E869120's blog

By E869120, 5 weeks ago, In English

Hello, CodeForces!

Today, I would like to discuss about an issue of IOI 2025 venue. The venue of IOI 2025 is still not officially announced, but according to the website, IOI 2025 will be held in La Paz, Bolivia.

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As you know, La Paz is one of the highest cities in the world. For example, the center of La Paz is at 3600 meters above the sea level, and El Alto International Airport, which is the nearest large airport from La Paz, is at 4100 meters above the sea level. Therefore, altitude sickness can be a big concern. I think that even the following things can happen:

  • 20% of the contestants collapsed at the airport, and they were even unable to reach hotels
  • 30% of the contestants collapsed during hotel stay, opening ceremony, practice sessions and excursions, and they were unable to participate in the contest
  • The remaining 50% were barely able to participate in the contest, but most of them performed very badly because of lack of oxygen
  • Only 10% were able to perform at the level of their skill, and gold medalist were almost determined among them. Many LGMs, IGMs and GMs made blunders in the contest, and the biggest upset in IOI history occured

If I were an IOI 2025 participant, I have a strong confidence that I could not even get a bronze medal because I often suffer altitude sickness at 2500 meters above the sea level.


In addition, as an alumni of Japanese Olympiad in Informatics (JOI), I am very worrying about the possibility that IOI 2025 Japan team cannot participate in the contest or cannot perform well. I also think that many other countries have the same concern — because most of the countries are low-elevated, like altitude of 100 meters or 200 meters.

Are there any tips or any ways of practice to get used to high altitude?

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5 weeks ago, # |
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Maybe hold IOI 2025 in another city?

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    5 weeks ago, # ^ |
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    As organizing IOI takes years, I don't believe the local organizers will change it by themselves. IOI 2023 was organized for 4 years and even with this amount of time spent for organization, there were some blunders $$$-$$$ in example the departure day was a horrible mess, we almost missed our flight back to Bulgaria. If a change of city is to be made, then the global IOI organizers should make such a call, with the thought in mind that there could be potential problems with the restart of IOI preparations.

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      5 weeks ago, # ^ |
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      if the majority of participants are against holding IOI in Bolivia, then the organizers of IOI will have no choice but to change the city/country

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      5 weeks ago, # ^ |
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      There is a huge difference between a messy organization and health risks.

      Even if only 1-2% of all participants will get sick, it's not good. These kids aren't supposed to climb high mountains (2500+ m) to get ready for a school competition in programming, it's just totally wrong.

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5 weeks ago, # |
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Are there any tips or any ways of practice to get used to high altitude?

Try mountain climbing

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5 weeks ago, # |
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I read it as "Serious Attitude Issue...."

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5 weeks ago, # |
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I am from Bolivia, I lived most of my life in Santa Cruz (400 m). What I suggest if you are going to travel to La Paz is the following:

  • Buy a medicine called sorojchi pills. It helps a lot against the symptoms of high altitude. (You take one and the next day you're fine)
  • Try to walk calmly, do not run, you will feel more tired if you run at altitude.
  • Tasting a herbal tea when you arrive will help you a lot.
  • Don't worry, altitude is not a big challenge, just try to follow those recommendations. La Paz is a great destination for an IOI and I am sure that the organizers will do an excellent job.

If you have any questions I will gladly answer

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    5 weeks ago, # ^ |
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    Normally the symptoms of altitude are felt when you make physical efforts. Then the biggest problem can be a headache.

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5 weeks ago, # |
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While La Paz is indeed at high altitude, your remarks on how literally everyone would fail is utter nonsense. Another proof that being a grandmaster doesn't mean one knows everything.

The average altitude worldwide is much higher and also you are exaggerating the issue too much IMO.

In addition, the conditions will be the same for everyone, and they can just implement a solution which works for everyone.

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    5 weeks ago, # ^ |
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    Who said being GM means the person knows everything?

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      5 weeks ago, # ^ |
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      This seems to be the common consensus on CF.

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        5 weeks ago, # ^ |
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        Sadly I don't I know everything yet, even though I am a GM

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    5 weeks ago, # ^ |
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    The average altitude worldwide is much higher

    The wikipedia link says 840 m (2,756 ft) average worldwide while La Paz is at 3600m altitude. La Paz clearly can't be lower than the world average. It must be either you tripping or myself tripping. And I don't think it's the latter.

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      5 weeks ago, # ^ |
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      Please learn how to read. I didn't say La Paz is lower than the average.

      I also think that many other countries have the same concern — because most of the countries are low-elevated, like altitude of 100 meters or 200 meters.

      800m is clearly higher than 200m.

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        5 weeks ago, # ^ |
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        Sorry for being unable to read, that hits me quite often.

        But as a side note, just taking the average over the whole surface area cannot work. Consider the density of population instead. If you sample $$$100$$$ IOI participants in all history, how many of them will be living in the mountains?

