25th June 2004 at 01:00
Puzzles to test mathematical skills, set by Anita Straker. Solutions below More brainteasers on

Age 8 to 14

Olympic rings

Baron Pierre de Coubertin, founder of the modern Olympics, adopted the five rings in 1913 after seeing them on an Ancient Greek artefact. They represent Africa, Asia, the Americas, Europe and Oceania. All national flags include at least one of the colours.

The letters A to I in this puzzle stand for numbers 1 to 9. The total in each circle is 11. Which letter stands for which number?

Age 9 to 13

Men's 4 x 100 m relay

The Olympic record for the 4 x 100 metres men's relay is held by the United States.

Choose two teams from these eight athletes so that their times for the 4 x 100 metres relay are as close as possible.

Athlete Fastest time (s)

Austin 9.37

Burrell 9.60

Johnson 9.56

Lewis 8.95

Marsh 9.41

Mitchell 9.12

Watts 9.06

Young 9.73


Olympic rings A=9, B=2, C=5, D=4, E=6, F=1, G=7, H=3, I=8 (or the reflection in which I = 9 etc). The middle three circles contain three numbers and the end circles two. 9 can only go with 2, and must placed in an end circle. Similarly, 8 must go with 3 at the other end. Now consider which two digits go with the 3 to make 11, and so on.Relay race Marsh, Austin, Johnson and Watts in one team, and Lewis, Burrell, Young and Mitchell in the other would each run the race in 37.40 seconds, which is the current Olympic record by Michael Marsh, Leroy Burrell, Dennis Mitchell and Carl Lewis from the USA (Barcelona 1992)

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today