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The big day has come - Rio!


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#1 lewelma

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Posted 09 July 2017 - 11:20 PM

DS left this morning for a five day training camp before they head to Rio on Friday. He was in good spirits and not super concerned yet.  At the training camp, he does have to take 2 full practice IMOs created from last year's shortlist, so 18 hours of exams in 4 days.  The NZ team will face jet lag so they will be leaving a couple of days early to acclimate. The parents were not sure this would be enough time, but the organizers were particularly worried about safety in Rio, and I can't really blame them. DH offered to put a 'gunshots in Rio' App on my phone. Yeah, right.  Think not.

 

The packing situation was something special.  Not only did he have to pack for a week of winter in Auckland (including a rain jacket and down vest), he had to pack for summer in Rio (including his team uniform).  Then ds heads straight to the USA to spend a week at a lake (so swim gear) and a week touring universities (so business casual).  Added to this, his grandfather died (not unexpectedly) so he has to bring funeral clothes.  All this in a carry-on suitcase and small backpack.  Did I mention the math books?  It was quite something.  We also got him every single pill known to man for gastro upset or nasal congestion, in case he gets sick before/during the IMO.  And the final thing to go in his suitcase is a kilo of souvenirs to pass out to all the other kids there.  To save space, we did some double ups with the uniform and funeral clothes, and I'm taking the business casual and beach attire with me, but all in all, it took the cake for the most difficult pack I've ever done.  It felt a bit like  :willy_nilly: yesterday, and I needed to  :chillpill: . We then left a bit late for the airport this morning, and got there with only 40 minutes to get the bag checked and ds through security and on the plane. And then he told me that he forgot to eat breakfast, so we had to stand in line to buy food, and then he reminded me that I forgot to buy the host family a present, so I had to go find something at the little store.  But it is done.  He is gone for 2 weeks of adventure and math exams. What a lovely combination  :001_smile:  

 

Ruth in NZ


Edited by lewelma, 09 July 2017 - 11:23 PM.

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#2 Lawyer&Mom

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Posted 10 July 2017 - 12:38 AM

Rio already? Wasn't Hong Kong like last week!?! How exciting, and my goodness time flies!
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#3 eternalsummer

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Posted 10 July 2017 - 05:02 AM

Exciting!


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#4 RootAnn

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Posted 10 July 2017 - 05:17 AM

Is Grandfather your dad? I'm sorry for your family's loss, no matter how expected it was.

Sounds absolutely crazy for him. I'm sure it'll be a whirlwind. Best of luck to you both, as I know how crazy- making it is without the added trip plans and complications.
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#5 MBM

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Posted 10 July 2017 - 08:57 AM

That is a busy, busy schedule but how exciting! It's fun hearing about all his math adventures. You should write about it someday.

Best of luck to him with everything. We'll be rooting him on!

My condolences on the loss of his grandfather, too.
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#6 katilac

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Posted 10 July 2017 - 10:14 AM

That's a crazy couple of weeks! Good thing he's young.


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#7 mathnerd

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Posted 10 July 2017 - 01:51 PM

Good luck to him. Tell him to take care of himself, it is a stressful few weeks. I am sorry for the loss of his grandfather.

 

I am rooting for him :)


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#8 lewelma

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Posted 10 July 2017 - 05:24 PM

DS has been studying so hard these last 3 months.  He is very very lucky to have a friend who is exactly at the same level as he is (who is also on the team) who goes to school 6 blocks away.  This other boy has been given time off to take some university classes, so they have been meeting in between his classes 3 times a week for 3 months to study.  I would say that ds has put in 15 hours of solid study every week. They have attempted to solve all the 2 and 5 problems from the previous year's short lists going back to 1990.  Problems 2 and 5 are the second problem on each day's test, so a level up from problems 1 and 3 which ds feels confident he can get. He has told me that he even got a gold on the 1990 test.  :001_smile:  Too bad the test has just been getting harder and harder.  :tongue_smilie:  DS is very aware that he is small fries and will be competing with "the smartest kids in the world" as he puts it.  I think this year it is feeling more intimidating than last year, because last year at age 15 he was not actually competing with those kids (his level was too low), but this year he will be.  Last year, the practise exams they took in Auckland were a very good predictor for how the kids did on the real one, so hopefully he will do well today and the next 3 which will help his confidence. He told me the other day that the hardest part is that he has to do the test all by himself.  That he can't rely on anyone but himself.  That kind of hit me.  He obviously has taken other tests, but they are ones you study for and know you are prepared for.  The IMO is so much about walking in there with no idea what the problems will look like and if you can actually solve them.  And there are only 2 problems a day that he has a chance to solve, so there is not a lot of room to muck up. I also did not remind him that one of the universities he is interested in will give him a full ride if he medals. Didn't think he needed that extra pressure. ;)

