Media Release – Five Medals at International Mathematical Olympiad

Australian student solves hardest problem in history of competition

The Australian team is bringing home three silver and two bronze medals, plus an honourable mention, from the 2017 International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

This year’s competition contained the hardest problem in the history of the IMO. Only seven students scored any points on the question, and only two, including Australia’s Linus Cooper, completely solved the problem. Australia has the distinction of scoring more points than any other country on this question with Hadyn Tang also achieving a partial score on the problem.

The Australian Mathematics Trust’s (AMT) CEO, Nathan Ford, said: ‘We had a great overall team result and it is a significant achievement for Australia to score more points than any other country on the hardest IMO problem in history. It shows how well our competitors are trained in solving complex problems. It’s a testament to Linus’ training, focus and perseverance that he solved it.’

The Australian team finished 34th out of 111 countries in the 58th International Mathematical Olympiad. The South Korean team were the outright winners, with each competitor earning a gold medal.

Six hundred and fifteen students participated in the IMO from the across the globe. The competition was held over 18 and 19 July with competitors having to solve three problems over four and a half hours each day.

The Australian team spent a year in exams and intensive training to make the Olympiad selection. They succeeded amongst more than 25,000 students participating in extension programs and qualifying exams. From that initial cohort, some thirty students attended two training schools before the final selection of the team.

The Australian results were:

2017 International Mathematical Olympiad
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
12 to 23 July

Student School State Result
James Bang Baulkham Hills High School NSW Bronze medal
Matthew Cheah Penleigh and Essendon Grammar School VIC Silver medal
Linus Cooper James Ruse Agricultural High School NSW Silver medal
William Hu Christ Church Grammar School WA Bronze medal
Hadyn Tang Trinity Grammar School VIC Honourable mention
Guowen Zhang St Joseph’s College QLD Silver medal


The selection process for the team to represent Australia at the 2018 International Mathematical Olympiad is already underway. Students from across the country are preparing to sit important competitions during Term 3 including the Australian Mathematics Competition (AMC), the Australian Intermediate Mathematics Olympiad (AIMO) and the Australian Mathematical Olympiad Committee (AMOC) Senior Contest.

Detailed results of the competition are located on the IMO official homepage.

Kate O’Sullivan
Marketing and Communications Officer
Australian Mathematics Trust
02 6201 2663