The ELMO is an annual math olympiad that happens at MOP. Its initials have stood for many things over time, originating from a backronym originally called the "Experimental Lincoln Math Olympiad". The black MOPpers and returning MOPpers write and organize the test, and lead the teams of competitors, which consist of rookie MOPpers. The team leaders present their teams' solutions to the graders, imitating the grading process of the IMO. The ELMO began in 1999.


The ELMO is a student-written contest identical in format to the IMO (that is, 6 problems over two days with 4.5 hours per day); it is a tradition for the new students to take the ELMO during the first 2 weekends of MOP.

Related contests

In 2012 the ELSMO (a variant of ELMO) was introduced for "the misguided souls who unfortunately pronounce MOP as 'MOSP', with an additional 'S' "*, having the same problems as the ELMO but with a new appearance to make it hard to read. However, in recent years, the ELSMO has been also given to some others deviating from the answer of "MOP" to "What program are you attending?" in more creative ways, e.g. "Girls Together Math Program" aka G2.

Beginning in 2022, due to questionable choices in ELMO, the newcomers (and certain disgruntled others) have started a new tradition called the Revenge ELMO (RELMO), which is so-called since the newcomers, by posing questionable-quality problems to the returners, get their "revenge". It is believed to have been spurred by the presence of ELMO 4 and TSTST 1 that year.


ELMO is an amorphous acronym. Thus the ELMO jury (see below sections) has to invent a new one each year. Names in recent years have included vEry badLy naMed cOntest (2017), "Eyy LMaO (2018), Exclusively carL-Made Olympiad (2019), Elmo Literally Moved Online (2020), Olympians Enjoy Mixed-up Letters (2021), Elmo, Let Me Out (2022), and ELMOnade/waterELMOn (2023).

Making the contest

As of 2023-4, the ELMO bureaucracy includes the jury, consisting of all MOP alums from before the relevant ELMO (even those in college are invited), and the PSC (problem selection committee), which consists of all the senior jurors. As suggested by the names, the PSC holds all power, relegating the jury to a purely advisory role. This system may appear oligarchic, but ensures each MOP alum gets to take part in ELMO selection once.

During MOP

In the opening days of MOP, the returners fit into three categories: team leaders, graders, and PSC (which is effectively the IMO team members who are seniors). During these days, the acronym / flavor text are decided, as well as the teams. Generally, people volunteer to be team leaders, while the remainder grade.


The team leaders pick students to serve on their team in a "draft" sense. Picking order is supposedly random but has often consisted of team leaders with higher test scores picking first in the first round, with every other round reversed so it seems fair. Throughout all this, the ELMO room is kept securely locked so that no one not involved in ELMO coordination can see any potential test problems, and more importantly, team picking order. The team leaders are responsible for voting on problems they feel their team would be strong at, reading solutions of their team members, and attending coordination sessions to argue with the graders about how many points their team members' solutions are worth.

Online participants may take ELMO unofficially and are graded separately.


After ELMO is finished, "medals" are awarded, with medal distribution percentages similar to those at IMO; i.e. 10% receive Gold, etc. Approximately 70%(?) of ELMO participants receive some sort of award or medal. Also, the top online participants are listed on the site as well.

Shortlist problems are publicly released after ELMO on their forum page.


The RELMO is generally held near the end of MOP, and some returning MOPpers may be peer pressured into taking it. The problems "possess a particular quality" (Evan Chang).



In 2023, Hannah Fox from Battery ("AAA") won a resounding 1st place!