Canada’s Mathematical “Dream Team”

Back on July 2nd, I received a report that four members of Canada’s International Math Olympiad team were stuck for more than an hour in the elevator, while training at the Banff International Research Station. Well, it doesn’t look like this time was wasted since today, I received this. Six medals for the six competitors on Canada’s national team. Three Gold medals, one silver and two Bronze. That was quite a harvest for Canada’s young “intellectual athletes” at the 53rd International Math Olympiad (IMO), which was recently held in Argentina, since it translated into a team standing of FIFTH in the world! An unprecedented achievement for Canada!

I have written in the past about our unsung heroes who are trying to “own the podium for Canada”. But this is particularly exciting because this steady progress to the top is the result of a tremendously coordinated national effort, led by the Canadian Mathematical Society and facilitated by the Banff International Research Station, where they train every year before flying to the country where the competition is held.

But the real heroes of Canada’s effort, besides of course our six conquering stars,  James Rickards, Calvin Deng, Alex Song, Daniel Spivak, Kevin Zhou, and Matthew Brennan are the dozen of colleagues who volunteer their time and effort to select, train, manage, host, support and accompany the young team throughout the competition cycle: Richard Hoshino, Johan Rudnick, Christopher G Small, Dorette Pronk, Ed Barbeau, Ed Wang, Bill Sands, Gertrud Jeewanjee, Jessica St-James, Adrian Tang, David Arthur, Hunter Spink, Alex Fink, Yufei Zhao, Alexander Remorov, Felix Recio, Leo Lai, Brenda Williams, Wynne Fong,  Weilian Chu, Kevin Sun,  Zuming Feng, Deirdre Timusk,  Philip Rash,  Anthony Cira,  Alan Chan, Richard Whitlock, and Andrew Adler.

Now every Olympiad generates its little anecdotes and its own lessons. This year’s list was topped by the following story, which was related by Robert Morewood, Chair of the International Math Olympiad Committee.

“It really speaks to Canada’s reputation for fair-play and honesty that the only IMO problem NOT completely solved by Canada’s team was the one submitted by one of your trainers (David Arthur).  I hope you all take (or have taken) some time to fully appreciate that intriguing puzzle”.

Heartiest congratulations to Canada’s Mathematical “Dream Team”!

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