Odyssey of the Mind wraps up world finals

Some of the brightest young minds in the world were put to the test this week and now it's time to find out who's bringing home the gold.
Published: May. 27, 2023 at 8:05 PM EDT
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EAST LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Another Odyssey of the Mind World Finals has come to a close.

This year’s competition took place over the course of a week on Michigan State University’s campus. As groups of students from across the globe waited to find out which team is taking home the gold, they were thinking about the brain-bending experience they’d just gone through.

“When we started winning, I got a lot of motivation,” said Texas competitor Agastya Chauhan. “And I’m just really happy to be here.”

Competitor Larisa Rustmpasic, who attended worlds with her team from Georgia, had a similar feeling.

“I really like it, I think it’s a good activity for kids to do,” she said. “I really like it, I made a lot of new friends.”

Just hours away from the closing ceremony, teams were hanging out at the Creativity and International Fairs. Lining the walls of Jenison Field House were displays constructed by Odyssey teams which represent their home state or country; some teams even brought their own merchandise.

The fairs are a gathering place for competitors to unwind, connect with other students, or take part in the Odyssey tradition of pin trading. People could be spotted walking around with their Odyssey of the Mind branded towels, designed specifically for holding all their pins.

The bulk of the Odyssey is puzzle solving, and working through difficult problems as a team, but for many participants, it’s a chance to meet students from out of state, and overseas.

“We’ve met people from Delaware, Hong Kong, Korea, Colorado,” said Texas competitor Ryder Santamaria.

Kylie Wong and her teammates traveled thousands of miles from Hong Kong to participate in worlds. She said the fair booths were her favorite part of the competition week.

“All the cultural booths are so fun for us to join,” she said. “And we can communicate with other people from other countries, and we can make some friends.”

For teams who have been to worlds before, like New Jersey competitor Dhruv Rungta, they know how intense it can be. At the end of the day, he said it’s all about the experience, not the trophies.

“You’re working together towards this goal every day,” he said. “You’re working really hard, and being at worlds is just the icing on the cake; it’s just a fun experience to close everything up.”

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