I did a little calculation. The theoretical maximum height the top can reach is when all its spin energy is converted into potential energy.

The potential energy is:

U = h M g

where h is the height, M the mass and g the acceleration of gravity (9.8 m/s

^{2}).

the spin energy is equal to:

E = 1/2 I w

^{2}where I is the moment of inertia and w the spin rate (in radians per second).

Equating these two equations and solving for h:

h = 1/2 1/g I/M w

^{2}Because the moment of inertial is proportional to the mass (for uniform bodies), the maximum height doesn't depend directly on the mass, but just on the shape and size of the top and how fast it's spinning.

For the same starting spin, a larger top will have an advantage as it will have a larger I/M. In addition, for a heavy top the effect of string friction will be less significant relative to it's inertia.

For example, if we consider the top to be a solid cone of base radius r:

I/M = 3/10 r

^{2}If the top has a diameter of 10 cm and is spinning at 2000 RPM, the maximum height it can reach is:

h = 1/2 x 1/(9.8

*m/s*^{2}) x [3/10 x (0.05

*m*)

^{2}] (2 x 3.1416 x 2000/60

*1/s*)

^{2} = 1.68 meters! Only!

That's very far from what they achieve there!

Mm, could it be a little tricky? I see that the string goes through a pulley a the top. Could it be that the rope is being pulled?

We have a bigger mystery than what I previously realized . . .