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Utah college student wins world yo-yo championship

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Posted at 9:03 AM, Sep 24, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-24 09:03:37-04

Provo, UT (KSL) — In a normal block of college apartments sits a normal college student.

“Hopefully figuring it out,” said BYU sophomore Zach Gormley, speaking on his difficulties in pinning down a major. “I mean, slowly figuring it out. I’m thinking about switching over to computer science.”

On campus, Gormley’s just another indecisive college student, but parts of his other life have started to peek through.

“I’ve occasionally had a couple people come up to me and be like, ‘Hey, are you the Yo-yo Guy?'” he said.

“The Yo-yo Guy” is a name Gormley embraces because of his skill with the toy. His love for the spool and string started at a young age.

“I actually got one as a party favor,” he said. “I think I was 11 or 12.”

He started looking up tricks on YouTube, and it opened the doors to a hidden world.

“When I saw that, I thought it was kind of like mind-blowing a little bit,” Gormley said. “I guess it was surprising because most people don’t know this is what modern yo-yoing is.”

He began to learn, emulating what he saw on the screen and took his first steps into joining what seems to be a secret society. He soon began posting his videos on YouTube.

“It was just something I kind of did for fun,” said Gormley.

Then, he learned of yet another secret: yo-yo competitions.

“People always just think of it as the children’s toy,” said Gormley. “They don’t really give it a second thought when you hear about a competitive competition.”

Gormley whirled his way to the top. In August, he competed in the world championships in Tokyo, at the World Yo-Yo Contest.

“It’s pretty crazy,” he said. “The Japanese are super into yo-yo. They’re all into precision. Their tricks … they have them down to almost a science.”

But Gormley didn’t just compete in the World Championships, he won, beating out 526 other competitors from 32 countries. Now this indecisive college student is the best yo-yoer on the planet.

“It’s crazy,” he said. “I guess it’s just nice having all the hard work you put into it pay off, you know?”

Gormley has a sponsorship deal with CLYW in Canada, and his yo-yo he helped design, but around campus, he’s just another face.

“I couldn’t really go and tell people I’m the world champion without showing them it because they wouldn’t really realize what that means,” he said.

And he’s still trying to decide on a major because Gormley doesn’t have any plans to spin his talent into a career.

“I feel like maybe it would just kind of take the fun out of it,” he said. “Make it, like, too serious, I guess. Because I still enjoy doing it just kind of for fun … casually.”

Casually, the best in the world.