Stein, the first American to win the championship in six years, is a professional yo-yo star who even has his own signature model of yo-yo. At this year’s championships, held in Prague, he took home first place in the 1A division (routines done with just one yo-yo) with a techno-inspired routine that owes just as much to choreography as schoolyard tricks.
As he told MTV News, Stein’s flashy style rankles some old-school yo-yo experts, who say the toy should be the star. He thinks that mindset is limiting to the sport.
“I want to make yo-yoing bigger,” he said. “I want to be the person who can blow yo-yoing up into something people on the street can recognize as being really cool. Yo-yoing has so much potential, but the [perception] killed the vibe.”
Watch Stein’s routine above, and then check out Takuma Yamamoto’s winning routine in the 2A (two yo-yos) division below.