History of the ÖMO
How everything started...
The incentive for a mathematical competition for Austrian high school students came in 1968 from Moscow. There the 10th International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO) was held in July. Then (and still today) participation at the IMO was only possible upon invitation from the host country, with the host having to invite all participating countries of past Olympiads. And in 1968 Austria got its first invitation to an IMO.
Since a participation without suitable preparation did not seem advisable, the ministry for education only sent LSI. HR. Dr. Alexander as an observer to the 1968 IMO. His comprehensive account clearly showed that the level of mathematical training in Austrian high schools was by far not high enough for the problems posed at IMO competitions. Therefor there had to be additional classes in mathematics.
At the following Olympiad in Romania, Austria was again only represented by an observer, OSTR. Mag. Flick. His evaluation of the mathematical training of Austrian high school students was in accordance with the one given in the previous year. So in fall 1969 the ÖMO was finally put on track. It was because of the vigorous commitment of Ministrialrat Dr. E. Szirucsek that the preparations could begin:
- establishment of preparatory courses for student all over Austria;
- location of interested young and motivated teachers and
- training of them by renowned university mathematicians.
It was a hectic year. Deficits from the studies about "giving proofs" had to be eradicated and the search for suited problems was a central weekend occupation.
Finally, in the summer of 1970, the very first ÖMO and the first Austrian IMO participation (12th IMO in Hungary) took place. The hard work was rewarded and gave courage for the following years.
14 countries competed at the 12th IMO. Most successful was Hungary with 233 point, followed by the GDR and the USSR with 221 points. Austria could achieve a bronze medal and got the 12th place with 104 points just behind Sweden (110) and Poland (105).
Leader: Thomas Mühlgasser; deputy: Wolfgang Ratzinger
Contestants: Karl Czakler, Johann Hackl (bronze), Franz Hofbauer, Gerald Leitner, Wolfgang Matej, Angelika Rindler, Erich Steinbauer, Herbert Tobisch.