Two-Handed Star

One of the first tricks many yo-yoers learn is the Two-Handed Star, shown above. What is the sum of the interior angles in the yellow polygon formed by the string?

One of the first tricks many yo-yoers learn is the Two-Handed Star, shown above. What is the sum of the interior angles in the yellow polygon formed by the string?

Find the measurements of the following angles:

Find the measurements of the following angles:

∠ A:

∠ A:

∠ B:

∠ B:

∠ C:

∠ C:

Kate Francis

Ladder Escape

In an expert trick called Ladder Escape, the yo-yo hops through a series of configurations, including the one shown above. Find the measures of these angles:

In an expert trick called Ladder Escape, the yo-yo hops through a series of configurations, including the one shown above. Find the measures of these angles:

∠ D:

∠ D:

∠ E:

∠ E:

∠ F:

∠ F:

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