By Kris Lewis
Moving at lightning speed, he races to complete his task. Using a level of focus and hand eye co-ordination that would make most athletes jealous, Eric Limeback’s fingers and hands move with fluid rapidity, his eyes never leaving the puzzle in front of him. Less than 10 seconds later, he is finished. Placing the cube down, Eric has just done what the average person only dreams of doing — solving the Rubik’s cube.
Invented in 1974, the Rubik’s cube was first sold as a household toy in the mid-1980s. For decades, it has been a staple across the globe as a mind numbing, frustration inducing, mathematical puzzle that many never do get around to solving. Eric, however, is one of the few who has been able to master the task. What started as a challenge between classmates in high school, the Rubik’s cube has taken on an entire new life for the 22-year-old Wilfrid Laurier student.
After witnessing a classmate solve the puzzle in under two minutes, Eric purchased one for himself, determined to solve the puzzle. Five months later and he was competing in a Canadian National Speed Cubing competition. Not only was that his first competition, but he managed to place in the top 25 across the country. Less than a year after solving his first puzzle, and with the encouragement and help from fellow “cubers” he had met, Eric was readying himself to take on the world.
After putting in one to two hours a day of practice early on in his career, Eric cut back to only practicing a few hours a week. By October 3, 2013 he was ready to get his name into the Guinness Book of World Records. Around 1 p.m., he began solving his first cube; 5,800 cubes later Eric put his name in the record books for most Rubik’s cubes solved in a 24-hour period. He set the record with force, passing the previous record with four hours remaining on the clock!
For those who may see this as only solving puzzles, think again.
“It was a grueling one,” Eric recalls. “I used tensor bandages on my wrists and forearms, and occasionally took breaks to rest and dip my arms in a bucket of ice to numb any imminent pain.”
Not only did he endure the physical pain, but he was also able to provide the crowd of supporters with a finish made for television. With the clock winding down, Eric pushed through and was able to finish cube number 5,800 with less than a second left on the clock. The video of this is online, and for anyone who loves buzzer beaters, this finish is a must-see.
While Eric is unsure if he will pursue any other records in the speed-cubing world, the Rubik’s cube still has its role in his life. Recently, Eric, and three other Laurier students, spent 12 hours putting together an art piece consisting of 3,000 cubes for Toronto’s annual Nuit Blanche art celebration. Combining his love for solving puzzles, his endeavors into artistic activities and his desire to challenge himself, it would seem fair to say that the future of Eric Limeback is bound to be full of many exciting twists and turns.