MEXICO CITY (July 15, 2009)—Defeating teams from 14 other regions, Canada took top honors at the ninth National Geographic World Championship held today at the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City. The United States came second, and Poland, just one point behind the United States, was third. This is the second time Canada has won the geography competition. It was victorious at the third National Geographic World Championship in 1997, when it beat eight other teams in Washington, D.C.
The presenting sponsor of this year’s international contest organized by the National Geographic Society was Telmex Foundation, with supporting sponsorship from the Mexican Academy of Sciences, CONACYT, JW Marriott Mexico City and Televisa Foundation.
The Canadian team comprised Peter Brandt, 15, of Sainte Anne, Manitoba; Christopher Chiavatti, 15, of Burnaby, British Columbia; and Graham Tompkins, 16, of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. The U.S. team members were Kenji Golimlim, 11, of Southgate, Michigan; Milan Sandhu, 15, of Bedford, New Hampshire; and Eric Yang, 13, of The Colony, Texas. Poland’s team members were Piotr Byrski, 16, of Łodygowice, Ślaskie; Wojciech Kaczmarczyk, 16, of Racibórz, Ślaskie; and Gabriel Stachura, 16, of Lublin, Lubelskie.
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 today’s finals.
Canada, the United States and Poland qualified for the final round after obtaining the highest combined scores in a written contest on Sunday and in Monday’s preliminary activity that included a hands-on map activity. Canada was the highest scorer in these earlier rounds.
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 12 other teams competing this year were from Australia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Chinese Taipei, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Mexico, Romania, Russia, Slovakia and the 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 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. The Australians, 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 next four competitions: against 11 other teams in Toronto, Canada, in 1999; against 12 other teams in Vancouver, Canada, in 2001; against 17 other teams at Busch Gardens, Fla., in 2003; and against 17 other teams in Budapest, Hungary, in 2005. The 2007 competition at SeaWorld, San Diego, was won by Mexico, which beat 16 other teams.
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/ngwc/
User name: press
EPK video of the National Geographic World Championship will be available:
North American Distribution
Date: Wednesday, July 15
Time: 1630-1645 ET
SAT: AMC 3 C-band Domestic Analog
U/L FREQ: 6085 H
D/L FREQ: 3860 V
Audio: 6.2 & 6.8 sub carriers
Europe & Asia Distribution
Via APTN Global Video Wire (GVW)
Work 202-857-7659; Cell 202-380-7276
Work 202-857-7662; Cell 202-731-6040
Andres Ortiz Lavin
Telmex (Media in Mexico)
(011-5255) 52-22-52-78; (011-5255) 52-22-56-28