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COMMUNIQUÉ
July 30, 1997

CANADA WINS FOUR MEDALS AT THE 1997 INTERNATIONAL MATHEMATICAL OLYMPIAD IN ARGENTINA

OTTAWA, Ontario -- Competing against a record 81 other countries, a team of six Canadian high school students have won two silver and two bronze medals and an honourable mention at the 38th International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO), Mar del Plata, Argentina, July 18-31, 1997.

The 1997 Canadian IMO team members are: Adrian Birka, Lakeshore Catholic High School, Port Colbourne, Ontario; Sabin Cautis, Earl Haig Secondary School, North York, Ontario; Adrian Chan, Upper Canada College, Toronto, Ontario; Jimmy Chui, Brebuef College School, Willowdale, Ontario; Byung-Kyu Chun, Harry Ainlay High School, Edmonton, Alberta; Mihaela Enchescu, Dawson College, Westmount, Quebec.

At the Awards Ceremony today (July 30, 1997) in Mar del Plata, Argentina, Silver Medals were awarded to Chan and Chun, Bronze Medals to Cautis and Enachescu and Chui received an Honourable Mention.

"The IMO is the world championship high school mathematics competition. The problems were very difficult and all six students have done well and demonstrated the critical problem solving skills, comprehension and creativity required to compete at this level," said Dr. Graham Wright, Executive Director of the Canadian Mathematical Society (CMS), the organization responsible for the selection and training of Canada's IMO team.

Although students compete individually, country rankings are obtained by adding the team's scores. The Canadian team placed 29th out of 82 competing countries with a score of 107 points (out of a possible 252). First was China (223), Second - Hungary (219), Third - Iran (217), Fourth - Russia (202) and the USA (202), Sixth - Ukraine (195), Seventh - Romania (191) and Bulgaria (191), Ninth - Australia (187), Tenth - Vietnam (183).

The members of the 1997 Canadian IMO team will arrive at Toronto Pearson Airport (Terminal 2) on Friday August 1, 1997 at 10:20 a.m. [Air Canada flight 911].

Since 1981, Canadian students have received a total of 8 gold, 21 silver, and 39 bronze medals. The six members of the Canadian IMO team were selected from among more than 200,000 students who participated in local, provincial and national mathematics contests. Prior to leaving for the 38th IMO, the team trained at Saint Mary's University, Halifax, Nova Scotia from July 6th to 19th.

The Canadian team members, who must be less than 20 years old when they write the IMO competition, pitted their skills against 460 of the world's best students. The 1997 IMO contest was set by an international jury of mathematicians, one from each country, and was written on Thursday, July 24 and Friday, July 25. It consisted of two exams, each comprising three questions with a time limit of four and one-half hours. "It is an olympiad hexathalon," commented Wright.

The team was accompanied by Team Leader, Dr. Richard Nowakowski, Mathematics Professor (Dalhousie University) and Chair of the CMS IMO Committee; Deputy Team Leader, Mr. Naoki Sato (University of Toronto), former Canadian silver medalist.

"These competitions help make mathematics education more relevant, challenging and fun for students," said Dr. Nowakowski. "They provide Canadians with the opportunity to measure their abilities against those of the best in the world."

Sponsors of the 1997 Canadian team include: the Ontario Ministry of Education and Training, the Quebec Ministry of Education, Alberta Education, the Canadian Mathematical Society, Hewlett-Packard (Canada) Ltd., Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada, Pratt and Whitney Canada, the Samuel Beatty Fund, the McLean Foundation, the Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing, University of Waterloo, the Department of Mathematics Statistics and Computing, Dalhousie University, the Department of Mathematics, University of Toronto, the Faculty of Science, Saint Mary's University and Upper Canada College, Toronto, Ontario.

The 39th International Mathematical Olympiad will take place in Taiwan in July 1998.

For more information, contact:

Dr. Graham P. Wright
Canadian Mathematical Society
(613) 562-5702


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