 

I think that the 3 weeks in the USA after Rio, should be mostly relaxing.  Our whorl wind tour of universities is only 5 days of that, and we have the grand privilege (after Boston) of driving around lake Erie to get to Waterloo, CMU, and Michigan. It will be my 25th wedding anniversary, and I have asked for years to go to Hawaii, but no, I will be driving around Lake Erie. :tongue_smilie: Through a ton of work and lots of connections and friends of friends and generally wonderfully helpful people, we have been able to get ds interviews with professors, academic advisers in mathematics departments, current students, private tours of the campus and dorms, and official interviews. Not bad for going in August! My dad being my dad even lined up an interview for ds with a Nobel Laureate in Physic.  :thumbup1:  Because of the funeral, we have extended out our trip, which gives ds more time at the Lake to relax.  Unfortunately when he returns to NZ, he has 10 days until midterms. :eek: :blink:   Yes, we are in the Southern Hemisphere! But I think this is just the way senior year goes.  I am watching him very carefully for burnout and we have made a *very* realistic plan for the remainder of the year.  We have just cut cut cut everything we could out of his schedule, and have made sure he will take the 2 week school holidays in September.  And then when it is all over on 2 December, DS is travelling with his grandfather to Mexico to visit the Mayan ruins as a part of my dad's special trip with one grandkid each year. So crazy, very definitely yes, but he has an end in sight. I think the hardest thing about being a parent to a gifted kid is getting the balance right.  You have to support and encourage but also be the person to say, 'nope, not possible this year.' I certainly haven't gotten it totally right, but I have tried to help him to learn to find balance. He still takes 2-3 hours every. single. night. to read and relax with a plate of cheese and crackers while lounging on a comfy sofa and snuggled up in a warm blanket. :001_wub:


Edited by lewelma, 10 July 2017 - 05:35 PM.

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#9 Lilaclady

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Posted 11 July 2017 - 11:38 AM

All the very best in Rio!!!!
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#10 epi

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Posted 13 July 2017 - 02:37 PM

(1) DS is very aware that he is small fries and will be competing with "the smartest kids in the world" as he puts it.  I think this year it is feeling more intimidating than last year, because last year at age 15 he was not actually competing with those kids (his level was too low), but this year he will be. ...

 

(2)I also did not remind him that one of the universities he is interested in will give him a full ride if he medals. Didn't think he needed that extra pressure.

 

(1) No need to worry about what "level" one is at. You're really "competing" against the questions (i.e. trying to solve them). If you're >4 SD above average, and some others are  >5 SD above average, just do your best, and not worry too much about what others can do. Getting a medal can help affirm feelings of belonging there (but don't say that, to avoid pressure). Also, he is still somewhat younger than many, and has another year, right?

 

(2) This is interesting - I wonder what kind of university this is (you needn't say the exact one). I thought the "elite" U.S. ones had a strict purely needs-based financial aid policy (while admission is highly merit-based). Is there any exception to the needs-based financial aid policy, or is this a university that doesn't strictly have such a policy.
 


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#11 lewelma

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Posted 13 July 2017 - 03:39 PM

 

(2) This is interesting - I wonder what kind of university this is (you needn't say the exact one). I thought the "elite" U.S. ones had a strict purely needs-based financial aid policy (while admission is highly merit-based). Is there any exception to the needs-based financial aid policy, or is this a university that doesn't strictly have such a policy.
 

 

You are right, Elites don't do merit scholarships (and he is applying to 3).  But there are three top math programs that are in schools that have merit aid: U of Michigan, CMU, and Waterloo. Waterloo will give him a full ride for a medal at the IMO in his junior year, the other two have scholarships for general merit. So if you know your geography, you can see why we are driving around Lake Erie in our rental car.  :tongue_smilie:

 

And yes, he is young. Only 16. gulp.  They fly to Rio in 12 hours.  Right now they are meeting with the press, and then they have one more exam to take before they fly out.


