A Whiz With A Rubik's Cube

By Gabe Osterhout

July 22, 2010 Updated Mar 19, 2008 at 6:43 PM EDT

March Madness is here and one student at Maine-Endwell is preparing for a competition this weekend.

But it's not a basketball game.

It's a rubik's cube competition.

Action News reporter Gabe Osterhout met up with Erik Johnson who shows us his unique talent.

17 year old Erik Johnson has been working on solving the rubik's cube for about 4 years.

He got interested after seeing a man solve the puzzle on the news.

"I like to just play with things so it was kind of natural to get started. I just kind of played with it while I was watching tv, and while I was doing regular things," says Johnson.

And he hasn't stopped playing with it.

Johnson says he spends anywhere from 10 minutes to 3 hours a day solving rubik's cubes.

Once he solves the puzzle, he scrambles it up and tries to solve it again.

He even uses his calculator to come up with new scrambles for the cube.

"You start off small. You put little pieces together, once you learn how to, you figure out how to move one piece around at a time without messing everything else up...you can do it," says Johnson.

I decided to see if I could do it.

Erik was nice enough to give me with a rubik's cube to solve.

I got daring and decided to challenge him to a little competition.

Big mistake.

He solved the cube in 17 seconds.

As for me....I got 3 green.

Johnson is currently training for the Princeton Open, a competition with about 80 competitors.

And while it's a competition, Johnson says those meets are just fun and games.

"It was really fun because it's not really serious, you just go there and solve the cube and they take down your times and you get a world ranking," says Johnson.

Johnson has competed in 4 competitions.

His world ranking....120.

Johnson says a rubik's cube can be scrambled 43 quintillion different ways.

And just in case you can't quite grasp that number... It's 43 followed by 18 zeros.

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