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2009 China Girls Math Olympiad

For a third year in a row MSRI will be sending seven of the brightest young women in mathematics to participate in the 2009 China Girls Mathematical Olympiad. The competition was originally established as a regional competition for teams of female high school students from China and other eastern Asian countries (including Russia). Several years ago China expanded the competition to countries from around the world, with the USA, Canada, South Africa, and Australia among the invitees.

In June the team will spend three weeks preparing for the competition at the Mathematical Olympiad Summer Program offered by the Mathematical Association of America on the campus of the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. The Olympiad will be held from August 11-16 in Fujian Province in the southern coastal city of Xiamen. Located at the mouth of the Nine Dragon River, the city was the first port of trade used by Europeans and was China’s main port for the export of tea. They will also have some time before the competition to travel and sightsee in Hong Kong while they adjust to the time change.

We are grateful to our generous partners in this project whose financial support has made the trip possible: Microsoft, Google, Akamai Foundation, Mathematical Association of America, Shiing-Shen Chern Foundation for Mathematical Research, Sunlin and Priscilla Chou Foundation and Science Workshop.

The members of the USA team are, Carolyn Kim, Joy Zheng, Elizabeth Synge, Cynthia Day, Patricia Li, Shiyu Li, and Ramya Rangan. The coaches traveling with them are, Zuming Feng, and Jennifer Iglesias, a member of the 2007 and 2008 teams.

The girls and their coaches will be sending regular messages and photos that we will post here. We invite you to check this page regularly and follow along on this exciting adventure.

Read the 2007 journal
2008 journal
2010 journal

Team Member Messages & Photos

Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Today we took the subway to a street market at Kowloon to go shopping. There were many things for a lot cheaper than the stuff in the hotel might suggest things in Hong Kong were. At 4:30, we headed back to the hotel and hung out until dinner with our sponsors, the Science Workshop at the Ying Kee Hot Pot Seafood resturant. The food was excellent.


Sunday, August 19, 2009
I can't believe we're leaving Xiamen already; it feels like we just arrived. At the airport, it felt like we were going home already, even though we still had some days in Hong Kong. I'll kind of miss Xiamen, but at least we get to sleep on nice soft beds and sit on toilets. Oh, and no more ants in our room.

Today was also the closing ceremony for CGMO, during which I was surprised to learn I got a gold medal, with 84 points. Joy also got a gold medal.

I could easily say that going up there to claim my gold medal was one of the happiest moments of my life. As a mirror of my efforts, at MOSP and beyond it's been an exciting week.

-Jing Jing

Monday, August 17, 2009
Today, we went to Ocean Park! It was pretty fun. First, we went on Raging River and Mine Train. Then, we split up into groups: Jing Jing, Patricia, and Carolyn went on various rides and Jenny Elizabeth and I went to the aquarium, on the Ferris Wheel, and also on the Eagle (although I chickened out last minute and sat out for that one). We also got really great ice cream; it was the best soft serve I've ever had.

We got back in the late afternoon, at around the same time as the group who'd gone to the workshop, and we took a picture with the bouquet of flowers the Science Workshop gave us. We then split up for dinner, and now I'm sitting here writing in the journal.


Sunday, August 16, 2009
Hi everybody,

Today was the closing ceremony. All of the girls did well and received medals. Ramya and Cynthia got bronze medals. Patricia, Carolyn, and Elizabeth got silver medals. Jing Jing and Joy got gold medals.

We are back in Hong Kong at the Renaissance Harbour View Hotel. The number is still (852) 2802 8888. The girls are in the following rooms:
2426 Elizabeth & Joy
2427 Zuming
2701 Ramya & Cynthia
2702 Jing Jing & Jenny
2708 Carolyn & Patricia


Saturday, August 15, 2009
Today, all of us went on an excursion to go sightseeing around Xiamen. In the morning, we took the ferry to an island. We walked to the piano museum, and on the way back, we all bought coconuts (they placed a straw through a hole so we could drink the juice. When we were done, we could break open the coconut and eat the flesh). After lunch at a restaurant, we went on an army ship for a scenic ocean ride, during which I fell asleep. The last part of the excursion before dinner was a place where we learned a traditional Chinese game involving dice.

