The molecular expression of topologically interesting structures represents a formidable challenge for synthetic chemists. The nontrivial link known as the Borromean rings has long been regarded as one of the most ambitious targets in this field. Of ancient provenance, this symbol comprises three interlocked rings in an inseparable union, but cut any one of the rings and the whole assembly unravels into three separate pieces. This Account delineates different strategies that can be applied to the formation of molecules possessing this distinctive topology, culminating with two successful syntheses of such compounds, thus cutting the Gordian knot of topological chemistry.
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