But look at me now

Last weekend in StarCraft, the world championship at IEM Katowice 2023 saw a so-good-it-must-be-scripted Cinderella story, where Oliveira won the world championship in a totally unexpected way. It was a whole roller-coaster of upset after upset from Oliveira, and up until the grand finals we were all still asking, “this can’t be, is this really happening?”.

Some context: StarCraft has one of the lowest upset rates of any competitive game out there, and Oliveira (formerly known as TIME) was ranked something like #21 coming in. Last November at DreamHack Atlanta (which I was at!), he didn’t win a single map. And just a month before IEM 2023, Blizzard had shut down its Chinese servers. But he’d been practicing 12 to 15 hours a day lately, and it showed.

The final winner interview was so emotional not only did Oliveira start crying, the host also started crying along with him. Along with a lot of the audience in Poland, and myself as I was watching the broadcast at home.

A rough translation of the teary part (it was in Chinese):

I think, I’ve waited so long, so long for this world championship. Last year was really hard for me, when I lost 0-6 in Atlanta, I thought it’s over, my career in StarCraft II is over. But since the last defeat, I told myself: I could practice more, I could practice more, and if one day, I really lift the world champion trophy, maybe I’ll prove… I’ll prove to you all.

Personally, my favorite part was the opening lines:

I mean … like… like, many people sometimes tell me, like, you should finish StarCraft 2, you should retire. And maybe, and, like, you should give up…

But look at me now.

That’s going on my quotes list.

2 thoughts on “But look at me now”

  1. Hey Evan, I’m a college student but I still enjoy reading your writing (My last AIME was in 2017).
    I didn’t know you still liked Starcraft 2 – Interestingly the smartest friend in math I have also still plays starcraft 2 at a high level, while all of my friends but him don’t play the game anymore. That is really interesting – something about starcraft that attracts mathematicians?
    I was also at DH Atlanta – was very cool, got some signatures from pros such as serral / hero and many more


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