The United States Geography Olympiad was founded in order to provide American students with a way to qualify for the International Geography Olympiad (widely referred to as iGeo). The 2018 International Geography Olympiad was held in Quebec City, Canada from July 31-August 6, 2018. The 2019 International Geography Olympiad will be held in Summer 2019 in Hong Kong. The students on Team USA will also take part in a mandatory training camp in Hong Kong for 2 days in advance of the competition as well.
Tell me more about how I can qualify to take part in the International Geography Olympiad!
Sure! Four of the top Varsity students from the US National Championships will win the right to represent the USA at the 2019 International Geography Olympiad in Hong Kong. See the Nationals page for how the qualification will work. The International Geography Olympiad is an international tournament for high school students from around the world which is organized by the International Geography Union, a global professional organization of geographers. The first iGeo was held in The Hague, Netherlands in 1996 – other iGeos have since been held in Portugal, Korea, South Africa, Poland, Australia, Tunisia, Taiwan, Germany, China, Russia, Serbia, and Canada. In both 2017 and 2018, Team USA came in 3rd overall (out of 41 teams in 2017, out of 43 teams in 2018), and all four members of Team USA in both years won either gold or silver medals.
Jason Flowers, a teacher and academic team coach at the Liberal Arts and Sciences Academy in Austin, TX, who has coached Team USA since 2015 was the head coach for the 2018 US team and will return as head coach in 2019. Steve Muench, a social studies teacher in Leonia, NJ who has coached since 2017 will return to co-coach in 2019.
Please note, though, that only Varsity students (i.e. students born before July 1, 2003) are eligible to qualify for Team USA for the 2019 iGeo, in accordance with iGeo’s eligibility rules.
All participating countries send four students to compete, but the entire competition is done on an individual basis. All students will compete in a multi-media multiple choice exam, a short-answer exam, and a fieldwork exercise. There is also a poster competition too. The students with the top overall scores, factoring in each part of the competition receive medals, and the top performing countries are recognized as well.
Subsequent iGeos will be held in Hong Kong (2019), Istanbul (2020), and Paris (2022) among other locations.
For more information on the International Geography Olympiad in general, see www.geoolympiad.org/ as well as the iGeo Wikipedia page.
For more information on the past 2013 Geography Olympiad in Kyoto, Japan, see: http://japan-igeo.com/english/
For more information on the past 2014 Geography Olympiad in Krakow, Poland, see: www.geoolympiad.org/2014/index.shtml
For more information on the past 2015 Geography Olympiad in Tver, Russia, see: http://igeo2015.com/conf2015/
For more information on the past 2016 Geography Olympiad in Beijing, China, see: www.igeo2016.org
For more information on the past 2017 Geography Olympiad in Belgrade, Serbia, see: http://igeobelgrade.edu.rs/
For more information on the past 2018 Geography Olympiad in Quebec City, Canada, see: http://igeo2018.ulaval.ca/
How much will this cost?
For 2019, students and their families will need to cover their flights to and from Hong Kong, but USGO will cover the other approximate $7000 in expenses (i.e. entry fees, coach flights and stipend, training camp costs, etc.) associated with attending iGeo in Hong Kong.
Past International Geography Olympiad Medalists from the USA
Note: While the exact formula can vary a bit from year to year, typically 50% of students at iGeo receive medals. The top 1/12 receive gold medals, students finishing in the 2nd and 3rd 12th receive silver medals, and students finishing in the 25th to 50th percentile receive bronze medals.
2018 – 165 total students, held in Quebec City, Canada
Gold – Kyle Yu, Westlake High School, Ohio (7th Place overall)
Gold – Benjamin Benjadol, Trinity High School, Texas (14th Place overall)
Silver – Kevin Lu, Richard Montgomery High School, Maryland (34th Place overall)
Silver – Daniel Ma, Hunter College High School, New York (40th Place overall)
2017 – 159 total students, held in Belgrade, Serbia
Gold – Martin Rakowszczyk, Wootton High School, Maryland (12th Place overall)
Silver – AJ Manning, Bartow IB High School, Florida (20th Place overall)
Silver – Kyle Yu, Westlake High School, Ohio (22nd Place overall)
Silver – Jakob Myers, Naperville North High School, Illinois (40th Place overall)
2016 – 173 total students, held in Beijing, China
Gold – AJ Manning, Bartow IB High School, Florida (8th Place overall)
Gold – Eugene Wang, BASIS Tucson North, Arizona (9th Place overall)
Silver – Matthew Janson, Providence High School, North Carolina (20th Place overall)
2015 – 159 total students, held in Tver, Russia
Gold – James Mullen, Monta Vista High School, California (3rd Place overall)
Gold – Kevin Li, Westview High School, California (7th Place overall)
2014 – 144 total students, held in Krakow, Poland
Gold – James Mullen, Monta Vista High School, California (Overall World Champion)
Silver – Anton Karpovich, Illinois Math and Science Academy, Illinois (36th Place overall)
Bronze – Tine Valencic, Grapevine High School, Texas
2013 – 128 total students, held in Kyoto, Japan
Bronze – Joe Kiernan, Moorestown Friends School, New Jersey
Bronze – Nirav Ilango, Chattahoochee High School, Georgia
Bronze – Anton Karpovich, Illinois Math and Science Academy, Illinois
Team USA Overall Results
2018 (Quebec City, Canada) – 3rd out of 43 teams
2017 (Belgrade, Serbia) – 3rd out of 41 teams
2016 (Beijing, China) – 7th out of 45 teams
2015 (Tver, Russia) – tied for 12th out of 40 teams
2014 (Krakow, Poland) – 10th out of 36 teams
2013 (Kyoto, Japan) – 14th out of 32 teams