It is the aim of the Olympiads to bring young people together from all over the world to enjoy the challenges of their subject in a spirit of friendly competition. Whilst clearly it is a competitive event, for most participants, it is the people that they meet and the shared joy of discovery that is what they regard as most worthwhile. It is common that lifelong friendships are forged at Olympiad events.
A scientific Olympiad does not handle the number of people (or receive the publicity!) of the sporting Olympics, and its budget is minuscule in comparison, but it is still a complex event. The host nation and the participating countries share the cost of the event. Due to rising participation in the IMO, efforts have been made to ask for worldwide donations such as the one given by Google Inc. for 5 years starting in 2011.
This exchange is in fact one of Olympiad's goals and thereby is an important basis for allowing every country to assist in the processes. Contestants get the very important opportunity of meeting people like themselves, with great talent in solving scientific and mathematical problems and in understanding arguments. Before attending the International Event they already have had a chance to meet their own country’s peers and turn the competition to be one of the team into patriotic camaraderie. But once at the International Olympiad they have a chance to meet people like them from all over the world and measure up to international standards in a competition which ends up being against themselves. The friendships created at the event often last a lifetime and turn into professional collaboration. This is a unique chance to meet people like themselves that will in high probability contribute to the academic development of humankind. This contribution to the motivation of these talented students in the study of science and mathematics is perhaps the greatest reason for the International Olympiads to be organized at a venue, and not by correspondence.
After the exams students have some free time whilst the papers are being marked. This is an excellent opportunity get to know each other and to see a bit of the host country. It is also a great moment to provide motivation to pursue their interest in science and mathematics
The International Mathematical Olympiad (since 1959; not held in 1980). A delegation consists of two leaders and six students.
The International Physics Olympiad (since 1967; not held in 1973, 1978, 1980) A delegation consists of two leaders and five students.
The International Chemistry Olympiad (since 1968; not held in 1971). A delegation consists of two leaders and four students.
The International Biology Olympiad (since 1990). A delegation consists of two leaders and four students.