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Russia Takes Gold at National Geographic World Championship

Defending champs from Canada faced off against Chinese Taipei and Russia in a contest that host Alex Trebek called the most challenging World Championship yet. NGS photo.

 

Defeating teams from 16 other regions, Russia took top honors at the 10th National Geographic World Championship held today at Google headquarters in Mountain View, California. Canada, the defending champion, came in second, and Chinese Taipei was third. The biennial competition, in which teams of students answer questions on physical, cultural and economic geography, is organized by the National Geographic Society. Google was the sponsor of this year’s contest.

Russia has entered a team in every National Geographic World Championship since the competition began in 1993. This is the first time the country has won. The Russian team comprised Alexander Bondarchuk, 16, of St. Petersburg; Masha Samoletova, 16, of St. Petersburg; and Egor Shustov, 16, of Sludyanka.

The Canadian team members were Alexander Cohen, 15, of Ottawa, Ontario; Aoife O’Leary, 15, of Surrey, British Columbia; and Alejandro Torres-Lopez, 16, of North Vancouver, British Columbia.

Representing Chinese Taipei were Chen-Luo Cheng, 15, of Taipei; Po-Chen Chu, 14, of Taitung; and Tong-hong Hsu, 14, of Banqiao District, New Taipei City.

In an Olympics-style ceremony, gold, silver and bronze 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.

Russia, Canada and Chinese Taipei 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 activity at the San Francisco Zoo.

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 competing this year were from Australia, Bulgaria, China, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, India, Mexico, Nigeria, Poland, Singapore, Slovakia, the United Kingdom and the United States.

John Fahey, chairman and CEO 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 geo-literacy, international dialogue and understanding, and promotes friendships around the globe,” he said.

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 fourth competition against 11 teams in Toronto, Canada, in 1999. The United States also took first place in the 2001 contest in Vancouver, Canada; in 2003 at Busch Gardens, Fla.; and in 2005 in Budapest, Hungary. The 2007 competition at SeaWorld, San Diego, was won by Mexico. Canada took top honors in 2009 in Mexico City.

Teachers: want to compete next year? Now’s the time to apply for the 2012 U.S. National Geographic Bee.

 

Comments

  1. JoTo In: Google, Dunkin’ and Russia
    September 27, 2012, 3:28 pm

    [...] Russia Takes Gold at National Geographic World Championship [...]

  2. Chris
    February 27, 2012, 1:44 pm

    Why does NG not post the video or questions from the World Championships? or is there a link where I can find these?

  3. Carlos Franco
    Pachuca, Mexico
    October 30, 2011, 2:05 pm

    Congratulations to Russian team!!!! I love Russia… also, I’m one of the winners of the 2007 NGWC which was hosted in San Diego =)

  4. Andrew Howley
    August 16, 2011, 1:27 pm

    Hi Swata,
    The winning clue was “This island has a population of about 57,000 people, with the most settlements concentrated on the west coast. Very little of this island is suitable for agriculture.”

    The answer is Greenland.

  5. Swata
    Pittsburgh
    August 16, 2011, 11:53 am

    What was the winning question? Congratulations, Russia.

  6. Elayne Chen
    August 15, 2011, 11:28 am

    Congrajulations to Russia

  7. Andrew Howley
    August 5, 2011, 2:55 pm

    “Chinese Taipei” is actually the title that is used officially by Taiwan for international competition, due to issues of diplomacy. It is under this name that they compete in the Olympics, FIFA, and other organizations.

  8. Michael Peraino
    Spain
    August 5, 2011, 1:36 pm

    The country is Taiwan or the Republic of China. There is no such place as Chinese Taipei. Taipei is the capital of Taiwan. National Geographic afraid of sales in the mainland?

  9. [...] Russia Takes Gold at National Geographic World Championship [...]

  10. Ken Rumbarger
    Trooper, PA
    July 29, 2011, 2:41 pm

    Congratulations to the students from Russia. In all three categories, (physical, cultural and economic), they have enough to learn about Russia let alone the rest of the world. I believe it was Fedor Dostoevsky who described Russia as, “where all shores meet and all contradictions stand side by side.” Since the 19th century that does not seem to have greatly changed.

    As for the USA, if a person I spoke with three days ago is any example, no wonder we don’t win. She was a nice person, but she managed to misplace Michigan, Montana, and Nevada, and she wasn’t quite sure about Illinois, either.

  11. Jennifer Overington
    Burnaby, BC, Canada
    July 28, 2011, 2:27 am

    Congratulations to each of the participants who placed so well in this contest. I appreciate each individual`s success for those on the Russian, Canadian and Chinese Taipei teams. I appreciate Google for hosting this event.

  12. [...] Wednesday morning and put the 71-year-old prime-time television staple in crutches during the 10th National Geographic World Championships, which he was hosting, at the nearby Google headquarters. The injury? What is a snapped Achilles [...]

  13. [...] Wednesday morning and put the 71-year-old prime-time television staple in crutches during the 10th National Geographic World Championships, which he was hosting, at the nearby Google headquarters. The injury? What is a snapped Achilles [...]

  14. [...] Wednesday morning and put the 71-year-old prime-time television staple in crutches during the 10th National Geographic World Championships, which he was hosting, at the nearby Google headquarters. The injury? What is a snapped Achilles [...]