Day 7 – And so we say farewell to EGMO 2018

Matteo, our absolutely fantastic and ever reliable guide, was up at the crack of dawn to bid us farewell and send us on our way. The blurry photo below is somewhat representative of the sleepy state we were all in!

departing Florence

Given our flight was not scheduled until 10pm in the evening, the plan was to spend the day on a bit of a whirlwind tour of Rome. There wasn’t nearly enough time for waiting in queues, but there was enough time to whiz around and see some sights. We fit in visits to the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, and Pantheon before our hunger for brunch got the best of us.

Next stop was St Peter’s Square via Piazza Navona and a taxi ride later we were at the Colosseum and ruins of Ancient Rome were all around us. We managed to keep Fermat and Fermi safe and dry despite the rain, as well as our EGMO Australia banner (thanks Grace!).

A delicious Italian lunch, a final serving of gelato, and lots of walking later, and it was time to leave Rome and head back to Oz.

last gelato (1280x960)    download_20180422_200931

Italy, we had an absolutely awesome time. Thank you for letting us be part of EGMO 2018, and thank you, everyone, who helped to make it happen.

We really really hope to see you in Kiev in 2019!


Day 6 – Closing Ceremony

The last few days in Italy proved to be jam-packed and the journey back home exhausting, so apologies for the delay in these final few posts!

Day 6, the last day of EGMO 2018, started with the friendly Team Competition, complete with an incredibly complicated, almost incomprehensible, list of rules and regulations (for starters, the number of points each question was worth increased each minute the question went unsolved)! Australia teamed up with the Netherlands for the student competition, and in the non-student competition, ‘The Newbies’ team comprised of Australia, Austria and Germany – three countries new to EGMO in 2018.

download_20180422_200453   the newbies

The Aus-Nld team came 6th overall in the student competition and The Newbies a respectable 3rd, helped by the impressive 268 points gained when Michelle solved our nominated problem worth double points.

The afternoon was spent climbing Brunelleschi’s dome, enjoying more incredible views of Florence, and eating gelato of course.

In the evening we were back at Teatro Verdi for the closing ceremony, celebrating all the girls’ achievements and acknowledging what a fantastic job Italy did hosting such an awesome and inspiring 7th European Girls’ Mathematical Olympiad for Europe and the rest of the world.

Finally, to end the night, Palazzo Borghese was decked out for a long night of partying, each of its many rooms filled with platters of food and drink, great music, lots laughter, lots of fun, and lots of friends. Definitely a great place to celebrate in style, mingle with other teams (and their mascots), take some final photos, and exchange contact details.


Congratulations Team Australia!

After a very long day of coordination, a very long night of the jury listening to and voting on coordination disputes, and then a very early morning to set the medal cutoffs, the results from EGMO 2018 are finally out.

Congratulations Team Australia! We placed 20th in the competition with a silver medal to Grace He, bronze medals to Alice Zhang and Ellen Zheng, and an honourable mention to Yifan Guo.

The team has done amazingly and we are all so proud of each and every one of them! So very proud.

You can find the official results and statistics here:

Day 5 – Excursion & Coordination

Written by the EGMO team:

Exams are all over, and the EGMO team enjoyed their first day of freedom today exploring the cities of Pisa and Lucca with the rest of the contestants.

After a 1.5 hour bus trip, during which Ellen sneaked in some language practice speaking to the Japanese team,


we arrived at the legendary Leaning Tower of Pisa.


And guess what we did? We koala-ed the tower, plus several other unsuspecting victims!


We stopped for lunch at a pizzeria where we had some delicious Pisa – sorry, *pizza – before jumping back on the bus and heading for Lucca.

Lucca was the birthplace of the great composer, Puccini, and the writer of Pinocchio was born near there. The town was filled with beautiful architecture and historical buildings dating back to the Roman times, and it was awesome seeing stones laid thousands of years ago. We also saw a beautiful cathedral without a ceiling – talk about bad budget planning!


Of course, we didn’t forget to squeeze in some time in between to buy some cute little souvenirs ;D

All this said, peace did not come so easily throughout the day. Our competition scores were released question by question as coordination happened, and our Observer and guide did not hesitate to update (haunt) us with our performance. It certainly provided an … exciting touch to our otherwise peaceful trip!

Meanwhile back at the hotel, our Team Leader and Deputy Leader worked tirelessly to coordinate our marks, putting up quite a fight to get one of the scripts a 7 for problem 4. Finally, sometime after 1 am, they got that 7.

Day 4 – Contest Day 2

Another day, another exam full of super fun problems to tackle:

After lunch we all walked into the centre of Florence and Sally, Matteo, and the team spent the afternoon at Galleria dell’Accademia visiting David.


Michelle and Thanom had to get back to the hotel to collect and mark the papers from the day, but not until they stopped for some gelati, impressively presented and complete with macarons on top.