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#12 epi

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Posted 13 July 2017 - 05:15 PM

Good luck! :)



#13 lewelma

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Posted 13 July 2017 - 07:55 PM

Talked to him on the phone last night. He was in very good spirits although quite tired! He loves to tell me about the exams he takes and gives me the whole run down. So apparently he misread the first question on the mock exam on Thursday.  Spent 2 1/4 hours working on it before proving something impossible.  This led him to reread the question, only to find out that he had read the numbers in the wrong order which affected his diagram!  He knew the other 5 kids had solved it an hour earlier because he heard them writing up their proofs, so he was running nervous already even before he found out he misread it.  He told me he didn't panic like he had the day before.  He just stopped, stood up, went to the bathroom, took a few deep breaths, and came back to solve it again.  At this point he only had 1 1/4 hours left because the mocks are 3.5 hours instead of 4.5.  And in that time he was able to solve it and make progress on the second problem.  For 10 points on the day!  (which is a good score, 16 points last year was a bronze, and the test is 2 days long). I was so proud of him for not panicking like he did the day before.  On Wednesday, he thought he had solved the first one and chose to not write it up right away but rather move on to the second.  He left himself an hour to write it up, thinking that was plenty of time, only to find out that he hadn't actually solved it.  Apparently he did panic that day, which really affected his thinking.  But he got it done, just.  I am *so* pleased he made these mistakes on the mocks.  Lessons learned, always write it up right away!!  And reread the questions!  Yikes!  


Edited by lewelma, 13 July 2017 - 07:56 PM.

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#14 lewelma

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Posted 18 July 2017 - 01:19 AM

It starts today!  I am so nervous! Luckily for him, he has no trouble sleeping.  I think he has fully made the switch because the exam is from midnight to 4:30am New Zealand time.  :tongue_smilie:  

 

It sounds like Rio has been lovely.  The beaches have been beautiful, the people friendly, and the weather warm.  Because the NZ team has a girl on it this year, and because the facilities are 3 per room, the NZ team has been split up and DS is bunking with two Canadian team members.  They are very nice, and ds plans to hang out with them because they are way less serious than the NZ team. He has the rare privilege of having a smoke detector right above his bed that blinks every 8 seconds  :thumbdown:,  and he has been put 8 floors away from the rest of the New Zealand team, but he doesn't seem to care.  They have a nice rec facility with ping pong tables, foosball, chess, risk, and room for cards.  DS was disappointed to see no one playing mafia this year, so he might just start a game with the Canadians and Australians. All the kids have souvenirs to give away, so ds has been trying to get one from as many countries as he can.  He was quite pleased with something he got from Bangladesh, but apparently missed out on the Swiss hats! However, he did get three Koala Bears from guess where.  I'm very sad to report that there was not a massive paper airplane fight this year at the opening ceremony.   :tongue_smilie:


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#15 kiwik

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Posted 18 July 2017 - 02:16 AM

All the best for him.
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#16 rushhush08

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Posted 18 July 2017 - 05:13 AM

Best of luck!


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#17 lewelma

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Posted 18 July 2017 - 03:07 PM

The first day is done! Apparently, the first problem was too easy and the second and third problems were way too hard.  Even on the American team, only two kids got problem 2 and none got problem 3. So ds is in good company.  :001_smile:  Its going to make for a strange curve!

 


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#18 daijobu

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Posted 18 July 2017 - 03:07 PM

I love these stories.  Keep them coming!  


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#19 Grover

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Posted 18 July 2017 - 03:45 PM

I missed this!  I'll keep my eye out for updates now, I hope it's all still going well.


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#20 lewelma

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Posted 19 July 2017 - 08:27 PM

The exam is done!  Now we wait....

 

The second day's first question was crazy hard.  DS got it finally after 2.5 hours, and when he got up to use the bathroom at hour 3, he saw that lots of people were still working on it.  In fact, one of the kids on the British team did not get it, and the two kids he was between (Countries starting with an N - Nigeria and Nepal?) did not get it. So ds has 2 full problems plus possibly 1 more point = 14-15 points.  Bronze cut off in the past has been between 14 and 16 points, so cross your fingers!  

 

 


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#21 visitor

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Posted 20 July 2017 - 06:06 AM

When are they going to give the results ? Hihi I cant wait  :lol:



#22 lewelma

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Posted 20 July 2017 - 04:37 PM

Not looking good, guys.  He thinks he has missed a bronze by 1 point due to a computational error.  :thumbdown: They haven't released the cut marks yet, but people are speculating 14 or 15.  DS got 2 problems, so 14 points unless they are super strict with problem 1 because it was so easy. The 2nd and 3rd questions on each day's exams were super hard this year, so partial credit will win the game, and that is where ds's computational error hurt him.  Four NZ team members didn't make that error, so the team has 4 bronzes and possibly one of those might be a silver!  

