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Meet Rubik's Cube Phenomenon, Mike Kotch

Emmaus' very own Mike Kotch earns overnight fame and a visit to "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" as YouTube video goes viral.

Name: Mike Kotch

Age: 21

Where do you live? Emmaus

Where do you go to school?

Kotch is currently studying Sport and Exercise Science at DeSales University and hopes to pursue a career in weightlifting or some associated field.

How long have you played with the Rubik's Cube? What do you think is so fascinating about it?

"I used to play around with the one in the activities closet of Eyer Middle School. For some reason, it fascinated me. Eventually, in 2006, I decided to get one and try to learn it. I found some online text tutorial and solved it in about an hour.

"I started practicing and eventually got a best time of one minute and 13 seconds. I stopped doing it for a couple years, then decided to pick it back up again in September 2008. This is generally where I consider my real start.

"I learned a faster method and started practicing more often. Some days I did hundreds of solves just to try and improve my times. September 3, 2010, I got my first time under 10 seconds. Now I have nearly 1,000 solves under 10 seconds"

When was your first Rubik's Cube competition?

"My first competition was in May 2010, and I’ve now been to about 30 of them. I currently average about 10-11 seconds, however I have gotten nine second averages of five consecutive solves. My best time in a competition is 8.31, which ranked me #16 in the United States. My best time at home is six seconds."

Tell us about your recent accomplishment in full detail.

"I originally made the video for an online Rubik’s Cube store’s contest. The store is thecubicle.us and it’s run by a friend of mine named Phil Yu. He’s arguably the fastest one-handed cuber in the world. He’s around #1 while I’m only around #900. I don’t really practice one-hand. 

"I uploaded it, and it immediately started spreading everywhere. It first got well-known from me posting it in the ‘Misc’ section of bodybuilding.com. I made a thread on it, and they made it very popular. It got tons of views there and they made it a sticky. A sticky means that whenever anyone goes into the ‘Misc’ section, my thread on the video would always be listed first.

"So from there, I got maybe 30 messages from various T.V. shows asking if they could either use the footage or have me actually go on. I believe about 10 very well-known shows asked me to go on, but I only accepted ‘The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.’ I was really busy with school and taking all of these trips was making it hard to study and do well."

How many views has your video received?

"Now the video has upwards of 600,000 views, but they have died down a lot. It got a few hundred thousand in a couple days."

When you posted your YouTube video, did you have any idea it would go viral?

"I had NO idea!"

What inspires you?

"My favorite quote: The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a man’s determination."

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