William Orrell, the current cup stacking world champion, released a video March 23 of his training for the World Sport Stacking Championships in Speichersdorf, Germany, that begins on April 2 (video below).
Orrell is blindingly fast when stacking cups. He has fans across the world, his own product line and a popular YouTube channel (GoldenYoshi88), all at age 17.
Orrell wrote on his YouTube page, "My four consistency is ludicrously pertinacious, as I have improved my rhythm. My goal for Worlds is to do well, locking in secure times to podium, hopefully as high as my hands enable. This is a God-given talent."
The cups have to be stacked and unstacked in a specific order during competition, and are judged by speed. Most of the competitors are pre-teens and teens, some adults, and kids as young as two years old.
“A lot of people don’t think it is a sport,” Orrell recently told the The New York Times. “But why is stacking cups any less important than putting a ball in a hole or through a hoop?”
Cup stacking began in 1981 at a Boys & Girls Club in Oceanside, California. Wayne Godinet, a director at the club, told some kids to stack some Dixie cups, run, touch a wall, return and stack the cups all over again.
“I knew we were on to something immediately,” Godinet told the newspaper. “The kids loved it, so we started making pyramids, introducing relays. It took off.”
Now, more than two dozen nations compete at world championships. Since 2012, stackers have been competing at the AAU Junior Olympics.
The sport is played in 56 countries and more than 27,000 U.S. schools, according to Speed Stacks, which is the biggest producer of stacking cups and creator of the World Sport Stacking Association.
Speed Stacks only allows its cups to be used in World Sport Stacking Association tournaments.
“Writing rules where only its equipment makes for a sanctioned competition is a problem if it really wants to be a sport,” Dionne Koller, the director of the University of Baltimore’s Center for Sport and the Law, told The New York Times.
Speed Stacks makes cup lines named after Orrell and 15-year-old ex-champion William Polly, but the kids do not get royalties from the sales, don't get prize money and have to finance their way to competitions.
“There is no TV or media revenue associated with sport stacking, so royalties are not able to be paid for any endorsed products,” Larry Goers, one of the co-owners of Speed Stacks, told the newspaper via email. “We provide endorsers with free equipment, but mostly they get the bragging rights that come with having their name on a product line that stackers worldwide use.”