1973 IMO Problems/Problem 1


Point $O$ lies on line $g;$ $\overrightarrow{OP_1}, \overrightarrow{OP_2},\cdots, \overrightarrow{OP_n}$ are unit vectors such that points $P_1, P_2, \cdots, P_n$ all lie in a plane containing $g$ and on one side of $g.$ Prove that if $n$ is odd, \[\left|\overrightarrow{OP_1}+\overrightarrow{OP_2}+\cdots+ \overrightarrow{OP_n}\right|\ge1.\] Here $\left|\overrightarrow{OM}\right|$ denotes the length of vector $\overrightarrow{OM}.$


We prove it by induction on the number $2n+1$ of vectors. The base step (when we have one vector) is clear, and for the induction step we use the hypothesis for the $2n-1$ vectors obtained by disregarding the outermost two vectors. We thus get a vector with norm $\ge 1$ betwen two with norm $1$. The sum of the two vectors of norm $1$ makes an angle of $\le\frac\pi 2$ with the vector of norm $\ge 1$, so their sum has norm $\ge 1$, and we're done.

The above solution was posted and copyrighted by grobber. The original thread for this problem can be found here: [1]

Alternate solutions are always welcome. If you have a different, elegant solution to this problem, please add it to this page.

See Also

1973 IMO (Problems) • Resources
Preceded by
First Question
1 2 3 4 5 6 Followed by
Problem 2
All IMO Problems and Solutions