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Odyssey of the Mind - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Odyssey of the Mind
Are there other O.M.ers out there?

Just asking because I was looking at the Wiki article, and they date the change of name from "Olympics of the Mind" to "Odyssey of the Mind" in the "late 80s." My memory is coughing up "early 80s"--between the 82-83 and 83-84 seasons, with "Humor from Homer" as the last "Olympics of the Mind" year (I assumed that they decided to use "Odyssey" because they'd had an Odyssey-themed problem just before they were forced into a name change). But I can't find the date on the OM website, and my electronic resources are failing me. Does anyone have actual citations on when the name change happened? My memory could be faulty here, but I was almost certain it was between my seventh and eighth grade years.
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marissa_214 From: marissa_214 Date: August 7th, 2006 03:37 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh! I haven't talked to anyone about OM in such a long time! Sorry I don't know the answer though. I started doing OM in 1988-ish and it was definitely Odyssey by then. Is it still going on?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 7th, 2006 03:53 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, definitely. Check out the problems (and fun practice spontaneous problems) at
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fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 7th, 2006 08:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, yeah. Those guys are consummate OMers.
chicleeblair From: chicleeblair Date: August 7th, 2006 03:41 am (UTC) (Link)
I love OM!!!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 7th, 2006 03:55 am (UTC) (Link)
It totally rocks. I did it for six years. My teams had a habit of winning the Ranatra Fusca... "That didn't win, but it was, er, creative..." My friend Kip won an individual one for costumes one year. He bought cheap stuff at garage sales and turned it into pull-away chorus line costumes for a big finale number.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 7th, 2006 04:00 am (UTC) (Link)
(Which kind of gets into why I like it. OM trains you to do just about anything with whatever happens to be lying around. Since I graduated, I've had more than one person boggle at the kind of "Oh, let's think around that corner" problem-solving that I always did in OM. OMers are the type of people who end up coming up with new inventions, but, ironically, the type who are late in using them, because they've already got something set up that works fine.)
threnody From: threnody Date: August 7th, 2006 04:06 am (UTC) (Link)
My sisters were very into it in high school, but I'd never heard of it until I was in high school and then it was kind of a background thing. It apparently is in Canada, but I never saw or heard of it and I went to twelve schools in as many years, so. Must be in the west or something.

Er, anyway, I did some hunting and have only come up with this, which sites 1988 for the name change. That was the same year the IOC gave the Special Olympics permission to use that name, so I'm guessing it copyrighted the name around then.
threnody From: threnody Date: August 7th, 2006 04:21 am (UTC) (Link)
Apparently they copyrighted it 1987, which supports the year given above.

And damn, that took some hunting. O.o
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 7th, 2006 12:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm sure it was before '88, though--that was my senior and last year, and I was less involved than usual that year... but I remember it being "Odyssey" most of the time I was there. Hmmm.

Maybe I should ask them for copies of the problems during the years I was in school, and just look at the cover pages...

The IOC needs to be smacked around for that. Looking at some of the other comments on the page (they went after a GREEK RESTAURANT with "Olympic" in the name?), I am willing to volunteer for the job.
From: octobersnow Date: August 7th, 2006 04:27 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm a former OMer, but only for 2(?) years. (Damn stupid coach cheating and thinking she could get away with it. I'm not bitter, no not at all...) I never even knew that it was called "Olympics of the Mind", but I'm not a history buff at all.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 7th, 2006 12:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
Grr. Adults who find it necessary to cheat on kids' contests really need therapy.

My O.M. coach was the best. He used to let us stick balsa wood into the holes of his soundproof ceiling.
harriet_wimsey From: harriet_wimsey Date: August 7th, 2006 05:28 am (UTC) (Link)
I had friends who did it, but I'm not sure that I ever actually participated in any of those types of things. I wouldn't remember anything about the name change anyway, though, as 1982 is the year I was born. It sounds awfully fun--I missed out on a lot of things in school because I assumed I wouldn't be allowed to do them and just never told my parents (they were dumbfounded when they found out, and said of course they would have given me rides when it caused me to miss the bus and all that, but it was too late).
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 7th, 2006 12:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ouch. That was one nice thing about actually living in town instead of in the outlying areas; when we had Saturday workdays, I could just walk to the school like any other day.

They kicked us out of our storage room/practice area. Damned school, thinking they needed a computer room. I mean, priorities!
harriet_wimsey From: harriet_wimsey Date: August 7th, 2006 02:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
I didn't even live very far out of town at the time, certainly not in the country like now, but I was far enough from the school to ride the bus. It really wouldn't have taken my parents long to drive me, but it never even occurred to me that it was an option. I had lots of imagination as a kid, but it never translated into practical matters.
stars_fell From: stars_fell Date: August 7th, 2006 05:36 am (UTC) (Link)
Heh, there's a name I haven't heard in a long time.

