After nearly 4 months of training, excitement, and planning, we’ve finally reached the end. This experience was one of the best adventures I’ve had in my entire life, and will be remembered forever.
It was incredible to meet each of the semi-finalists and hear some of their life and what it took to get here. Each of these people brought a unique characteristic to the trip. I had the privilege of spending most of the weekend with a select few of them. We all connected instantly and ventured out into the city to see what Comic-Con offered.
All 11 semi-finalists were required to meet up on Thursday for lunch and bowling. We were given the final rules and even a first look at the round bracket. They were initially waiting until Saturday to reveal the seeded positions, but changed their mind. I found out that my first match would be against Lucktose from Germany. We had developed a friendship early on in the qualifying period over Twitter and provided motivational support. It was unfortunate that we got paired together in the first round, but there was nothing we could do.
Positions on the bracket were seeded based on times in the qualifying courses. I was 5th overall, and was placed in the second round of starting matches. Our round was the 4th match. The first match was France versus UK, and Mike from UK won 5-0. It was an exciting start to the tournament. Next up was Mexico against NinjaxInfinity from USA. This round was won by Edward from USA with a 5-2 score. The third match was between Alex Vlas from Australia and tomfortman2009 from USA. The score went back and forth, but was eventually taken by Alex Vlas with a 5-3 win.
I had told the commentator that my match would have been the best out of the entire tournament, given the situation. The process of events went in order with Wake Racing first, then Climbing, and finishing with Bowling. It was the best 5 out of 9 matches. Wake Racing was my weakest sport, so Lucktose took the win by a few seconds. The next round was climbing, and I was able to tie it up. For the first bowling match, Lucktose ended up ahead in the last frame, taking the win and making it 2-1 after the first set. The same process repeated for the next set, but I was able to get the win for the second Bowling match. It was tied at 3-3 as we began the final set. Lucktose was able to take the win again for the third Wake Racing event. I was set to tie it up again for the third Climbing course, but had made a crucial mistake partway through the run. I ran out of stamina, and tried to make a quick leap which led to falling off the wall. That small error gave Lucktose enough of a gap to get ahead and finish out the run. This put the score to 5-3 and allowed him to progress to the next round. I finished 8th place overall for the event.
The next match was FusedDaelin from USA against Mikey G85 from UK. This was going to be a tough match for UK as FusedDaelin holds the world record in the qualifying Wake Racing and Climbing courses. Mikey put in an incredible effort, but was eliminated by FusedDaelin with a score of 5-3. FusedDaelin would now continue to the semi-finals match against Lucktose to battle for a spot in the finals.
The 6th match was Tru3 Chosen One from USA against NinjaxInfinity from USA. There had been a couple of glitches happen causing restarts during this round. After a long battle, Ninja earned the victory with a score of 5-4. The 7th match placed Alex Vlas from Australia with Tiziusheik from Brazil. Tiziusheik was the last competitor seeded into the leaderboards, giving him the chance to view 6 matches before he plays his. This strategic advantage did not pan out as Alex Vlas won the match 5-2.
This led us to the semi-finals, where FusedDaelin went up against Lucktose for the 8th match. After a good set of rounds, Lucktose took the victory to knock FusedDaelin out of the competition. NinjaxInfinity battled Alex Vlas in another great match. Alex was able to take the win, giving him the second spot in the finals match. The final stage was set for Lucktose and Alex Vlas to battle it out for $10,000 and the title of World Champion.
After a short break, the final match began. There was a large audience at the Xbox Lounge stage anxiously awaiting who would come out a winner. The first Wake Racing course was close, but Lucktose pulled ahead for the win. He also took the first Climbing course, giving him a quick 2-0 lead. The first Bowling match also close, but Lucktose was able to earn another win. After the first round he was ahead 3-0. The next Wake Racing course was his specialty, and set the score to 4-0. There was just one more Climbing course between him and $10,000. He had a slight advantage of going first, as it provided the ability to set a time and create a pressured situation for Alex Vlas. The stress ended up being too much to handle, and the victory was claimed. Lucktose had just become the Kinect Sports World Champion.
Celebrations began, people were cheering, and lives would be changed forever. Alex Vlas earned 2nd place, which was rewarded with $5,000. A small interview with Xbox was conducted with Lucktose, and then he was free to celebrate and embrace the victory.
Although I did not come out on top, meeting a select few of the semi-finalists and the moments I was able to share with them will last a lifetime. We met some incredible people, and will have great stories to tell for a long time.
On behalf of all the semi-finalists, I want to thank Microsoft and the Xbox Team, as well as Rare and the Kinect Sports Team for arranging this Championship and giving us 11 semi-finalists the trip of a lifetime. We also had the pleasure of meeting Adam and Darren from Rare during the expo. These are great people, creating amazing experiences for people all around the world to enjoy. This tournament was the first of it’s kind for motion sports, and I hope it only gets bigger from here.
(Originally published July 30, 2014)