SAN DIEGO (Aug. 9, 2007)–Unseating five-time champion the United States, Mexico triumphed at the eighth National Geographic World Championship held today at SeaWorld San Diego. The U.S. team came second, and Canada was third. Organized by the National Geographic Society, the competition was sponsored by SeaWorld and Busch Gardens Adventure Parks.
The Mexican team included Ángel Aliseda-Alonso, 16, of Zapopan, Jalisco; Carlos Elías Franco-Ruiz, 14, of Zapotlán de Juárez, Hidalgo; and Emanuel Johansen-Campos, 15, of Tejalpa, Morelos. This is the third National Geographic World Championship in which Mexico has participated.
The U.S. team members were Kelsey Schilperoort, 15, of Prescott, Ariz.; Neeraj Sirdeshmukh, 15, of Nashua, N.H.; and Matthew Vengalil, 15, of Grosse Pointe Shores, Mich.
The Canadian team comprised Marky Freeman, 14, of Thornhill, Ontario; Maxim Ralchenko, 13, of Nepean, Ontario; and Jonathan Whyte, 13, of Toronto, Ontario.
The winning question was: “What historic site was carved from sandstone in about
1200 B.C.? This site includes two huge temples and statues of an ancient ruler.” Answer: Abu Simbel.
In an Olympics-style ceremony, medals were awarded to the first-, second- and third-placed teams. Alex Trebek, host of the U.S. television quiz show “Jeopardy!”, moderated the finals.
Mexico, the United States and Canada qualified for the final round after obtaining the highest combined scores in a written contest on Monday and in Tuesday’s preliminary activity that included an outdoor map-reading course at SeaWorld.
Students were eligible to take part in the World Championship competition by winning or being a top finisher in the national competitions of their home regions. The 14 other teams that competed this year were from Argentina, Australia, Bulgaria, Chinese Taipei, France, Germany, Ghana, Hungary, India, Poland, Romania, Russia, Singapore and United Kingdom.
John Fahey, president of the National Geographic Society, said the competition was a great way for talented young geographers around the world to match wits against each other and to enjoy a rewarding cross-cultural exchange. “The competition enhances international dialogue and understanding and promotes friendships around the globe,” he added.
The National Geographic World Championship is held every two years. The first contest, held in London in 1993, was won by the United States, which beat teams from the United Kingdom and Russia. Australia, competing against four other teams, won the 1995 competition in Orlando, Fla. The third championship, held in 1997 at National Geographic headquarters in Washington, D.C., was won by Canada, which bested eight other teams. The United States won the fourth competition against 11 teams in Toronto, Canada, in 1999. The United Sates also took first place against 12 other teams in the 2001 contest in Vancouver, Canada; against 17 other teams at Busch Gardens, Fla., in 2003; and against 17 other teams in Budapest, Hungary, in 2005.
NOTE: Up-to-date information about the competition will be posted in the National
Geographic online press room at nationalgeographic.com/pressroom.
Photographs can be downloaded at FTP site http://ftp.nationalgeographic.com/pressroom/wrldgeobee. User name: press
EPK of the National Geographic World Championship will be available:
Date: Thursday, Aug. 9
Time: 16:30 ET to 16:45 ET
Satellite: Galaxy 26 (formerly IA6) (C-Band)
DL Frequency: 4040 MHz