Alex Zhai wins gold medal at International Math Olympiad, leads U.S. to fifth place
RISING SENIOR ALEX ZHAI has placed in the top 10 at the 48th annual International Mathematical Olympiad in Hanoi, Vietnam.
Zhai earned a gold medal, scoring 32 out of a possible 42 points to finish in seventh place individually.
The contest involved 522 students from 93 countries. The six-member U.S. team won two gold medals, three silver, and one bronze to place fifth overall. Russia led the way with five gold medals and one silver. Defending world champion China placed second. (See top 10 team results below.)
The six-problem, nine-hour competition took place Wednesday and Thursday. Students had four and a half hours each day to work on three problems. The results were announced this weekend.
Zhai scored a perfect 7 on four of the problems. Only 39 students won a gold medal. According to the official results posted on the IMO Web site, Zhai ended the contest in seventh place.
Only one other U.S. team member, Sherry Gong, a recent graduate of Phillips Exeter Academy, won a gold medal.
Konstantin Matveev of Russia earned the competition’s highest score, 37 points. The only other students who finished ahead of Zhai were Peter Scholze, Germany, 36 points; Caili Shen, China, 36; Danylo Radchenko, Ukraine, 35; Pietro Vertechi, Italy, 35; and Maria Ilyukhina, Russia, 34.
Last year, competing in his first IMO, Zhai was one of 89 students to win a silver medal. Zhai tied for 49th place in that contest, which was held in Ljubljana, Slovenia. The U.S. team placed fifth in that IMO as well.
Here are the top 10 teams from this year’s contest:
- Russia, 184 pts (five gold medals, one silver)
- China, 181 pts (four gold, two silver)
- Vietnam, 168 pts (three gold, three silver)
- South Korea, 168 pts (two gold, four silver
- UNITED STATES, 155 pts (two gold, three silver, one bronze)
- Ukraine, 154 pts (three gold, one silver, two bronze)
- Japan, 154 pts (two gold, four silver)
- North Korea, 151 (one gold, four silver, one honorable mention)
- Bulgaria, 149 pts (two gold, three silver, one bronze)
- Taiwan, 149 pts (two gold, three silver, one bronze)
U.S. team members finished as follows:
• Alex Zhai, rising senior, UNI HIGH, gold medal (32 pts), No. 7 overall
• Sherry Gong, 2007 graduate, Phillips Exeter Academy, Exeter, N.H., gold (32 pts), No. 8
• Brian Lawrence, 2007 graduate, Montgomery Blair H.S., Silver Spring, Md., silver (28 pts), No. 41
• Arnav Tripathy, 2007 graduate, East Chapel Hill H.S., Chapel Hill, N.C., silver (22 pts), No. 99
• Eric Larson, rising junior, South Eugene H.S., Eugene, Ore., silver (22 pts), No. 100
• Tedrick Leung, 2007 graduate, North Hollywood H.S., North Hollywood, Calif., bronze (19 pts), No. 137
The Olympiad concludes Monday with an awards ceremony. Participants will depart Hanoi on Tuesday.
Zhai and his teammates were selected to represent the United States through a four-stage process sponsored by the Mathematical Association of America. They competed in the American Mathematics Contest, the American Invitational Mathematics Examination, the United States of America Mathematical Olympiad, and the Team Selection Test.
Alex Zhai’s road to the 2007 International Mathematical Olympiad
— Feb. 20, 2007, Gargoyle: Zhai, eight others advance in math contest
— April 6, 2007, Gargoyle: Alex Zhai one step closer to International Math Olympiad … again
— May 7, 2007, Gargoyle: Alex Zhai ties for second-highest score in 2007 USA Mathematical Olympiad
— May 24, 2007, Gargoyle: USA Math Olympiad winner Alex Zhai receives another $15,000 scholarship
— May 28, 2007, Gargoyle: Alex Zhai to represent U.S. again in International Math Olympiad