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          5 weeks ago, # ^ |
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          Probably not too many of them but unlike football where actual issues occur when doing such physical effort, him saying that 50% of people won't be able to write a single line of code is bollocks.

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            5 weeks ago, # ^ |
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            Try competing in some 35°C heat. Try competing when you are physically sick, like having a headache. Turns out this is one of the main symptoms of AMS, which really becomes an issue from 2600 meters and above.

            Of course, your concerns aren't baseless, but they are at least the most useless addition to the conversation at hand. Of course the world isn't going to end brcause of this, but this is not some trivial issue like "farmworkers will be on strike during the competiton" which might influence the traffic to the competition center and so on.

            And even if 50% is an exageration, I personally feel that even there were known chances of such a thing influencing even two participants, there should be implemented procedures to help them overcome such issues. Trying to "level people to the minimum" by saying stuff like "well everyone has the same conditions so people failing because of these (arbitrary) things deserve their fate" is generally a very destructive way of handling something with authority, lest any other means can not bring by themselves more harm. And I feel that in such a situation, there are many alternatived that will not bring more harm.

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    5 weeks ago, # ^ |
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    While the tone of the blog is exaggerated, altitude sickness would still be a significant problem: if this Wikipedia article is to be trusted, then

    [Altitude sickness] occurs [...] in 40% of people after going to 3,000 metres.

    Symptoms include "nausea, vomiting" and "fatigue or weakness, headache with or without dizziness or lightheadedness, insomnia". 40% of contestants being affected by that sounds to me pretty bad.

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      5 weeks ago, # ^ |
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      Having people come 2-3 days earlier than they would come (so 4-5 days before the contest) should help most people adapt to the new environment, that's what football teams do.

      In addition, every year there are teams coming from far away places and they have to deal with jetlagging, yet nobody ever complained about this.

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        5 weeks ago, # ^ |
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        well, jetlagging is kinda unavoidable

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        5 weeks ago, # ^ |
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        Citing the aforementioned Wikipedia page:

        Symptoms often manifest within ten hours of ascent and generally subside within two days, though they occasionally develop into the more serious conditions.

        Which means while most participants will recover, there are chances some of them will not and therefore cannot participate. Moreover:

        As altitude increases, the available amount of oxygen to sustain mental and physical alertness decreases with the overall air pressure [...]

        Even if there are no visible symptoms, participants will also undergo cognitive changes which puts them in suboptimal state during the contest, so I'd argue the problem while isn't as serious as said is still a significant problem that needs to be addressed.

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      5 weeks ago, # ^ |
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      I went to Guadalajara (just 1000 meters) for the ICPC and my entire team suffered from nosebleeds, maybe the reason was some physical efforts, but is still concerning what happens at 3600 meters.

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        5 weeks ago, # ^ |
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        I am pretty sure the problem in guadalajara was humidity, I was there too and it was pretty dry.

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    5 weeks ago, # ^ |
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    I love how I said the same thing that was said in some of the comments below (which were upvoted) and I was downvoted to hell, completely ridiculous.

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      5 weeks ago, # ^ |
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      Well... Downvotes tell you what is the difference.

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    5 weeks ago, # ^ |
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    The average altutide of a country is clearly not the same as the average altitude of where people live.

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Wow Masataka Yoneda!

Congratulations on the silver medal

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Turkish airlines.No problem

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We makin' it out of the troposphere with this one 🔥 🔥

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This is completely awful. Even in acclimatized persons the 50th percentile of oxygen saturation at 4000m elevation is less than 90%, and vast majority of IOI participants will not be acclimatized. Doctors administer supplemental oxygen when saturation is less than 94% in hospitals. The partial pressure of oxygen in the blood will decrease about 40%, which is massive.

 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6420699/

 https://thorax.bmj.com/content/73/8/776

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And what about Bolivian participants who are doing every year IOI at low-elevated areas, and they used to live 3600m above sea level? You think that is coincidence with no medals for them so far?

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    5 weeks ago, # ^ |
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    if you google it
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    5 weeks ago, # ^ |
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    i think the correlation here is on temperatures and humidity, not elevation. cuz like the above person said, from high elevation to low elevation shouldn't be the problem. the average temperature difference can probably be however.

    all and all, what i'm saying is that it's probably the weather environment that causes it, not necessarily the elevation.

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5 weeks ago, # |
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Attitude Adjustment !

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5 weeks ago, # |
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When they arrive some of them will be sick, but the first round would probably be 2-3 days later, so participants have time to get used to it, of course some unlucky individuals would still not be able to perform at their fullest. So you better start running daily if you want to go there :)

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5 weeks ago, # |
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You are aware of the issue. Therefore, you can prepare so that it wouldn't be an issue for you. Anyone can. I'd even say it's much easier to mitigate for most than lack of programming skill.

Where do you draw the % numbers from? Some previous olympiad that was in some high up place? Or are they just made up?

