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A local spelling champ and math whiz chats with Diablo


Justin Goldman

 Evan O’Dorney, the 2007 Scripps National Spelling Bee champ, has switched from words to numbers: In June, the 16-year-old from Danville qualified for the International Mathematical Olympiad in Kazakhstan. We got his thoughts on:

Going to Kazakhstan:

"The big attraction is the Baikonur Cosmodrome, where the [Soviet Union] launched all its space rockets."

If rockets are interesting :

"Not really, but I think they’ll take me there."

The ratio at math contests:

"Ordinarily, there are about four girls and 60 guys. "

The bee’s weirdest word:

"Schuhplattler, a Bavarian courtship dance in which, before the couple dances together, the woman calmly does steps resembling a waltz while the man dances vigorously about her, swinging his arms and slapping his thighs."


"For me, it was really impossible to go to public school, because by the time I was five years old, I knew how to add, subtract, multiply, and divide, and I could read pretty well."

Going to college in 2011:

"I want to go to Harvard. I visited there [in April], and I just loved it. I know I’m going to be with people who share my passion for math."

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