Competing against students from 75 other countries, Canadian high school students have won one gold, one silver and two bronze medals and an honourable mention at the 39th International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO), Taipei, Taiwan, July 10-21, 1998.
The six members of the 1998 Canadian IMO team are: Adrian Birka, Lakeshore Catholic High School, Port Colbourne, Ontario; Adrian Chan, Upper Canada College, Toronto, Ontario; Jimmy Chui, Earl Haig Secondary School, North York, Ontario; Mihaela Enachescu, Dawson College, Westmount, Québec, Yin (Jessie) Lei, Vincent Massey Secondary School, Windsor, Ontario, and Adrian Tang, Albert Campbell Collegiate Institute, Scarborough, Ontario.
At the Awards Ceremony (July 20, 1998) in Taipei, Taiwan, a Gold Medal was awarded to Adrian Chan, a Silver Medal to Mihaela Enachescu and Bronze Medals to Jimmy Chui and Adrian Tang. Jessie Lei 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 extremely well and demonstrated the critical problem solving skills, knowledge and creativity required to compete at this very high 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. "They have represented Canada very well and we are all very proud of their performance."
Although students compete individually, country rankings are obtained by adding the team's scores. The Canadian team increased its standing to 20th out of 76 competing countries with a score of 113 points (out of a possible 252). At last year's IMO in Mar del Plata, Argentina, the Canadian team placed 29th out of 82 competing countries.
The top 10 teams and their scores are: Iran (211), Bulgaria (195), Hungary (186), USA (186), Taiwan (184), Russia (175), India (174), Ukraine (166), Vietnam (158), Yugoslavia (156).
The members of the 1998 Canadian IMO team will arrive in Toronto Pearson Airport (Terminal 2) Tuesday, July 21, 1998, at 11:15 p.m. [Air Canada flight 152].
Since 1981, Canadian students have received a total of 9 gold, 22 silver, and 41 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 39th IMO, the team trained at the University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta from July 1st to July 12th.
The Canadian team members, who must be less than 20 years old when they write the IMO competition, pitted their skills against 419 of the world's best students. The 1998 IMO contest was set by an international jury of mathematicians, one from each country, and was written on Wednesday, July 15 and Thursday, July 16. On each day of the contest, there are three questions to be solved with a time limit of four and one-half hours. "It is similar to the Olympic decathlon but with six rather than ten parts," commented Wright.
The 1998 Team Leader was Dr. Christopher Small (Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science, University of Waterloo, Ontario) and the Deputy Team Leader, Mr. J.P. Grossman (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), a Canadian gold medalist at the 1992 IMO in Moscow, Russia. This year's team was also accompanied by Dr. Arthur Baragar, University of Nevada, and Dr. Dorette Pronk, Dalhousie University,.
"These competitions help make mathematics education more relevant, challenging and fun for students," said Dr. Small. "They provide Canadians with the opportunity to measure their abilities against those of the best in the world."
Sponsors of the 1998 Canadian team include: Alberta Education, Amex Canada Inc., the Bank of Montreal, Canadian Airlines International, the Canadian Mathematical Society, the Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing, University of Waterloo, Dalhousie University, Hewlett-Packard (Canada) Ltd., Industry Canada, the McLean Foundation, the Ontario Ministry of Education and Training, the Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences, Pratt and Whitney Canada, the Quebec Ministry of Education, the Samuel Beatty Fund, the Senator Norman M. Paterson Foundation, Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada, the University of Calgary, the University of Ottawa, the University of Toronto, Upper Canada College and Waterloo Maple.
The 40th International Mathematical Olympiad will take place in Romania in July 1999, the country that hosted the first IMO in 1959.