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The Coolest World Champions You’ve Never Heard Of


With such a large and diverse student body [read: so much time spent dwelling in Butler like a vampire bat], it’s easy to miss out on some of the outstanding people on campus. Significant examples are Daniel O’Neill (CC ’13), James Wiseman (CC ‘ 13), and Emma Kahle (CC ’14), the recently named world champions of freestyle Frisbee. Disc Dominatrix Artur Renault reports:

While you may be imagining freestyle Frisbee as a slightly more involved version of the game all of those unnecessarily shirtless dudes play in front of Butler, it’s  significantly more complex than that. While they do hang out in quads and use the plastic disc we all know and love, these guys go further. They superglue fake nails to their nails and perform tricks with the disc that can only be described as what it would be like if there were a Frisbee nation in Avatar. Their art, as they put it, “is to ultimate what ice skating is to hockey.” (Don’t believe it? See for yourself.)

In tournaments, their performances are judged on execution, difficulty, and artistic perfection. To achieve this they employ a variety of tricks, such as the “Flamingo” and the “Oliver,” their variants the “Flamingosis” and the “Olivia,” and best of all, the “You Douche.” These tricks are often combined to create new ones, and their complexity is incomprehensible to the untrained eye: often a trick will seem incredible but be very mundane, or it will be difficult to discern yet spectacular.

Freestyle Frisbee had a golden age in the late 70s and early 80s when the sport was common among hippies but, due to many factors, it later fell out of favor in the US. In the early 2000s, however, a Nike commercial sparked a new interest in the sport. James and Daniel, who started with freestyle in separate high schools, discovered their shared interest during NSOP and quickly joined the New York freestyle community. Emma, who had been introduced to freestyle briefly in high school, was surprised to find the other two playing here, and the three have been playing together almost daily ever since. They travel the world showing off their skills and recently won the 2012 Freestyle Frisbee World Championships in Riccione, Italy.

The success of these three students demonstrates one of the most important aspects of freestyle: the social factor. Almost more significant than the competition itself is the tightly knit community surrounding it. This community is small, however, and the newly crowned champions are always looking for new recruits. The learning curve for the basic moves is very large, but all players are very supportive, and once you get the basic moves it’s all downhill from there. If you’re interested in pursuing this amazing sport, or simply basking in the glory of people with superior coordination, contact Daniel or James at or respectively for more information.

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  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Must be that son-of-a-bitch Van Owen that blew off Roland’s head.

    There’s more air outside of the closet VO…

    1. Van Owen says:

      @Van Owen Yes, it is nice outside, so why don’t you play with my balls? And as far as blowing head is concerned, I’m content with your father, but thanks for asking.

  • Van Owen says:

    @Van Owen GAY

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous Mr. Van Owen,

      Thanks for your uplifting commentary on the efforts of someone who has reached the pinnacle of success in a sport that he loves.

      What have you done, other than call him names and slur the LGBT community?

      Think about why you said what you said and how it would feel to have your accomplishments sneered at. Your remark is really a comment on yourself and your attitudes.

      C. Ryan

      1. Van Owen says:

        @Van Owen Frisbee is gay, not that there’s anything wrong with that, but whatever. C. Ryan, take a bath and wash the shame away.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous The grass.

  • Andrew Ghazi says:

    @Andrew Ghazi These guys have mad skills.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous emma is amazing! one of the nicest, greatest people i’ve met at columbia. congrats lady!

  • Daniel O'Neill says:

    @Daniel O'Neill is such an awesome guy. Congrats on the world championship.

  • Pablo Alto says:

    @Pablo Alto Daniel, James, and Emma are all an inspiration to the Hard Corps of the Big Apple (aka the NYC Freestyle Tribe). They play hard, study harder, and compete hardest. Come down to Sheep’s Meadow in Central Park for an All*Star Thursday and check them out.

    Peace Out, Yo!

    Tall Paul, the Jammin’ Heaver

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous “Sheep Meadow”

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Heard this Daniel kid can delay on his dick!!

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous Not surprised to have such a stupid comment be submitted anonymously. Haters and morons like to hurt people and hide. They don’t have the courage to say hurtful things to a person’s face.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Daniel is sooo cool! Such a nice nice.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Bwog, why are there no more articles with the tag “Columbians doing cool things”? More, pleeezz

  • Daniel says:

    @Daniel is a great teacher. strongly suggest anyone thats even mildly interested to contact him. I picked up the “chicken wing” in no time flat under his tutelage.

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