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The International Olympiad in Informatics: award winners welcomed at Bercy

In the summer of 2019, France once again stood out on the international stage. Not for the football world cup or a basketball tournament, but for the International Olympiad in Informatics (IOI) and the European Junior Olympiad in Informatics (EJOI)!

These two competitions were organized in Baku, Azerbaijan from August 4 to 11, and Maribor, Slovenia from August 23 to 29.  The French proudly brought home new gold, silver and bronze medals thanks to the eight talented French competitors trained and assisted by the France-IOI Association with the support of EPITA. To reward these young algorithmic champions, a special ceremony was held at the French Ministry of Economy and Finance on Tuesday, September 10, in the presence of the award winners, their parents, the France-IOI teams, EPITA and Cédric O, Secretary of State to the Minister of Economic Affairs and Finance and the Minister of Public Action and Accounts, responsible for the digital sector.

Cédric O and Joël Courtois, Managing Director of EPITA

The best French performance in the history of the IOI

“We are delighted to be welcomed and acknowledged by the Minister… and this is also extremely important to the candidates who may feel that their achievements and their hard work are valued by the highest-level officials in France!” proudly states co-founder and President of France-IOI, Mathias Hiron. Indeed, for the second consecutive year, his association and the French IOI and EJOI team members were honored at a ceremony organized at Bercy in the presence of the Secretary of State in charge of the digital sector. This is a way to reward the selflessness and dedication of France-IOI and EPITA, historical partners that, for many years, have chosen the four best junior high or high school students to represent France at the IOI, and since 2017, the best students ages 15 and under for the EJOI. And this year was quite special, as France achieved its best performance in the history of the IOI competition, with a gold medal and three silver medals. “We are always happy to see our participants bring back a medal, but this year we are even prouder! And this gold medal is all the more important to us because it rewards Arthur Leonard’s final participation in the IOI event. He has been part of the French competitors for several years now and has worked very hard to win this award. The fact that he finally won it before being too old to participate in the IOI is a real honor.”

Together with his teammates Étienne Rossignol (31st out of 329 participants from nearly 90 countries), Hugo Peyraud-Magnin (55th) and Rémy Kimbrough (81st), Arthur Leonard is obviously proud to have finally obtained this famous gold medal by coming in 10th position in the general ranking. “I am very happy to have won this gold medal at my last Olympiad competition, because it has been my goal since the very first time I participated in the event”, says Arthur, who is now in a computer science preparation program. In his opinion, this performance is not an end in itself: “Over the years, I have seen that the level in France has continued to increase, just like the general IOI level. We are now learning things that we would not have six years ago. We must continue advancing and using this momentum, rather than simply remain content with our awards, otherwise we could lag behind other teams!”

Arthur Léonard (center) and his teammates

Continuing to proudly represent France at the highest level

The future of the French IOI team will depend on those who have experience in the EJOI, like the 2019 selection made up of Nathan Duboisset (silver medalist, 22nd out of 89 participants from 25 countries), Pablo Rey (bronze medalist, 40th place), Victor Zablocki (47th place) and Alice Tosel (bronze medal, 28th place). Alice Tosel, the first young woman on the EJOI French team, has many future ambitions: “Having taken part in these Olympiads is good training for the future because I didn’t think I would have the level required to join the IOI team this year. Now, I will continue working hard so that I will be able to join the team next year!” These words must make Cédric O proud. “Training in computer science is vital for us and is at the heart of today’s competition on a worldwide level”, specifies the Secretary of State. From the United States to China, all countries are honing their skills in this area. It is a real race for talent. This ceremony is therefore a great way to highlight these young people who show their commitment and proudly represent France at the highest level. I am more particularly thinking about the IOI team members who have managed to hoist France to 7th position out of more than 80 countries. Seeing our country in the top 10 sends out a very strong message that showcases our quality education system and will encourage young men and women to study mathematics and computer science. I spent a wonderful time with them and would like to extend my heartfelt thanks!”

Three members of the 2019 EJOI team: Pablo Rey, Alice Tosel and Victor Zablocki

The IOI and EJOI teams, accompanied by the France-IOI Association, together with the Secretary of State and Joël Courtois


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