It fairly common for competitive hobbies that attract a fairly large following to have a wide variety of different World Record holders and a forever changing group of people with world-class abilities. As new hardware is released and new competitors get interested in the hobby, records are broken continuously. The hobby of speedcubing, however, has one unique aspect – Feliks Zemdegs.
Feliks Zemdegs has reigned Oceanic speedcubing since his very first competition in 2009, where he broke the continental records for 3×3 single and average. In the following year at his second competition he broke the World Record for 3×3 average, and the first average of 5 solves that clocked in at under 10 seconds. Nobody could have predicted that Feliks would hold this exact record for over 7 years – 2640 days to be exact – by bettering his own times over and over again before anybody could reach his level. Some other statistics that Feliks has collected over his time are staggering and might never be repeated in the history of competitive speedcubing. Here, we will take a look at his history in speedcubing, where he is today and list a few of some of his incredible achievements.
A short history of Feliks’ speedcubing career
As previously mentioned, Feliks had a big showing at his first competition. Not only did he break the Oceanic record for 3×3 single and average, but he also dominated almost every event in which he competed – Breaking Oceanic single and average records in 2×2, 3×3, 4×4, 5×5 and One-Handed, and breaking the Oceanic single record for Blindfolded single. He also clocked single and average National Records for Australia in Pyraminx and Square-1. Feliks won 6 of the 9 events offered by the competition, and this performance is highly regarded as one of, if not the best for a speedcuber’s first competition.
Feliks continued to dominate in future competitions, breaking the World Record 3×3 average in his second and going on to take the single record in his seventh. He improved his records in most of his events but, as the years passed, stiffer competitions appeared. As a result, Feliks focused on the NxNxN events, and from 3×3 through to 7×7 he has never lost his Oceanic records set at his first competitions.
Feliks held the World Record single for 3×3 of 5.66 seconds from mid-2011 up until early 2013, where Mats Valk took the crown with a time of 5.55 seconds. This was the first time that somebody other than Feliks had broken a World Record in 3×3 since his first World Record average in 2010. In fact, this record would stand for over 2 years, where it was bested by Collin Burns. Since then, the 3×3 single record has jumped between different speedsolvers until late 2016 where Feliks took it back with a time of 4.73 seconds, the first time he’s broken the single since 2011.
The World Record average for 3×3, however, is a completely different story. Feliks has held this record almost non-stop since he first broke it in 2010. The most staggering record breaking moment of Feliks’ 3×3 average dominance is the 6.54 average that he achieved in late 2013. His previous record, broken just two months prior, was 7.49 seconds. The average that he achieved was completely unheard of. This put his record average at 0.95 seconds faster than his own previous best in competition and 1.12 seconds faster than his nearest contender, Mats Valk. It took Feliks until mid-2016 to beat this record, where he furthered the gap between him and his opponents with a 6.45 average. By the end of 2016, 16 sub-7 averages had ever been clocked – Feliks was responsible for 13 of them.
The biggest shock of all came in April 2017 when Max Park, a budding US speedcuber who had been on the rise for quite some time, clocked a 6.39 average in competition. This was the first time that anybody had taken the World Record average from Feliks since 2010. However, in a manner that Feliks has demonstrated time and time again, Feliks took the record back just over two months later. In fact, Feliks scored an average of 5.97, making it the first sub-6 second official average in speedcubing history. Only a handful of people had ever bested this at home, let alone officially. To seal the deal once and for all, Feliks then went on to break the previous World Record average twice consecutively in the semi-final and final rounds of a competition just 4 days after taking the record back originally. This achievement means that Feliks Zemdegs has been the first speedcuber in history to record an average below 10, 9, 8, 7 and now 6 seconds.
As of writing this article (July 4th 2017), Feliks Zemdegs holds the single and average World Records in every event from 3×3 through to 7×7, excluding 7×7 single and 4×4 average, in which he is 2nd.
Feliks will soon be competing with the best in the World at the World Championships 2017 in Paris, where more World Records could be broken and the level of competition that he will face has never been higher.
As every day passes, we get closer and closer to the physical human limits of speedsolving. It is likely that within the next decade the World Records for some events will have been lowered to an unbeatable level either through incredible skill or incredible luck or both. Feliks’ legacy, however, will continue forever. Feliks has pushed the boundaries of speedsolving and human capacity almost single-handedly since his very first competition, and still does so to this day. His dominance spans across such a wide variety of events that it is unlikely that we will ever see someone achieve anywhere near what he has for as long as speedcubing remains a semi-popular hobby.
Interesting Facts about Feliks Zemdegs’ Speedsolving Career
- Feliks Zemdegs is the first and most likely only speedcuber to ever break 100 World Records officially in competition. This kind of dominance is unprecedented in most other competitive sports/hobbies.
- He has never failed to podium in a single round of 3×3. He has only ever come third twice and 2nd eight times, leaving him with a total of 180 first place rounds.
- There are a very small number of people who have ever beaten him in a single round of 3×3. This list consists of eight people: Mats Valk, Jayden McNeill, Collin Burns, Ivan Vynnyk, Antoine Cantin, Michal Pleskowicz and Rowe Hessler – A total of seven people.
- Feliks is back to back World Champion in 3×3 and 4×4. He is also the current World Champion in 2×2 and 5×5, but this could all change at the World Championships in 2017.
- Just seven days after Chinese solver Haixin Yang broke the One-Handed World Record single with an 8.27 second solution, Feliks destroyed the record with his own time of 6.88 seconds. His competitors have yet to break even 8 seconds, so it is predicted that this record will most likely be the longest standing records of all time (it is currently 2nd)
- In Feliks’ third competition, he clocked an average time of 10.20 seconds in the first round. This was the last time that Feliks didn’t achieve an average of under 10 seconds.
- Within the space of one year (2010), Feliks single-handedly lowered the 3×3 World Record Average from 10.07 to 7.91 seconds.
- Feliks has a YouTube channel with roughly 200.000 subscribers.
Credit for some of the statistics to Sam Spendla.