There was an Odyssey of the Mind team at my middle school, but I was never on it. Don't know why, because I should have been. :) (I was in middle school from 1994-1997.)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 7th, 2006 12:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
there's a name I haven't heard in a long time.

"Of course I knew it... it's me. But I haven't gone by the name 'Olympics of the Mind' since, oh, before you born..." ;)

It's way fun. I greatly appreciate my time in it.
stephantom From: stephantom Date: August 7th, 2006 07:33 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm pretty sure my middle school only had an OM team one year (my middle school was a brand new charter school that had teachers coming and going every year; things like sports teams and student councils were on and off again). I did it and it was a lot of fun, although our skit was pretty ridiculous. Something about a moose family adopting a penguin... Sixth grade for me, so it would have been... 1999. Obviously I've only known it by "Odyssey of the Mind."
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 7th, 2006 12:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
As I understand it from the article, 1999 was the year of the big internal problems at the headquarters, so if things tended to come and go, I can believe that they dropped OM like a hot potato.

My first skit included the entire cast bursting into the Puffs jingle while dancing aroun with a cyclops who had a paper mache head. The next year, it was setting Moby Dick to rhyming couplets ("There once was a schoolteacher, namely me / Who wanted to go sailing on the high seas"--accompanied by a slide of Hi-C on ice, of course.)
ani_bester From: ani_bester Date: August 7th, 2006 08:05 am (UTC) (Link)
no info but I did OM all the way through 8th grade. We even won regionals once =P

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 7th, 2006 12:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
We got to States a couple of times, but the state judges so didn't like us, no matter how well we did at regionals. My team had a distinctly nasty sense of humor sometimes. We realized how the world worked the year we randomly decided to make our skit a musical--it wasn't a requirement that year--and we put together a pretty cute little play with some spiffy effects. Which happened to include an incest joke and a drunken janitor saving the day by spilling his booze on the bad guy. We came in second-to-the-last. The winners? A team with matching "no drinking" T-shirts and a skit with a Message about not driving drunk.


This did not, however, change our approach; we just decided that that States judges were doofuses, and continued to do things the way we felt like doing them.

I think I can count "Humor from Homer" as my first actual, written-down fanfic.
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fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 7th, 2006 12:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
Apparently, there was a split in the parent company that year. Destination Imagination didn't last long. ;) Th non-profit arm remained "Odyssey of the Mind" in the end, while the profit arm took "O.M." and "Destination Imagination."

Good look on having OMers not use OM anymore, guys...
matril From: matril Date: August 7th, 2006 01:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
I was in OM after the name change had taken place, but this is bringing back some fond memories. For the problem "Old Man and the Sea" we did a rendering with Elmer Fudd (old man) finally catching that elusive Bugs Bunny (big fish) but then being foiled by a park ranger (sharks) who said it wasn't rabbit hunting season. I was Elmer Fudd. I suppose that was my big acting debut. :P
hymnia From: hymnia Date: August 7th, 2006 09:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
I did OM in elementary school, and I believe the first year I did it, which I'm pretty sure couldn't have been earlier than 1988-89 (3rd grade for me), was one of the first years after the name change, because some of the teachers and maybe the older kids as well were still having trouble remembering to call it by the new name. If I had to venture a guess, I'd say it probably changed around 1986-87. I asked my mom, too, and she said she thinks I'm right, because my older brother, who was two school years ahead of me, participated in it before I did, and she thinks that it was still called Olympics of the Mind the first year or two that he did it. But the first year I did it, it was no longer called that.
From: dafne99 Date: August 7th, 2006 11:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ah.. OM. I miss those days. My fondest memory of OM was when we trying to come up with different uses for paper plates & my friend looked right over at my boobs, held two plates on his chest and said "breast plates!" I did it in 7th & 8th grade (like, 91-92?), but we were from a little hole in the wall town in Indiana, so we didn't go anywhere with it. It was tons of fun, though!
gwendolyngrace From: gwendolyngrace Date: August 8th, 2006 05:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
I never got to do OM, but they used some of the challenges in our classrooms. That was the year it changed, actually, because our teacher introduced it to us as Olympics and then within about two months it was, "Oops - no! Now it's Odyssey." So that was... 7th grade? So that would have been.... 1983/84?
gwendolyngrace From: gwendolyngrace Date: August 8th, 2006 05:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
Um.. yeah. Obviously I can't calculate dates. I think it was 84, but I could be full of crap.
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