 

I'm hopping on an airplane to the USA in 4 hours, so I won't know the results until I get there in 24 hours. DS is disappointed as you can imagine. But he is resilient, and I'm sure I'll see a smile on his face in a few days.  He is ready, however, to not do any math for a month!

 

 



#23 Grover

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Posted 20 July 2017 - 09:14 PM

I saw him in the paper yesterday!  Go team NZ :-)

 


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#24 Grover

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Posted 21 July 2017 - 09:18 PM

Results are up online!



#25 RootAnn

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Posted 21 July 2017 - 10:17 PM

Bummer. 16 for a Bronze. Looks like NZ had three bronzes. Congrats to Ruth's son for getting two problems correct. 

 

Looked like only two kids got that third problem on the first day! (I actually only saw one, but the Stats say two got full credit.)


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#26 Lilaclady

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Posted 22 July 2017 - 06:45 AM

Bummer indeed. So close to too. Please tell him well done from us. We are so proud of how well he is doing and we appreciate you both.

#27 eternalsummer

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Posted 22 July 2017 - 07:35 AM

Bummer about the high bronze cut-off, but congrats on the honorable mention!  I was surprised both by how well team NZ did, considering they are a very small country, and how well Iran did.  The rest of the high scoring nations (US-almost all Asian lineage as far as I can tell, China, South Korea, Singapore, etc.) were predictable, but who knew Iran had such a good math team?



#28 Arcadia

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Posted 22 July 2017 - 09:15 AM

Congrats to your son!

The rest of the high scoring nations (US-almost all Asian lineage as far as I can tell, China, South Korea, Singapore, etc.) were predictable, but who knew Iran had such a good math team?

The late Professor Maryam Mirzakhani, the first and to-date only female winner of the Fields Medal, was from Iran.

"She attended an all-girls high school in Tehran, led by a principal unbowed by the fact that no girl had ever competed for Iran’s International Mathematical Olympiad team. Mirzakhani first gained international recognition during the 1994 and 1995 competitions. In 1994, she earned a gold medal. In 1995, she notched a perfect score and another gold medal." http://news.stanford...al-winner-dies/

South Korea and UK has a girl in their team. I read about the girls (one is a reserve) in the UK team but I didn't see any news articles about South Korea's team.

Two girls make rare addition to UK maths Olympiad squad https://www.theguard...lympiad-uk-team

Edited by Arcadia, 22 July 2017 - 09:58 AM.

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#29 kiwik

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Posted 22 July 2017 - 04:33 PM

Bummer about the high bronze cut-off, but congrats on the honorable mention! I was surprised both by how well team NZ did, considering they are a very small country, and how well Iran did. The rest of the high scoring nations (US-almost all Asian lineage as far as I can tell, China, South Korea, Singapore, etc.) were predictable, but who knew Iran had such a good math team?


Most of New Zealand's team looked to be of Asian lineage. Well done New Zealand just getting there given how little support and recognition you get.
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#30 mathnerd

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Posted 22 July 2017 - 06:57 PM

Congratulations, it is a huge achievement no matter what. I am looking forward to reading about his college admissions journey. Something tells me that you all will have a hard time making a decision when the colleges look at his record at the olympiads


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#31 lewelma

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Posted 31 July 2017 - 08:29 PM

Sorry to take so long to report back in. I'm finally back on line! We are in Boston, and DS took 72.5 hours to get from Rio to the mountains of North Carolina because he had to fly by way of Auckland. Ug!

DS is feeling pleased with the two full solutions given that this exam was crazy weird. Most of the partial points that earned people a bronze or silver came from problem two, a functional equation questions, which ds is not very good at. On the first day he split his extra time after writing up problem 1 between problem 2 (where most of everyone's partial points came from) and problem 3 which only seven people got partial points on and only two fully solved. So it was just bad luck that that problem 3 was not worth even attempting which caused him to lose precious time for problem two. But as he sees it he was only five points (meaning one partial problem) off of a silver, and three members of the American team only fully solved the two questions he did. So he felt in good company. He roomed with the Canadian who came in 14th or something. Also, the female in the NZ team came in 20th for females in the world, and the NZ team got their third best ranking ever. In fact, if you rank the countries point totals by population size, NZ came in 14th. 😀

Next year is a new opportunity to get that medal, and ds is convinced that it is definitely possible. Thanks everyone for all the well wishes!!

Ruth in NZ
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#32 epi

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Posted 01 August 2017 - 03:49 PM

It is unfortunate the score distribution is so compressed.

 

He surely has a good chance next year.