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 similar in format to the IMO (that is, 6 problems over two days with 4.5 hours per day); it is a tradition for all new students not in Black (and occasionally a couple returning ones) to take the ELMO during a weekend of MOP. 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.

Every year, the ELMO committee, consisting of most of the returning MOPpers as well as the Black group, create a new name for the ELMO based on these initials. Names in past years have included "Eric Larsen Math Olympiad"(2008?), " Entirely Legitimate (Junior) Math Olympiad"(2009), and "Exceedingly Luck-Based Math Olympiad" (2010), Ex-experimental Math Olympiad, Easy Little Math Olympiad, Extremely Last-Minute Olympiad, e^log Math Olympiad, End Letter Missing, Exceedingly Loquacious Math Olympiad, English Language Master's Open (2011), Everyone Lives at Most Once (2013), Ego Loss May Occur (2014), Ex-Lincoln Math Olympiad (2015), The vEry badLy naMed cOntest (2017), Eyy LMaO (2018), Exclusively carL-Made Olympiad (2019), Elmo Literally Moved Online (2020), Olympians Enjoy Mixed-up Letters (2021), and Elmo, Let Me Out (2022).

Part of this finite simple group (usually in Black) make up the grading committee, and previous MOPpers submit problems to be included on the test. (The head organizer for the ELMO is called the Supreme Grand Ayatollah, a tradition started By David B. Rush in 2009.) All returning students then vote on the problems that the grading committee decides to put on the shortlist, to determine what 6 problems will be on the test. Problems are voted on in pairs, rather than individually; for example, someone would say, "I want G1/N1 to be problems 1 and 4, all in favor?" rather than "G1 should be problem 1". They also vote on what a rubric for grading these problems will be, especially how many points would be gained by making partial progress on the problem and how much lost for certain common mistakes (often this rubric only includes the most common solution; unique ideas are determined on a case-by-case basis). The sheer amount of ideas that need to be voted down often cause these coordination meetings to devolve into chaos, shouting matches, and thrown insults.

The people not on grading committee (this usually includes all Blue and Green returnees, and occasionally a Black or two) act as "team leaders" for their "country" (each country gets 1 or 2 leaders), and each picks students to serve on their team (where is a variable depending on number of willing team leaders and number of returning MOPpers). 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. 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.

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



The winning team in 2010 was "Kanto", consisting of Youkow Homma, Thomas Swayze, Archit Kulkarni, and Gil Goldschlager, with team leaders Brian Wai and Thomas Lu. Due to the experimental nature of Green Group, this particular year had many co-captaining teams. The team "Yang Dominion", led by Dai and Patrick Yang, placed second. The winning individual score was 33, and the winning team score was 80.

The individual top 5 in 2010 were:

1. Thomas Swayze 2. Bowei Liu 3. Eric Schneider Silver: 4. Bobby Shen 5. Reed LaFleche