Lexington teen aims for another Rubik's record

Lucas Etter

LEXINGTON, KY-- Earlier this March, people gathered in Lexington for a fast-paced competition, where tenths of a second matter, and the little guy often wins.

They are speed cubers-- mostly teens and pre-teens who can solve one of the world's most popular and perplexing puzzle in the blink of an eye. One of the superstars of the sport is Lucas Etter, a Henry Clay High school sophomore who broke the world record for solving a 3 x 3 Rubik's Cube just over a year ago at the age of 14.

His time was 4-point-9 seconds... making him the first human to break the 5-second barrier in a competition. That made him an instant celebrity.

Lucas says he was fascinated with the colorful cube the first time he saw one at age 8.

"It's a unique puzzle," he says. "It's 3-D. it can move in a lot of ways and flying fingers looked really cool and I wanted to be able to do that, too."

Lucas learned how to solve the puzzle by watching tutorials on YouTube. Now he knows every twist and turn of a successful solve.

Getting game day ready means breaking in your favorite cubes, lubricating them to make sure they move as smoothly as possible.

"That's a several hour process for some of the cubes," he says. "I've even got magnets in some of them."

Many of the kids at the competitions want to be like Lucas, who puzzled his way into the Guinness Book of World Records. His parents are amazed at how their shy son has become a Rubik's rock star.

His father, Paul Etter, says they're proud of how Lucas has handled the attention. "I always remind him when he was coming up in cubing there were a lot of older cubers who inspired him and helped him along. I'm happy to see he's doing the same thing for younger cubers now."

Lucas can look at a cube and immediately figure out an algorithm to solve it.

Earlier this year, a teen in Australia broke Lucas's record by two-tenths of a second, but he's working every day to get it back. He says he has broken the new record, unofficially, while practicing at home, solving the 3 by 3 cube in as little as 4.15 seconds.

"I'm definitely capable, but you only get so many tries in competition.," he says.

Lucas now has sponsors who pay his way to competitions and the cube manufacturers send him puzzles to test.

"I know some people who are trying to make a living off speed cubing. If I could do that, that would be awesome."

Whatever he does next, you can bet he'll succeed with flying colors.


You can find Lucas Etter's YouTube Channel be searching lucascube.

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