An Unusual Sport

There are many different unusual sports out there, but one of the most unusual and interesting is speed-cubing.  Freshman Jiaxuan Wang participates in this little-known sport. Speed-cubers like Wang go to competitions all over the country and solve Rubik’s cubes as fast as they can.  Cubing is intense sport that cubers practice for all the time. It was calculated that there are over 3 billion different possible combinations for Rubik’s cubes, so cubers will never encounter the same cube twice.  Feliks Zemdegs from Australia has the current speed-cubing record and solved a cube in 4.22 seconds in 2018.

What is Speed-cubing?

“It’s basically an event where people compete and solve rubix cubes, but it’s more than just that because there’s the competitive aspect where are up there doing five solves take the average and that stuff, but there is also a large part of the competitions that most people like is there’s this huge area in all competitions where cubers can socialize and you share cubes, discuss cubes, and etc.” Wang said.

Speed-cubers solve five rubik’s cubes as fast as they can. Then, the judges get rid of the best time and the worst time, because they do not want to have lucky or unlucky results and they find the average of the three middle times. The average of the three middle times is what cubers go by.

Speed-cubers are then ranked and people who rank at the top progress on to the next round.  Between rounds cubers talk to each other and socialize. “Last competition was a pretty small one, so I made it to the final round, but if I go to something big like nationals, like I did in 2017, I’m not going to rank very well because like you know , nationals has people from all over the nation and there are even people from other countries coming. I’m not going to make the second round,” Wang said.

Most speed-cubers get started solving Rubik’s cubes at a very young age.  “I got started because a friend of mine from elementary school starting learning the cubes and he started teaching me” Wang said.  The majority of speed-cubers are under the age of 25. However, that isn’t very surprising since solving Rubik’s cubes is a relatively new sport.  The first Rubik’s cube was invented in 1974 by Erno Rubik. It took Erno Rubik over a month to solve the puzzle that he had created.  The first Rubik’s cubing competition wasn’t held until 1982. A woman named Minh Thai won the competition with a time of 22.95 seconds, the first ever Rubik’s cube solving record.

There are Rubik’s cube competitions all year round all over the world but Wang says he goes to competitions, “Maybe once every half year.”  Due to the fact that he is not often able to travel to every competition since many of them are hosted across the country and even in other countries.

Speedcubers spend an immense portion of time practicing, and Jiaxuan Wang decided to put in the work to become good at it.

“I wanted to get faster was because him and also another friend who is now in college was getting faster and faster.  I was like, “Oh, that’s cool. I want I be fast like them too”” Wang said.



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