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June 28, 2005

Canada's Olympic "mathletes" training at University of Calgary

Canada's top minds in high school mathematics are in training at the University of Calgary this week for the 46th International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO), which will be held in Merida, Mexico on July 8 to 19, 2005.

All media are invited to meet this year's IMO team, comprised of one student from Edmonton and five Ontario students, on Tuesday, June 28, from noon to 2 pm. Also on-hand will be Team Leader Dr. Felix Recio (University of Toronto), Deputy Leader Dr. Dorette Pronk (Dalhousie University), U of C graduate student Adrian Tang, who will serve as Deputy Observer at the 2005 IMO, as well as several Calgary and Edmonton-area students who are training with the team in hopes of becoming future math Olympians.

"These are exceptional students who will be competing against the very best problem-solvers at the international level," said Dr. Graham Wright, executive director of the Canadian Mathematical Society, which selects and trains the team. "They have shown excellence in problem-solving and creativity and represent the great potential of our students across the country."

Team members were selected from among more than 200,000 students in grades 7-12 who participated in local, provincial and national mathematics contests. While in Merida, they will pit their skills against close to 500 of the world's best math students from more than 80 countries. The IMO competition consists of two exams over two days, each consisting of three questions and a time limit of four-and-a-half hours.

Last year's team performed extremely well, winning one Gold Medal, three Bronze Medals and two Honourable Mentions at the 45th International Mathematical Olympiad in Athens, Greece. Toronto student Jacob Tsimerman was one of only four "2004 world champions" who achieved a perfect score in the contest.

The 2005 team consists of Lin Fei, Don Mills Collegiate Institute, Toronto (Ontario); Elyot Grant, Cameron Heights Collegiate Institute, Kitchener (Ontario); Yang (Richard) Peng, Vaughan Road Academy, Toronto (Ontario); Dong Uk (David) Rhee, McNally High School, Edmonton (Alberta); Peng Shi, Sir John A. MacDonald Collegiate Institute, Toronto (Ontario); and Yufei Zhao, Don Mills Collegiate Institute, Toronto (Ontario).

The team is attending a special IMO Training Camp at the University of Calgary from June 25-28 before moving to the Banff International Research Station (BIRS) at the Banff Centre to train until July 9. A send-off reception with friends, sponsors and invited guests will be held on Tuesday, June 28th in the Learning Commons of the Biological Sciences Building at the University of Calgary.

Team members will be available for interviews and to demonstrate some of their mathematical training, followed by a formal introduction and reception with guests, including U of C Dean of Science Mike Boorman.

Sponsors of the team include the Canadian Mathematical Society, the University of Calgary, Alberta Education, Sun Life Financial, the Imperial Oil Foundation and the Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences (PIMS). BIRS is supported by PIMS, the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI), and the Mathematics of Information Technology and Complex Systems Network of Centers of Excellence (MITACS).

For more information on the Canadian Mathematical Society, see

What: Send-off of Canada's 2005 International Mathematical Olympiad team.

Who: Six IMO team members, aspiring future IMO candidates from Alberta schools, officials and dignitaries from U of C, the Canadian Mathematical Society and the Alberta government.

Where: Learning Commons, fifth floor of the Biological Sciences Building, University of Calgary.

When: Tuesday, June 28. Team members will be available for media interviews from noon to 1 pm, followed by a send-off reception from 1 pm to 2 pm.

Media contacts:

Dr. Graham P. Wright
Executive Director
Canadian Mathematical Society
Tel: 613-562-5702
Cell: 613-290-3046
     Grady Semmens
media relations
University of Calgary
Tel: (403) 220-7722
Cell: (403) 651-2515

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