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Player Profile - Valerie Oliver





Valerie began yo-yoing at the age of 5 when, in the early 1960’s, she and her older brother would follow their then Duncan yo-yo man, and now lifelong friend, Bob Rule, from store to store in the Minneapolis area. She developed her skills with the yo-yo and spinning top during those years, appearing on television, competing, and winning contests throughout the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. She deeply believes that these activities taught her important lessons in persistence and the value of practice, as well as good sportsmanship, and contributed to her positive self-esteem as a child. When yo-yoing resurfaced, she won the Minnesota State Yo-Yo Championship in 1972.

Valerie holds a Bachelor of Science degree with honors in Business Administration from the University of Minnesota and a technical degree in computer programming. After 18 years in the computer industry, with jobs ranging from programming to management, and eventually owning her own computer consulting business, she wanted a change. Sharing her yo-yoing skills at various times during the years in her four daughters’ school classrooms (and there named “Yo-Yo Mom”), she finally realized where her heart was – with children and her yo-yo!

Since 1995, she has been presenting the Science of Spin™ school program to over 10,000 elementary and middle school students annually. Beginning in Minnesota, and now from Texas, she travels across the U.S. presenting this educational and fun program. She has developed an Interdisciplinary Yo-Yo Curriculum, using the yo-yo to teach and reinforce concepts across all educational disciplines, including Social Studies (history), Language Arts, Science and Math. In 1996, she wrote an article for the MAHPERD (Minnesota Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance) newsletter on the value of developing yo-yo skills in the physical education of children. During 1997 and 1998, she was presenter for the accredited Workshop on Wheels program, teaching Physical Education teachers across the Midwest how to teach yo-yoing skills to elementary students. She has also presented her yo-yo clinic program to physical education specialists in both Texas and Oklahoma.  

Valerie has been an active member of the American Yo-Yo Association since 1994 and held the position of Secretary of the AYYA from 1997 through 2001. While in Minneapolis, she founded the Twin Cities Spinners Yo-Yo Club, which continues to meet monthly for yo-yo fun and skill-building. She organized and judged the Twin Cities Open Yo-Yo Championships in Minneapolis and the MadFest Competition in Madison, Wisconsin, in both 1996 and 1997.

Valerie attends and participates in National and World Yo-Yo Championships annually. Her contest accomplishments include:
2004 Recipient of the Linda Sengpiel Award for excellence in yo-yoing.  Wold Yo-Yo Contest, August 2004
2004 & 2003 - World Spin Top Finalist, Championship Division making her the
        World's Top Female Spin Top Champion
1st Place 2002-National Spin Top Sport Division, Overall Champion
2nd Place – 1998 World Yo-Yo Championship - Recreational Division
3rd Place – 1996 National Yo-Yo Championship – Level 3
 5th Place, 1996 World Yo-Yo Championship – Masters Division
4th Place – 1995 World Yo-Yo Championship – Masters Division
1972 Minnesota State Yo-Yo Champion

In 1996, Valerie teamed up with Dale Oliver to form Spintastics Skill Toys, Inc. to promote and distribute a full line of yo-yos and spinning tops, as well as to market the successful Science of Spin program across the country. In 1997, she relocated to Texas (Dallas/Ft. Worth area) where she founded the Lone Star Spinners Club which meets twice a month and where she organizes and judges yo-yo and spin top contests across the state of Texas.

At the 1998 World Yo-Yo Championship in Primm, Nevada, Valerie was a shadow judge and continues to judge Sport divisions at both World and National competitions annually. 

Email Valerie at valerieyo@spintastics.com

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