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May 27, 2004


OTTAWA, Ontario -- Six of Canada's best high school mathematics students have been chosen to represent their country at the 45th International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO). The IMO is the world championship mathematics competition for high school students and is being held this year in Athens, Greece from July 4 to July 18, 2004.

"The six students have demonstrated the exceptional problem solving skills, understanding and creativity that is so necessary to compete against the very best at the international level," said Dr. Graham Wright, Executive Director of the Canadian Mathematical Society, the organization responsible for the selection and training of Canada's IMO team. "They represent the best of our students and will be excellent ambassadors for Canada".

The six students -- Oleg Ivrii, Don Mills Collegiate Institute, Toronto (Ontario); János Kramár, University of Toronto Schools, Toronto (Ontario); Dong Uk (David) Rhee, McNally High School, Edmonton (Alberta); Peng Shi, Sir John A. MacDonald Collegiate Institute. Toronto (Ontario), Jacob Tsimerman, University of Toronto Schools, Toronto (Ontario); and Yufei Zhao, Don Mills Collegiate Institute, Toronto (Ontario) -- were selected from among more than 200,000 students in grades 7 to 12 (plus CEGEP) who participated in local, provincial and national mathematics contests.

The Canadian team members, who must be less than 20 years old when they write the IMO competition, will be pitting their skills against more than 450 of the world's best students from over 80 countries. The IMO competition paper, which is set by an international jury of mathematicians, will be written on Monday, July 12 and Tuesday, July 13 and the medals awarded on Saturday, July 17. The contest consists of two exams, each consisting of three questions on each day with a time limit of four and one-half hours. "It is a highly challenging mathematical «hexathlon» and these are our Canadian mathletes," commented Wright.

The team will be accompanied by the Team Leader, Dr. Christopher Small (University of Waterloo), the Deputy Team Leader, Dr. Edward Wang (Wilfrid Laurier University), and the Observer with Leader, Prof. Felix Recio (University of Toronto).

Canada first sent a team to an IMO competition in 1981 (Washington, USA). Since then, Canadian students have done very well, receiving a total of 14 gold, 27 silver, and 52 bronze medals. At last year's IMO in Tokyo, (Japan), the Canadian team placed 12th out of the 82 competing countries and won five medals.

"These competitions are one way of making mathematics education more relevant, challenging and fun for students," said Dr. Peter Cass, University of Western Ontario and Chair of the CMS Mathematical Competitions Committee. "They provide Canadians with the opportunity to measure their abilities against the best in the world."

The six students will be attending a special IMO Training Camp at the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) from June 24 to July 8 and an IMO Team Send-off Luncheon will be held on June 28 at 12 noon. The media can meet the team at 11a.m on June 28 at the Salle des Boiseries, Pavillon Judith Jasmin at l'UQAM. The team will leave for Athens on July 8 and will return to Canada on July 18.

Sponsors of the 2004 Canadian IMO team include: the Ontario Ministry of Education; the Newfoundland and Labrador Ministry of Education; the Quebec Ministry of Education; the Northwest Territories Ministry of Education; Alberta Learning; the Saskatchewan Ministry of Education; the Canadian Mathematical Society; Sun Life Financial; the Samuel Beatty Fund; MapleSoft; Centre de recherches mathématiques; the Fields Institute for Research in the Mathematical Sciences; the Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences; the Department of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences, University of Alberta; the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Calgary; the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Ottawa; the Department of Mathematics, Université du Québec à Montréal; the Department of Mathematics, University of Toronto; the Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing, University of Waterloo; the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science, University of Waterloo; the Department of Mathematics, University of Western Ontario; the Department of Mathematics, Wilfrid Laurier University; and the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, York University.

For more information, contact:

Dr. Graham P. Wright
Executive Director
Canadian Mathematical Society
Tel: (613) 562-5702
Cell: (613) 290-3046
Dr. Peter Cass
Chair - MCC Committee
Department of Mathematics
University of Western Ontario
Tel: (519) 661-3639

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