Winning the Origami Olympics

I won the silver medal at the 2021 Origami Olympics.

Not only did I win, but I am the first American to ever place in the Origami Olympics. And with my teammate Travis Nolan (placed 5th), we won the highest overall placement for the USA winning us the bronze medal for our country.

Task 11: Individual Design. A pirate designed by OBB

What is IOIO

The International Origami Internet Olympiad (IOIO) is the largest folding competition. This was the ninth IOIO and had over eight-hundred participants. It is modeled similar to the Olympic games where individual origami tasks relate to Olympic sport categories and award bronze, silver, and gold medals per task. To win the IOIO, folders need to score highest across all collective tasks. Winning a medal in a task applies a multiplier to the score and scales respectively. And just like the Olympic games, the number of medals across each country are tallied together for the country division. 

This year, there were eleven tasks. These tasks also cover five paradigms of Origami; representational, modular, tessellation, corrugation, and design. While many folders specialize in a single paradigm, it is rare to master all five. My experience is limited to representational and design. In order to be competitive in the other paradigms, I spent hours on research, training, and refinement of their respective techniques.

Origami strategy

My strategy for the competition was to attempt to make masterpieces for every task and out of the eleven tasks, I medalled in five of them. I won four silver medals and one bronze medal. I was unable to make a single masterpiece, but because I achieved about eighty-percent of my goal, I found great success. These medals were pivotal to my second place win.

Task 5: Modular (Lilac Kusudama) designed by Andrey Ermakov
Task 9: Sisyphus Tessellation designed by Peter Keller

The IOIO is such a special folding competition as it provides a unique variety of folding paradigms to showcase the skill of folders. I am honored to join the ranks of medalists and I will now seek to be a designer or judge for future Olympiads. It was such a joy to push my folding skill to the max and show it to the community. Not only does this experience validate my current level, but it inspires me to push further into the endless frontier of folding paper.