The IMO

I shall now convert my attention from politics to mathematics. We all have taken math tests before, some easy and some hard. For those hard math tests, we sometimes go crazy over a single problem or just don’t seem to get the whole thing. By the time test time is over, you think you’ve probably been through hell multiple times already. If you think that is hell, then what’s coming up next is hell times fifty. It is the IMO, or the International Mathematical Olympiad.

2006 IMO
at Ljublijana, Slovenia

The IMO is a mathematical competition for high school students, but sometimes middle school students join too. Each country sends a team of around 8 math geniuses to represent them. In order to be in the American IMO Team, you have to compete in the American Mathematical Competition (a superhard math test) and rank near top. If you do get into the international team, then contact me and I will worship you. JK. Anyway, if you do, then you and your teammates will go through this difficult math training program in which you will practice some of the world’s hardest math problems.

Suppose you work really hard and now it’s competition day. You are now competing with other math geniuses from around the world. For the competition, it is just a 6-problem test. Don’t think it’s easy now, these 6 problems is very possibly the 6-hardest proofs in the world. Even the math geniuses have a hard time figuring this out. You are given a number of hours to do these problems, and after the test, you are done for the year, and must go through the same grueling process in order to try out for it next year.

Rarely does someone get a perfect score, and rarely is there a team who gets all gold. However, in the most recent IMO, South Korea did get all gold. But the country who reigns supreme in the IMO is China. They have won the vast majority of the time and had 11 times where all its team members got gold. Man, how do they get taught? Either they have really smart teachers or they’re really smart themselves. For the USA, only a few accomplishments have been made.

For more detail, check out the Wikipedia page for this: IMO Wikipedia. For the official website, click here: IMO. You can watch a (link) BBC documentary Beautiful Young Minds, documenting the lives of United Kingdom IMO competitors.

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