Microsoft’s World Championship is Excel or go home

Microsoft’s World Championship is Excel or go home

Years of hard work come down to minutes of execution. For the winner, the spoils of victory — fame, glory, and an overwhelming sense of purpose that comes from being the best in the world at something. For everyone else, a dream unfulfilled.

For a month at the end of 2016, competitors from around the world put their skills to the test. Competition was fierce, and few advanced. 14, to be exact. These 14, the very best in the world at their craft, met in Seattle last week to answer one question: Do I have what it takes to be the best?

For most, the answer is no.

There can be only one winner, after all, and after the dust settled, 13 competitors were left looking at one winner: a man from Canada willing to put hockey, poutine, and Molsen Ice on the back-burner while training tirelessly for a decade. That kind of dedication doesn’t come naturally, and few possess the drive needed to ensure success against this level of competition. It’s heart, they say, that makes a champion. For Ghanzfar Abidi, it’s heart and a love for PivotTables.

This is the Microsoft Excel World Championship — which is a thing, I assure you — and it’s dog-eat-dog. Today, the top dog was a Canadian man, Abidi. But as Abidi knows, in this cut-throat world of high-stakes competition, winners don’t get to enjoy the spoils of victory for long.

In just 364 days, it’s back to the coliseum to do battle with a new round of hungry gladiators. Few make it out alive, but Abidi undoubtedly welcomes the challenge. This is, after all, what Excel World Champions live for.

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