That’s the mantra, Vivian’s catchphrase which he seems to say every time we’re all currently doing or about to do something sweet. We’re not even sure if he knows the reference he’s making. However, everything about Saturday fits in the category of “super freakin’ sweet”. If you taped this event nonstop from 7 to 11 this evening, you would have enough content to make an entire season of a television show.
I don’t watch sports. I don’t even watch the Olympics; I’ve never cared to. But the athleticism shown in this gym this evening was absolutely captivating.
Two world records were set; one planned, one surprise. The first was the world record for number of backflips done at one time. The last time I looked at the list over 200 people had signed up. However, they invited people to join whether they had signed up or not as long as they did so afterwards. Neil, who co-MCed the event Saturday night, asked everyone to spread out across the room. Everyone had to land the backflip for it to count. They are still waiting on the official word from Guinness World Records to see if they made it or not.
He counted down “3…2…1..GO,” and, essentially effortlessly, 200+ people back flipped.
Then, the battle began. There are 16 competitors in the main battle. It’s done elimination style. One on one battles, three rounds, five judges.
The competitors come from across the globe. Names are put in a box, a crowd member pulls a name, and the competitors for that match are chosen. There are also team battles. Five competitors to a team, some teams are organized by country while some are mixed. Each team takes a side of the floor and (ideally) one tricker from each team performs at a time.
This is Ilya Vtorin, 18, from Russia. In quite the upset, he was knocked out of the battle in the first round of the night by twelve-year-old Aiden Kennedy. Ilya is one of the only 100 or so humans on the planet who can triple cork (the last of the flips in the video above, see how he did 3 full rotations in the air?). Only one can quadruple cork, Mike Guthrie, who was not at Hooked this year. Ilya set his own world record tonight. He did 26 gainer switches in a row during the team battles. A large portion of the crowd rushed the mat, cheering, dripping with excitement, they crowded around Ilya in one massive celebratory group hug.
The one-on-one battles came down to two Americans; Sam Caspio, who is on the x-swipe tour with us, and Aiden. The tension in the crowd was incredible.
And, with that, a twelve year-old American won the largest tricking event in the world. After the event, I heard similar sentiments about this from so many of the competitors and spectators. No one saw him coming or Tonight, I saw the future of tricking. Everyone I spoke to was happy for him, happy for the sport. Many of the people attending the event have been tricking for ten or more years. They are the roots and foundation of tricking, they’ve watched it grow. As these athletes continue to push their own personal limits, they expand the sport as a whole. Considering what Aiden can do at twelve, many look forward to seeing him progress.
After the final one-on-one battles, the team battles picked up again. At one point, two trickers, Silvan Vasilda & Jeffrey Soeropaiman, collided. Neither was injured all that bad, but the event had to be paused.
There was a proposal.
And, later, after most people had gone to sleep…
I even did a cartwheel.
If you’d like to see more of Saturday night’s event, the entirety of it can be found here.