IMO 2014 (VII)-Final enjoyment, final glory

As mentioned, there was still half a day for us in excursion for the final time. The viewpoint of the day was Waterfront, a harbor city that was beautifully designed to be a place of tourism. It worth noting that we finally had the chance in spending South African Rand, and show token of love to our next-of-kin with souvenirs.


Continuous change of dy/dx
Continuous change of dy/dx

We were supposed to step into Aquarium first, but there were several statues of prominent figures of South Africa, so let us take a foot break.

With Nelson Mandela
With Nelson Mandela

Marine biology was known to be diverse, and the visit of aquarium proved that. Being captivated by different species in aquarium, I couldn’t help with my hands but toexploit my camera for pictures-taking.

Organiser taking picture of cameraman
Organiser took a picture of student taking picture
Know more about the killer whale
Know more about the killer whale

Sometimes you really wish to be part of the program:


Hey! Our tour wasn’t complete without touching these creatures alive!

Where was I looking at?

The next program was rather historical: museum depicting history of Rugby development of South Africa. All participants were amused by the animation technology in the museum, ranging from visual to auditory. This exhaustive historical details were hard to be memorized one-by-one, but nonetheless gave us some clear idea on its formation and development.

Fake member of the team
Fake member of the team
The red-letter-day of achievement
The red-letter-day of achievement

Walks, shops, stops, visit… we spent few good moments before the lunch time at 12pm. There is a shopping complex in the Waterfront city, but our main purpose was to seek for token of love (souvenirs) and some personal snacks sensations (considering our late time for night).

Football craze at McDonalds
Football craze at McDonalds
The shopping complex

That was all of our program, with mixtures of activities done in the area of harbor.

Culmination of 4-year-experience in IMO
This year, our IMO closing ceremony was rather late: starting at the fine dusk of 7pm before the farewell party at night (which explained the “late dinner” mentioned previously). Due to the formality of the ceremony, the outfit of teams couldn’t be excessively frivolous:

12 Jul-team photo before departing to closing ceremony

This outfit didn’t aid movement at all, so we traveled by Jamie shuttle, feeling prepared for this final accolade in IMO 2014 journey.

Waiting to be seated at this late night
Waiting to be seated at this late hours

The seating sequence, as usual, was arranged according to award. This time the medalists were asked to gather according to groups before entering to hall in order to be seated smoothly. My being in group 17 seemed spurious: this was the last group among all medalists, and I expected myself to be the first badge of gold medallists to be receiving my medal (by sequence of increasing score). Hmm…?

It turned out that the sequence of presentation was itself an anomaly: yes the general sequence of Bronze, Silver, Gold was an orthodox, but within each category the way of sorting was by decreasing order (basically, we have B-21,10,…,16, S-28,27,…,22, G-40,39,…,29), reserving the 3 overall winners (perfect 42 LOL) to express their pride on the stage at the end of medal presenting agenda. In disdained tone, some labelled this aberration as incongruous to the norm.

1900: the start
This time, the Master of Ceremony wrapped the IMO at the right of the stage (as opposed to the left during opening ceremony), without losing his passion in welcoming us. After several speech agenda by ministers, organising chairman and sponsors, he brought the audience into the next agenda of the day: performance (before medal giving).

A moment of silence, before the whole vocal force of Shosholoza greeted it. Hey! Though we received some training session after IMO day 2, there was still a long way to go before being able to match the standard! Moreover, the interval of the medal presentation was properly utilized with other performances, from cultural dance by New World Dance Theatre:


and traditional presentation of the singer (which somehow effectively recharged our energy from dozing off).


During the ceremony, I had the privilege to chat with a China team member (finally, after 4 years in IMO). Having the advantage of speaking Chinese (yeah I was in Chinese vernacular school for 11 years), he reacted like he had seen his brother out of the country when I spoke the first Chinese sentence to him. Consequently, from the main topic of IMO problems of the year, we digressed into exchanging information like IMO selection process and IMO life here.

As for ceremonial section, the presentation of medal went uneventfully, with MC trying to pronounce everybody’s name accurately (no easy task, indeed). And…gotcha! If you could spot another novelty in the process as compared to past IMOs, you would notice that we made a mini-parade onto the stage, before turning to presenters for our medals. Hence, friends which took photograph of us paid some attention to note this in order to elicit the best facial expression of us!

Heart pounding with my alacrity to enjoy the only few seconds on the stage after paying 4 mathematical years to this success, I stepped steadily onto the stage and bestowed my most natural smile to the cameramen nonetheless.

Zi Sonh with other bronze medallists
Zi Song with other bronze medallists
Yi Kye and other silver medallists
Yi Kye and other silver medallists
Justin with other gold medallists
Justin with other gold medallists
Holding my flag with China guy and Dutch lady juxtaposed to me
Holding my flag with China guy and Dutch lady juxtaposed to me (credits to Shazryl)

It was a crime not to pay a standing ovation to the Kings of the IMO: three perfect scorers. In view of this, they were isolated from the rest of us (even for seating position) to enjoy that ultimate accolade. It was an honour for Australia, China and Taiwan to have such students performing splendidly in IMO, with Australia having the first ever perfect score in its IMO history (coincidentally, they achieved that in IOI too!)

Royal salute paid
The guys who deserve royal salute

Looking forward: although I would be abdicating from the IMO cycle, Kin Aun and Zi Song will be fighting again, for slots to next IMO in Chiangmai, Thailand. Apart from familiar scene showed in the promotional video, there were some other prominent features about the scene (e.g. details of organizing unit). Before the close of IMO curtain, South Africa hereby renounced its position (although, not quite) as IMO organizer and passed this holy responsibility to Thailand.


Last, but not least, the fall of IMO flag from the Jameson hall marked the conclusive before the end of this ceremonial ending. But before enjoying the party, let’s take another photos (gathering all contestants winning monochromatic medals to be on stage together).

Photo of gold medalists on stage
Photo of gold medalists on stage

A party wasn’t supposed to end at 11pm or 12 midnight (I remembered staying up to 4:30 am last year in Colombia), but that was the case (perhaps because of availability of places). However, this didn’t affect us much as we had to leave early for the early returning flight of 5:45 am next day. Therefore, we had no choice, but to excuse ourselves early.

For the second time, we were given buffet-style gourmet again (though food was rather limited). As for beverage, realizing that as the grand finale before my disappearance from IMO, plus the fact I was legal (18 and above, hahahaha), I sipped some of alcoholic drink (don’t look up at me yet, it was cider with mild alcoholic content).


Some performances of this party:

Violinist in a magic ball
Violinist in a magic ball

Not forgetting enhancing diplomatic relations:


Party involvement was rather scattered, since there were a few different activities such as choir (associated with African dances) and watching football match (3rd place match for FIFA!) There was no doubt, when the performance of football teams was the topic of the night.

The IMO has ended.

We returned to the hotel and packed our luggage for departure tomorrow, literally without having time to sleep (although we did steal forty winks).

Feeling sad? Reluctant? Yeah, but that was life.

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