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Faculty of Science
Laurier-hosted “mathletes” earn five medals at international math competition
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After training for a week at Wilfrid Laurier University, six of Canada’s brightest math minds posted the best results in decades at the 51st International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO) in July.
The six Canadian team members were selected from more than 200,000 students in Grades 7 to 12. The selected students attended the Canadian Mathematical Society summer training camp, hosted by Laurier’s Waterloo campus from June 27 to July 3.
Team members Robin Cheng, Hunter Spink, Alex Song, Chen Sun, Yuqi Zhu and Jonathan Zung then headed to Astana, Kazakhstan, for the most prestigious math competition for high school students in the world.
All six students excelled at the IMO, which ended July 14. Individually, they brought home two gold medals, one silver medal and two bronze medals, and received one honourable mention. The results placed Canada 13th of 96 countries, an improvement over last year’s 18th-place finish.
“This is one of the best results for Team Canada since 1981,” said Laurier math professor Edward Wang, who was the training camp’s local organizer. “The students were incredibly happy with their accommodations and very impressed by and grateful for the hospitality of Laurier.”
Wang has been actively involved in various national and international mathematics competitions for 30 years. He chaired the Canadian Math Olympiad (CMO) committee for three years, organized the summer training camp at Laurier in 2008 and accompanied previous teams to IMO competitions in Taiwan, the United States and Greece. Although Wang retired from his 37-year career at Laurier in June, he said he is likely to continue being involved with all aspects of Canadian math competitions.
The IMO began in 1959 in Romania with six countries. Since Canada began participating in 1981, the country has accumulated 19 gold, 41 silver and 70 bronze medals.