After we got back to the dorms, we ended up playing Mafia with the Philippines team and our guide, Amy. We had a lot of fun; the townspeople won every game.


Saturday, August 15, 2009
More photos.

Thursday, August 13, 2009
After the exam today (I got problems 1 & 4; a number theory and combo), these nurses made our entire testing room get their temperature taken because Elizabeth had a fever (she tested in the other room). Now, we're sitting quarantined in the dorm with nothing better to do than play Hearts. (For obvious reasons, we don't want to do more math.) At least we're not doing those aerobics exercises. >_<

Plus, while we're quarantined here, we managed to climb in a window to unlock the restroom, plus flood the hallway...

Still quarentined here till 9pm. They brought dinner into the dorm. I guess no aerobics at all. She probably doesn't really have swine flu.

I think, though, that this better than what we would be doing during free time, if we were in a large group...

(From Jenny: Elizabeth's test came back at around 8:30 pm. She did not have swine flu and the quarantine was lifted.)

Thursday, August 13, 2009
Hi everybody,

Today was the first day of competition and everyone was really excited. They took everyone's temperature before the competition (they have been taking everyone's temperature at least once a day), and Elizabeth had a slight fever. They allowed Elizabeth to take the test in a seperate room by herself. After the competition, they again checked her temperature. She still had a fever, so they took her to the hospital and quarentined the US team along with the other teams which had been in the same testing room (Phillipines, Singapore, and Hong Kong). The teams were given lunch and then sent back to their dorm rooms for the remainder of the day. They were given dinner in the dorm rooms. Elizabeth was tested for H1N1 at the hospital. It turns out she did not have H1N1, so she was returned to the school and the quarentine was lifted. The girls enjoyed not going to aerobics and played card games for most of the quarentine. They are doing well and are ready for the next day of competition tomorrow.


Touring photos. Closing ceremony photos.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Hmmm what to write...so much has happened.

So, the trip to Xiamen was pretty awesome. Jing-Jing, Ramya and I got adorable purses, and also even though the flight was less than an hour, they served a meal!

The high school dorms we're staying at are pretty nice; the covers are really cute and we each get out own desk space.

Today was pretty packed. We had the opening ceremony, a lecture on graph theory, a tallk on protecting our eyes (which involved people unsuccessfully trying to break a lens with a hammer), aerobics (where I provided live entertainment for any spectators), and a shopping trip.

So a great trip so far (thank you to all our sponsors!) and hopefully the CGMO tomorrow goes well!


Monday, August 10, 2009
Ah, CGMO already. After a boring long 14-hour flight, we arrived in China feeling really jetlagged. Today was fun, involving a 4-mile hike (not quite as bad as 9 miles...), dinner with the Workshop people, and a game of Psychiatrist, which was really amusing. Too bad the humidity here sucks...

Tomorrow we're leaving for Xiamen, where we'll actually have the competition. I'm nervous about the competition, but I know I'll try my best.
-Jing-Jing Li

Photos from Hong Kong.

Saturday, August 8, 2009
Yay! We're on the flight to Hong Kong right now... in fact the plane just took off. Cynthia says it's very weird for me to look forward to 13 and a half hours of flying...but that doesn't stop me!

It's so strange that we're already going to CGMO. It feels like we just left MOP and all its craziness, and now we're flying to Hong Kong! Soon we'll be in out amazing cool hotel, going on our rumored-9-mile-hike, and of course; going on to Xiamen for the competition. I'm sure all of us are extremely excited, but also a lot anxious. I hope we all do well!
-Ramya Rangan

Photos from the Airport

Saturday, August 8, 2009
(At the San Francisco Airport)

I can't believe we're about to head off to Hong Kong already !!! Jenny & I are sitting in front of the date and waiting right now since the flight doesn't leave for another 2 hours. SFO food rocks especially compared to Denver food (although, admittedly, I don't normally pass through SFO for connections when I fly to and from Exeter.)
*A drawing of an airplane merble* I got up at 4 AM this morning to catch the fligth from Seattle to SFO, so I'm hoping that jet lag is in hibernation. :) Off to Hong Kong!
-Joy Zheng

