US Students Ace International Math Olympiad

By
Team USA / Po-Shen Loh

Movie rights, anyone?

For the first time in 21 years, a team of US students took first place in the International Math Olympiad. The competition took place in Chiang Mai, Thailand, from July 4 to 13.

The six members of the US are individually are scored on problems but it's the combination of their scores that makes up a win. Team US totaled 185 points, topping the scores of China (181) and the Republic of Korea (161). The American team included Ryan Alweiss, Allen Liu, Yang Liu, Shyam Narayanan, and David Stoner, all of whom were awarded gold medals. Michael Kural, who earned a silver medal, just one point away from the gold. Their coach, Po-Shen Loh, now a professor at Carnegie Mellon University, competed as a student on the team back in 1999.

One element that distinguishes the math Olympiad from other competitions, Loh told The Washington Post, is a spirit of collaboration.

“It’s the exact opposite of backstabbing,” Loh said. “The coaches are always the same. We are all friends. It’s very collegial. We are essentially going after the same goal, which is to drive the whole world up."

Students from more than 100 countries competed in the games, which were first held in 1959 in Romania.

Can you calculate like a gold medalist? Here's a link to the problems—and one to get you started.

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