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U.S. Team Competes in the 51st International Mathematical Olympiad

In one of their better showings in recent years, the USA team placed third in the 51st International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO). American contestant Evan O'Dorney (Venture School in California) placed second with a total score of 39 points.

The IMO is an annual six-problem, 42-point math competition held over two days. More than 90 nations compete in this annual event, which is the oldest of the International Sciene Olympiads. Each day participants take a 4.5-hour, three-problem exam, which covers a wide range of mathematics.

The team from the People's Republic of China was this year's overall winner with the Russian Federation placing second. The full results are available here.

Akamai's Tom Leighton Presents 2010 USAMO Winner Allen Yuan with Scholarship.

Contestants who scored above 27 points receive gold medals. Silver medals are awarded to those who score above 21. In addition to O'Dorney, USA team members Xiaoyu He and Benjamin Gunby were awarded gold medals and Calvin Deng, In Sung Na, and Allen Yuan received silver.

The six members of the U.S. team were selected from the top scorers of this year's USA Mathematical Olympiad. The U.S. has been represented by a small team of exceptionally talented high school students each year since 1974. The 2010 members of the U.S. team are (in alphabetical order):

Calvin Deng (William G. Enloe High School, Cary, North Carolina)
Benjamin Gunby (Georgetown Day School, Washington, DC)
Xiaoyu He (Acton-Boxborough Regional High School, Acton, Massachusetts)
In Sung Na (Northern Valley Regional High School at Old Tappan, Old Tappan, New Jersey)
Evan O'Dorney (Venture School in California)
Allen Yuan (Detroit Country Day School, Farmington, Michigan)

O'Dorney is no stranger to competition. Among his numerous honors are Scripps National Spelling Bee champion (2007), Bay Area Math Olympiad grand prize (2007, 2009, 2010), USAMO winner (2008), IMO silver medalist (2008, 2009), and Intel International Science and Engineering Fair finalist (2010). For more on O'Dorney, see "Evan O'Dorney, Spelling Champ and Math Whiz."

Scene from Hard Problems during the 2006 IMO.

Allen Yuan achieved the top score in this year's USAMO competition. During the USAMO Awards Ceremony, Yuan received the Samuel L. Greitzer/Murray S. Klamkin Award for Mathematical Excellence and a $20,000 scholarship from Akamai Foundation. Toan Duc Phan (Taft School, Watertown, Connecticut) and Xiaoyu He shared second place and received a $12,500 Akamai scholarship each.

The U.S. team was selected during Mathematical Olympiad Summer Program (MOSP), a training program for exceptional high school students held at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln.

One team leader, one deputy leader, and several observers accompany the students to the competition. This year, Zuming Feng (Phillips Exeter Academy) is acting as team leader with Loh Po-Shen (Carnegie Mellon University) as deputy leader and Ian Le, Steven Dunbar, and Taitiana Shubin (San Jose State University) as observers. Dunbar is Director of the Mathematical Association of America's American Mathematics Competitions program, which manages the USAMO.

The first IMO was held in Romania in 1959. Since then it has been held every year except 1980. That year, it was cancelled due to internal strife in Mongolia. More information about the IMO can be found here.

The MAA-produced documentary Hard Problems follows the U.S. team during the 2006 IMO. The film is currently airing on public television stations. Full schedule is available here.

The Mathematical Association of America is the largest professional society of college and university mathematics teachers in the world. The MAA's 25,000 members include two- and four-year college, university, and graduate school faculty, high school teachers, government and corporate workers, research mathematicians, as well as graduate and undergraduate students.


News Date: 
Monday, July 12, 2010