Finally in the evening, with the contest days over, we were able to enjoy the recreation room. Eventually all 8 of us were there (including Matteo) and Sally and Thanom, were able to introduce the youngins to the card game Gluck. Turns out it’s not so easy to play this crazy fast 4 by 2 player version of solitaire not having played solitaire much before. And it was certainly hard for Grace simply to hold the Gluck pile with little power to do anything but give instructions to her partner. Thankfully Alice managed to survive the wrath of Grace and live to play another game.

Rec Room

Day 5 will be an all-day excursion for Sally, Matteo, and the Team to Pisa and Lucca.

And for Thanom and Michelle, coordination will start at 8:40am. Here’s a link to the official scoreboard which will continually be updated throughout the day:

Go Team Australia!

Day 3 – Contest Day 1

The morning was taken up by the Day 1 exam (8:30am to 1pm). If you want to try your hand at them, here they are!

In the afternoon, while Michelle and Thanom pored over the girls’ papers (though they didn’t become available till 17:30, allowing time for a much-needed nap, given the leaders’ meeting finished at 23:00 the previous night), Sally and the girls went to see the Duomo. It is said that that when Michelangelo left Florence to work on St Peter’s Basilica in Rome, he said, ‘I go to build a bigger dome, but not a fairer one’.

We climbed over 460 steps to the Campanile (bell tower), 84.7m tall, and were rewarded with magnificent views over Florence. It was good to stretch our legs after a sedentary morning! (And balance out the physical activity with some gelato afterwards – yum!)



We also went to the Museum attached to the Duomo, where Alice was enthralled by yet another finger on display (something the Italians like to do?!).

And now to bed, Contest Day 2 awaits…

Day 2 – Opening Ceremony

After breakfast, the foyer of our hotel was abuzz with all the teams and guides, as we prepared to walk into town to the EGMO Opening Ceremony, at Teatro Verdi (a beautiful old theatre, named after the composer Giuseppe Verdi). We were ushered to special seats (the leaders in the dress circle, I (the observer) in a box and the others (deputy, students and guide) in the stalls.

Like in the Olympics (and the IMO), it is always so exciting to watch the parade of contestants, representing so many countries from all over the world, coming together for one purpose – the love of doing mathematics!

Here is the Australian team, walking on from stage left (first photo) and then on stage (second photo).


The organisers then answered some very important questions…


Finally, the leaders got their own parade, too! Can you spot someone familiar?


A nice team photo after the ceremony:


The afternoon was spent on a treasure hunt for those who had the energy; the rest of us had some downtime, battled the Italian museum booking system and worked on some maths problems to get our heads into gear for tomorrow.

Final pep talk from Thanom, and the girls are off for an early night… all ready for tomorrow (exam day 1)!


Day 1 – Arrival Day

We were all super excited to meet our guide, Matteo, on Day 1 of EGMO and to receive our EGMO bag filled with goodies.


The morning saw a (damp) stroll along the river Arno and visits to the Ponte Vecchio and the Piazza della Signoria just near the Uffizi and Palazzo Vecchio.


There was not quite enough time to wait in a queue to see the inside of the Duomo today, but it took less than a minute just looking at the outside for Alice to decide it is certainly the most amazing thing she has ever seen in her life.


Lunch, like breakfast, was a feast and, as Alice’s mum would say, we could all be at risk of coming back like balls.

Lucky for us, the Galileo museum doesn’t not open on Mondays, so we spent the afternoon marveling at incredible ancient geometry sets, admiring Galileo’s work, and, as it turns out, his fingers: “I can’t believe this! I’m finally seeing the master himself” (Alice, spellbound by the two fingers, one thumb, and one tooth of Galileo’s on display).

The recreation room was ready to roll by the time we got back – a room which will no doubt be working hard throughout the week!


Definitely having too much fun to worry about jetlag …

Buongiorno Firenze!

After a good 30+ hours of travel, we finally made it to Florence!

We had just enough energy after dinner for a late night stroll up to Piazzale Michelango and to enjoy the amazing view as well as the fresh air.

Photo 8-4-18 Florence 2

(And we’re doing well combating jetlag – all of us managed a good 8+ hours sleep last night and are ready to stroll the streets of Florence this morning with our guide Matteo)

And we’re off …

It turned out to be pretty easy to fill a whole Saturday before our flight scheduled at 9pm.

After learning a little Italian from our waiter at breakfast, we went on our own walking tour of Sydney to get a bit of fresh air and exercise before our long haul flight.

Photo 7-4-18, 10 53 58 am

We also had plenty of time to buy clip on koalas for spreading some Aussie love at EGMO and to think about a mathematics problem or two over lunch. Michelle even whipped up solutions to a couple of Code Jam problems before we took off.


Our newly found team mascots, Fermat’s Last Theorem and Fermat’s Little Theorem (Fermat and Fermi for short), enjoyed going through immigration and security at the airport and their first time on an A380.

Photo 7-4-18, 5 55 48 pm                 Photo 8-4-18 Fermat and Fermi flying to Rome

We did too, and we’re super excited to be only a plane trip, or two, and a train ride, away from Firenze and EGMO. See you on the other side of the world!

Photo 7-4-18, 2 33 06 pm