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    5 weeks ago, # ^ |
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    Why should contestants themselves be held accountable to do physical training for a "mind-sport" competition?

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      5 weeks ago, # ^ |
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      In physical sports player are accountable for both physical and mental training. So, why not in mind-sports?

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        5 weeks ago, # ^ |
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        I don't think track and field athletes are churning out integrals before going to some race. Rathermore, the mental training you're talking about is about training their minds to not get nervous during their most important moments, a thing really embedded within all aspects of human life, or particularly already within such competitions. As such, I feel it is clear that in this situation, this sort of preparation, (however generally beneficial to the contestant outside their competition lives and such), brings with itself an additional unnecessary and tangential burden.

        Furthermore, for people localised within certain low countries, this burden can easily become a financial one, considering that for full acclimatisation preparation, one would probably have to travel to far away mountain ranges or buy heavy machinery to simulate such processes. This sort of stuff, I feel, goes far beyond what the scope of IOI should be.

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i live below the sea level hehe. what do I do?

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Except for using medicine , you could have all participants arrive a day earlier to get more used to the altitude. Also , you percentages dont end up my guy.

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    5 weeks ago, # ^ |
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    Do you think that you will get used to this height in one day?

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      5 weeks ago, # ^ |
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      2 days , the earlier day and the practice session day

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      5 weeks ago, # ^ |
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      I think that i would, 3600 meters is not that massive, i live in a city with 1200 meters attitude, my grandparents live at 2500, and my school is at 200 meters, i a few times experienced going from 200 meters to 2500 meters in one day right after 200 meters for 2 months, it's not that bad. I would imagine 1000 more meters would not be that big of a difference.

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I think that you are exaggerating the problem a little bit.

The best solution, which I think most of the teams will choose, is to arrive earlier and accommodate to altitude. I have recently returned from Cuzco, Peru (3,399 m above sea level) and I haven't seen people collapsing on the streets. I personally didn't feel unwell at all.

Bolivia is a wonderful place and I am really happy that IOI returns to Latin America after so many years.

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    5 weeks ago, # ^ |
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    but there are different people, if you didn't feel bad, it doesn't mean that others won't feel bad.

    There are a lot of underage children in ioi, but in my opinion you are an adult

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you seriously worrying about ioi 2025??

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Hi E869120,

You have valid concerns about altitude sickness. I recently stayed in Ladakh, India for around a week. Here are my tips:

  • Consult a doctor and check if you can consume a few diamox pills in the week leading up to the contest (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acetazolamide). It helps alleviate the symptoms of altitude sickness. It is an over the counter drug in India, however it might make sense to involve a doctor as precaution.

  • In the months leading to the contest, you can try routines that mountain climbers do to increase their lung capacity / oxygen absorption capacity. (I'm no expert here, but I'm sure you can find a reliable source of info with some effort) In a certain sense you are an athlete too, if you compete in programming contest, so no harm in training your body for that cause.

  • You can get yourself a portable oxygen shot cylinder, as a backup. (available for purchase online, just search for it). They last about 200 inhales. But it should be sufficient to get you through the first couple of days, which feel the worst since your body hasn't acclimatized yet. (Again, maybe a consult a doctor before you do this)

  • Which leads me to the next point, arrive a day or two or even three before the contest so you give your body time to get used to the altitude.

  • As mentioned elsewhere in the comments, don't physically exert yourself in La Paz. Even climbing a flight of stairs was a pain in that altitude and it took me a minute to catch my breath.

Anecdotal story: A friend who accompanied me in this trip fell sick on the second day. His oxygen concentration levels fell low. He was given Oxygen via nasal cannula for about an hour(in a hospital), and he was perfectly alright for the rest of the trip. This is just an empirical evidence for saying that lack of oxygen is the major contributor of this altitude sickness.

I don't know if it is fair or not to expect participants to perform at their best in suboptimal conditions. "suboptimal conditions" is a can of worms that I don't want to open. The intent of this comment is not to discuss any of that.

Assuming that La Paz is going be to the host of IOI 2025, these are a few tips that might help you. Good luck to everyone participating!

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Thank you for your concern E869120!

But still, I would like to hear your opinion.

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Wow, it's more than twice the height of Denver. As NBA fans, we know how intimidating it can be to play away games in Denver.

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All committees travel to the IOI venue for a week half a year before IOI. If half of us will be unable to make it to the meetings, I hope we'll notice.

Unexaggerated version of this is a valid concern. And although there isn't a place where everyone will be in the same conditions (time zones being the most basic example), I'm sure that potential mitigations of this will be discussed in-depth with the hosts closer to IOI 2025.

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You can to a palce lower then La Paz,or you will have a greater reaction.

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I'm waiting the JOISC 2024 solution page for 4 weeks.. now I might collapse and will make blunder on all contest

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    5 weeks ago, # ^ |
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    We are very sorry about that. It is not sure but I think that the page will open in a week.