MEDIA RELEASE — May 30, 2008

Canadian Mathematical Society

May 30, 2008



OTTAWA, Ontario - Six of Canada's best high school mathematics students have been chosen to represent their country at the 49th International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO). The IMO is the world championship mathematics competition for high school students and is being held this year in Madrid, Spain from July 10 to July 22, 2008.

"The six students have demonstrated the exceptional problem solving skills, understanding and imagination 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 representatives for Canada".

The six students - Yan (Cynthia) Li, Dr. Norman Bethune Collegiate Institute, Scarborough (Ontario); Alexander Remorov, William Lyon Mackenzie Collegiate Institute, North York (Ontario); Jonathan Schneider, University of Toronto Schools, Toronto (Ontario); XiaoLin (Danny) Shi, Sir Winston Churchill High School, Calgary (Alberta); Chen Sun A.B. Lucas Secondary School, London (Ontario) and Chengyue (Jarno) Sun, Western Canada High School, Calgary (Alberta) - 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 Wednesday, July 16 and Thursday, July 17 and the medals awarded on Monday, July 21. 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. Felix Recio (University of Toronto), the Deputy Team Leader, Mr. Yufei Zhao (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and the Deputy Team Leader Observer, Ms. Lindsey Shorser (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 16 gold, 35 silver, and 61 bronze medals. At last year's IMO in Hanoi, Vietnam, the Canadian team placed 27th out of the 93 competing countries and won four medals.

"These competitions allow Canadian high school students to compete with the best from the many other countries," said Dr. Neal Madras, York University, Chair of the CMS Mathematical Competitions Committee. "It should be noted that Canadian students do very well even though in many countries high school finishes at age 19."

The six students will be attending a special IMO Training Camp at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo from June 27 to July 9, 2008 and the IMO Team Send-off Luncheon will be held at the Fields Institute, 222 College Street, Toronto, on June 27th at 12:00 PM. The media can meet the team from 11:00 a.m. at the Fields Institute. The team will leave for Spain on July 9 and will return to Canada on July 22.

In addition to the Canadian Mathematical Society, sponsors of the 2008 Canadian IMO team include: the Imperial Oil Foundation; Sun Life Financial; NSERC PromoScience; the Samuel Beatty Fund; Maplesoft; the Ontario Ministry of Education; Alberta Learning; Manitoba Education, Citizenship and Youth; Nova Scotia Department of Education; the Newfoundland and Labrador Ministry of Education; the Northwest Territories Ministry of Education; the Saskatchewan Ministry of Education; Centre de recherches mathématiques; the Fields Institute; the Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences; the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Calgary; the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, University of New Brunswick at Fredericton; the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Ottawa; the Department of Mathematics, University of Toronto; the Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing, University of Waterloo; 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
Cel: (613) 290-3046


Dr. Neal Madras
Chair - MCC Committee
Department of Mathematics
York University
Tel: (416)-736-5250