Carolyn's pictures

Thursday, July 3rd, 2009
Today was the last day of MOP. The talent show and award ceremony were a great end to one of my favorite high school experiences. Although my camera died halfway through the show, hopefully I have enough pictures and videos to reminisce later on. The classes and tests have been intense. After more practice during the rest of summer, I hope we will be well prepared for CGMO.
-Carolyn Kim

Friday June 26, 2009
I can't believe that we only have one week left at MOP! We just had our second to last normal MOP test earlier today(I seriously think that my scores are periodic), but we're taking either the ELMO (or ELJMO for everyone except Krishanu) or mock IMO tomorrow.

It seems as if the weekend insanity is about to start, seeing as we have the TEAM CONTEST on Sunday afternoon.

Some of us were trying to play volleyball earlier this afternoon – trying, as in the wind was sending the ball off by an inch or two every time and it was flying everywhere. (Although the Frisbee people seem to have a worse time of it.)

Classes have been awesome (# theory today and game theory today!) and I hope that my score on the mock IMO will not equal my score from the game of Bounce the Pig(Chinese Hearts) that was played earlier today.
-Joy Zheng

Wednesday, June 24, 2009
It's been two weeks at MOSP, I can't believe it's half over already. We've had 5 tests so far- thankfully I've gotten points on all of them who knew I could actually get full credit on geometry problems?! >_<

It's been plenty busy with team contests, classes and 4-hour tests, but I've had fun here. Dinner at Chipotle, Fluxx games and inciting all sorts of crazy stuff like pillow fights and watching Bobby Shen get thrown in the air :P.
Mathletics totally rocks. :)
-Jing-Jing Li

Wednesday, June 24, 2009
It's been neat being in blue classes this year. I'm learning a lot of new stuff. I've also recently discovered that I can actually solve geometry problems.

Anyways, I've had a great time so far and can't believe that MOP is more than halfway through.
-Elizabeth Synge

MSOP Photos

Saturday, June 19th, 2009
In the morning we had combinatorial geometry with Maria and more graph theory with Po-Shen. The girls who are normally in Blue classes sat in on Red with the rest of us so they wouldn't have to take the mock IMO. For dinner, the CGMO team and coaches went to Chipotle and Cold Stone. Needless to say, it was delicious.
-Patricia Li

Pictures of the girls at Chipotle and Cold Stone.

Wednesday, June 17th, 2009
It has been a week at MOSP!!! I've just come back from DBR's (David Bay Rush) Singing Troupe. It was quite fun, although I epic pHailed in the beginning because it was different singing with mostly guys (guys = at least an octave lower) XD. Those who adapt survive however!

Also, today's classes were VERY fun (darn, I'm having a hard time thinking of synonyms for fun...sigh). First, we had graph theory with Po-Shen, where we learned the relationship between said topic and marriage. We also had inequalities with Andy (who by the way, is one of the best people in the world, because apparently he graded number 2 on the USAMO and number 2 is the main reason I'm here at MOSP :D). And in the afternoon, we had COLORING (yay!) with Ricky.

So, all in all, a happy, productive, successful, hope-I don't-get-a-zero-positive-or-negative-on-any-MOSP-tests first week! (wish me luck!)
-Cynthia Day

Monday, June 15, 2009
GMO 2009 team

Sunday, June 14th, 2009
It's been almost 1 week at MOSP! We went out to play volleyball and frisbee today. (Volleyball was really fun but hard since there were only the beach volleyball courts.) I can't believe it's been one wild week of geometry, inequalities, tests, & meeting new people. Team contest was really interesting & our various attempts at volleyball were amusing. I can't believe so much has happened in just one week. It's been fun meeting everyone else on the team & learning about each other's quirks, such as Patricia's mudkip & Joy's aquatic meurble :).


Blue MOP material is challenging but we are also learning a lot of really interesting stuff. We're all just getting to know each other (mostly) & it's hard to believe over a third of our time at MOP is already over. At least we'll still have CGMO!
-Amy Huang