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United States and Soviet Union Tie in Math Olympiad

July 14, 1986

WARSAW, Poland (AP) _ The United States and Soviet Union tied for first place in this year’s international high school mathematics competition, the U.S. team director said today.

In the individual competition, the six-member U.S. team won three gold medals and three silver medals, said Cecil Rousseau, a mathematics professor at Memphis State University in Tennessee.

The Soviets won two golds and three silvers, he said.

The annual International Mathematics Olympiad was held in Warsaw this year and included 192 students from 37 countries.

The contestants answered six questions during the two-day competition Wednesday and Thursday and an international jury graded the results during the weekend. A closing ceremony was scheduled for today, when the results were to be announced officially.

Joseph Keane, 17, of Pittsburgh, received a special jury prize for a ″particularly original and elegant solution″ to a problem on algorithms, or repetitive calculations, Rousseau said. Keane was the only recipient of the award this year.

The United States and Soviet Union each received 203 points, Rousseau said. West Germany was third with 196 points, followed by China with 177), East Germany with 172 and Romania with 171.

The United States, which first competed in 1974, won in 1977 and 1981, Rousseau said.

Students receive a maximum of seven points for each question on the exam, with point totals from each team’s six members determining the final team standings.

Students who scored a 34 or better received gold medals, Rousseau said. The minimum scores for silver and bronze medals were 26 and 17 respectively.

Keane led the U.S. team with 41 points. Other U.S. gold winners were David Grabiner, 18, of Claremont, Calif., scoring a 36; and Jeremy Kahn, 16, of New York, with a 35.

The three Americans who won silver medals were John Overdeck, 16, of Columbia, Md.; Darien Lefkowitz, 17, of New York; and Bill Cross, 18, of Kalamazoo, Mich.

″I was a bit nervous last year,″ said Keane, who was on the team for the 1985 competiton in Finland. ″This year I think the exam was a bit easier and I was more confident.″

″For me, it’s an opportunity to learn some mathematics and to be able to meet people from the United States and the rest of the world who will be the leading mathematicians in the world in 20 years,″ said Grabiner. ″I think we’ll all meet again someday.″

The six U.S. competitors were chosen from 300,000 students nationwide who took a series of three exams.

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