One of the best parts of every Olympiad (either scientific or athletic) is the opportunity to meet very interesting people from all over the world, to exchange views and ideas, to learn from each other, even start a lifelong friendship. The International Olympiad in Informatics is no exception to this rule - more than 300 high-school students from all over the world, champions in Informatics in their respective countries, gathered in Athens to take part in this competition. The mixture of different cultures, different languages, different tastes and different customs is a really wonderful experience.
Take for example, Mei Sim Tong (photo 1), a contestant from Macau China and one of the only six girls taking part in IOI2004. Her interest in Informatics started while in form 3 and in her two last schools she competed with groups in networks. As a girl...yes, it is harder to be accepted! She is "the girl" in the group, the special one. But, now she is going to University, so she has to focus on her studies ...
Tamara Barron (photo 2) is a volunteer from Minesotta. She heard about IOI from a friend of hers and as she is currently living in Greece, she decided to get some work experience, before leaving for school, so… here she is!
"The accommodation is great, of quite high standards" says Christian Ebke (photo 3), a 19 year-old contestant from Germany, adding that "the volunteers are very friendly and welcoming". Is he anxious for the competition? As a matter of fact, yes, as more and more people arrive...
Jakob Gath and Lu Zhang Gram (photo 4), two 19-year-old contestants from Denmark, confessed that this is the first competition they take part. The first one is a little bit shy, yet he tells us that he started preparing last year. His friend finds the "hotel" nice, but slightly messy, due to the lack of organization (well, how could be different, with so many busloads arriving all at once?). Gram feels constantly nervous, in spite of the friendliness of the volunteers. He entered the competition following the advice of a friend, that had competed last year himself ...
Arthur Charguiraud (photo 5), a teacher and deputy leader of the French team, is much more relaxed not being a contestant, yet can't wait to see the end-results. Very satisfied from the accommodation, but a bit upset that the pool wasn't open at that time of the day.
Sandaruwan Gunathilake (18 year-old) and Pavinda Jayasiri (17), are two contestants from Sri Lanka, who have taken part in the 15th IOI, in the US. Both are content with what is provided in Sri Lanka and they will stay in their country, even if they win a medal. And ... yes, they like Greece a lot, it's a wonderful country. Nervous? No, not at all (that was two days ago ...) but they're afraid they'll become nervous, when the competition starts (big day, today ...) What about training? They have been involved with Informatics for three years and they train for 8 hours during week-ends, with good teachers. And what do they do, when they're not training or studying? They just like to play cards!
* Reporting by Tatiana K. and Alexandra P.,
Photos by Nicholas K
Mei Sim Tong being interviewed by Tatiana
"No, I'm sorry your badge is not ready yet"
"No problem. It's a good excuse to come to the reception again"
"Relaxing before the Big Day
The pool will be cleaned and open on Monday
"We like Greece a lot"