Teen creates new twists, turns for yo-yo

July 8, 2009 3:51:51 PM PDT
Toy historians say the first toy was a doll. The second was a yo-yo. And that second oldest toy-- which dates back to about 100 B.C.-- has new twists and turns thanks to a teenager in Hebron. Ian Johnson, 14, was crowned the Midwest Regional Yo-Yo Champion at the Mall of America in Minnesota.

Hebron, which is about 65 northwest of downtown Chicago, is home to the 1952 state basketball championship- a huge deal considering the small size of the school. They beat the big schools in the same division. Now, that town has a new hero to cheer on in Johnson.

"I got interested in it and so I got my first yo-yo. I just started watching videos on it and tutorials and I really just kept at it working my way into contests and here I am today," said Johnson. "Practice makes perfect."

Johnson works on his routines from one to four hours a day. This morning he showed ABC7's Frank Mathie-- and his mom, Lois-- some of this latest tricks. His favorite yo-yo is the off-string style. In other words-- the string isn't even attached to the yo-yo.

"You can throw it up in the air and just put the string back with the string around it and it responds and comes back to your hand," said Johnson.

Let's get a couple of terms straight. First of all he is not a yo-yoist. He's a yo-yoer. When he's practicing his sport, he is yo-yoing. He is Yo-Yo Son and his mom is Yo-Yo Ma.

And even though he practices his yo-yoing for hours at a time, it's far from his only sport.

"He actually is very active in sports. He has baseball, hockey, basketball, soccer," said Johnson.

He also happens to be a straight A student. But right now his favorite subject is the yo-yo. He's practicing for the world championships in August.


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