Brad Zupp, the 44-year-old Wilton man with remarkable memory skills, helped the United States team place fifth in the World Memory Championships in England.
This is the highest finish ever for an American team at the world championships, which featured competitors from 24 countries Friday through Sunday in Kennington, a suburb of London.
Zupp said he wasn’t able to reach his goal of becoming a grand master of memory at the championships.
“I had a difficult day one on Friday,” he said via email from England.
“Being surrounded by other people who train their minds for hours a day was amazing but stressful, and the competition was fierce,” he said.
Two other Americans completed the U.S. team: Nelson Dellis of Florida finished seventh overall and Luis Echeverria of California finished 47th. Zupp placed 27th out of the 58 adult competitors.
The three-day championship has 10 events, all based on who can memorize the most information in the allotted time.
Zupp memorized 705 digits of a random binary number (ones and zeros) in one hour, memorized a shuffled deck of cards in 113 seconds in the Speed Cards event, and memorized nine decks of cards in one hour in the Hour Cards event.
“I did my best, and I’m happy with most of my scores. I’m happiest that we, as a team, did so well,” he said.
Zupp claims he has just an “average to decent” memory but that long practice and his training methods led to his success.
He can memorize incredibly long lists of things: numbers, playing cards, and words. His skills won him two bronze medals at the USA Memory Championship last spring in New York City.
Zupp traveled to London with his wife, Beth Lawrence. When she went out to see the historic London sights, he didn’t come along. Instead, he kept practicing his memory skills in his hotel room.
He said he needed to do very well in three events to earn his grand master of memory designation but scored high enough in only one event.
After a short break, he will start training for the USA Memory Championship to be held in March in New York City. Zupp hopes to place in the top three during this competition.
Zupp’s business, Simply Sensible Entertainment Inc., gives motivational and educational presentations at school assemblies, corporate functions, shopping malls and theme parks.
Zupp teaches people how to improve their memory and also entertains them with juggling and other skills learned at the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Clown College. As a younger man he traveled with the circus and performed as a clown.
For more information on Zupp’s memory work, see www.featsofmemory.com.