On Saturday, April 13, 2002 ConEdison hosted the Fifth Annual USA Memory Championship, an Olympiad for ‘thinking’ games, at their corporate headquarters in New York. US Founder and Chairman Tony Dottino along with Co-Chairman Marshall Tarley teamed up with Tony Buzan, founder of the World Memory Championship, in 1997 to bring this competition to the US. The competition consists of five memory challenging tournament-style competitive events including: 99 Names and Faces, 500 Random Words, Speed Numbers, Unpublished Poem and a Shuffled Deck of Cards.
Thirteen Mental Athletes from around the country came to match their skills against the reigning champion, Scott Hagwood. To our spectator’s surprise, they found the group to be ordinary, regular people having lots of fun, laughing at times, serious at others. As the day unfolded, it appeared that Scott would be given a run for his money!
Last year Scott was the person taking aim at our three-time champion Tatiana Cooley. Now he is on the other side. As he will tell you, it is more stressful coming in as a target. "I could really feel the pressure," said Scott. One could expect that from the defending champion, but as the day progressed, Scott's nerves started to challenge him. "Last year, I walked in as a nobody...an unknown. All I had to do was focus on my memory skills and not worry about the pressure of the title or being the one to beat."
The day proved to be an exciting one! Two US Records were broken: Coral Parmar, a freshman at New Jersey Institute of Technology, holds the Random Words record with 95 and Richard Rubin, a software engineer from Georgia, holds the Speed Cards record, memorizing an entire deck in three minutes and thirty-seven seconds.
By the end of the day, Scott was relieved to maintain his title. British Airways, a sponsor of the competition since it’s inception, presented Scott with a pair of Business Class round trip tickets to compete in the World Memory Championships in London this August. He was also invited to speak at DCG’s Benchmarking Session, offering some of his tips and tricks on how to remember names and faces.
Scott, a chemical engineer for General Electric in North Carolina, considers himself of “very average intelligence”. After being diagnosed with thyroid cancer several years ago, Scott was concerned about the effects of aggressive treatment on his mental faculties. “It’s amazing how difficult it was to concentrate,” said Scott. Determined, Scot passed the time during his treatments studying a memory-training book, practicing its techniques. The results speak for themselves.
“What is so great about Scott is that he took control over a very difficult situation and decided to do as much as he could about it,” commented Tony Dottino. He continued on, “I have great respect and admiration for Scott and others like him who control their destiny rather than feel victims of it and just wait for it to happen.”
Shin Fukuda, a senior at the Bergen County Academies in New Jersey, placed second in the overall competition and the Bronze Medal was awarded to Mykie Pidor, a Freshman at New York University.
When asked why he got involved with the Memory Championship, Tony Dottino replied, “This competition provides testimony and evidence that your brain, just like any other muscle in your body, gets stronger with exercise. And no, contrary to popular belief, memory does not diminish with age!”
All of our Mental Athletes are winners! They have the confidence and self assurance of their own abilities to put their brain in a fishbowl to allow cameras, microphones and spectators to all stare at them as they recall words, numbers, etc.
For more information about the USA Memory Championships, please visit the web site at: www.usamemoriad.com Consider sending your company’s Memory Champion and /or becoming one of our sponsors! ‡
Karen Pinson, Executive Director of the USA Memory Championship
“Everyone in the room sat on the edge of their chairs, picked up their pens and got a sheet of paper. What Scott proves to everyone – anyone with the right focus and training can become a world class mental athlete. In business terms, anyone with the right focus and training can improve their intellectual capacity.”