483 ½ Wizolympics – Day 14 Update: Avalanching Qualifying Round
Welcome, welcome to the Wizolympic Avalanching qualifying matches update! In this event, teams must race down an avalanche (set by one of the Wizolympic referees) in a cauldron, using spells to propel themselves forward and ahead of their competitors. Whoever gets to the bottom of the mountain first is the winner!
Our competitors are Edmund Davies (UK), Sarah Johnson (USA), Maxim Bagrov (Russia), Justine Patel (Canada), Greta Schwab (Germany), and Alma Fernández (Argentina). Argentina is a crowd favorite for the gold, but Russia has always been a prime winner as well, winning nearly every year. Canada has kept up a decent streak as well.
Says Edmund Davies of the UK, “We wish everyone luck and not to die!”
We wish the same.
First up is Davies vs. Bagrov. Competitors are prepared on the very top of the mountain, and the mediwizards are on broom, ready to fly in if necessary. The referee is also on a broom, above the two competitiors. He raises his wand – “Reducto!” – and the avalanche begins!
Davies floors it down the hill without any magic, his hands gripping the top of the cauldron. Bagrov is right behind him, only he’s screaming “Aguamenti!” and allowing the water to freeze to give him a smooth, clear path down the mountain on the avalanche. He gains on Davies, weaving by him on an icy path. Davies falls behind instantly, and Bagrov crosses the finish line.
Better luck next time, UK!
Net we have the US and Canada, big-time rivals in avalanching. The US is prone to copying Canada’s moves, and vice versa, so it’s not really apparent what started the rivalry. Johnson and Patel eye each other before the referee shouts the Reductor Curse, and the two are off down the hill. Patel takes the lead, using the Scouring Charm to clean the bottom of her cauldron and get it free of packs of snow.
“That’s the way to do it!” Percy Weasley of the Department of Magical Transportation comments. Weasley is a known expert in the thickness of cauldron bottoms, an expertise beginning with a report he wrote for the late Bartemius Crouch. “The snow can’t build up on the bottom of the cauldron or else it will slow it down!”
As stated, the US’s cauldron builds up snow on the bottom, and Johnson falls behind. She attempts the Levitation Charm to lift her cauldron out of the snow but is unsuccessful. Patel crosses the finish line first, moving Canada up in the event.
Argentina vs. Germany next with Fernández vs. Schwab. Fernández is a crowd favorite as she steps into her cauldron and waves from the top of the mountain, though people who don’t have Omnioculars won’t be able to see that and thus won’t be able to wave back. Schwab steps into her cauldron very seriously, and the referee raises his wand…
They take off, matched, before Fernández hits a random snow curb as the avalanche roars down. Schwab takes the lead, using the Freezing Spell to create an ice path.
“That would have been a better spell for Bagrov to use,” Percy Weasley says. “If he proceeds on to the final round, perhaps he shall comprehend.”
But behind Schwab comes Fernández, barreling in, using the cleaning spell Tergeo to keep her cauldron clean.
“Another way instead of the Scouring Charm,” says Weasley, nodding solemnly.
Then Schwab raises her wand and shouts, “Obscuro!” A blindfold manifests itself around Fernández’s eyes. However, Fernández remains calm and leans forward over her cauldron, still casting the Freezing Spell. She makes it to the finish line without any serious crashes and with Schwab fuming behind her.
With all that over comes Round 2! Since Russia is last year’s winner, they automatically qualify for finals after making it past Round 1. Fernández will race against Patel to decide who Bagrov’s ultimate competitor will be.
They mount themselves inside their cauldrons, wait for the Reductor Curse, and are off down the avalanche, gliding on the falling and crashing snow. Fernández, now unblinded, surges forward, curving around to avoid a deep part of the snow. Patel follows behind, gritting her teeth (which, I must admit, I replayed over and over on the Omnioculars for a little bit, so I’m not sure what happened next per se). When I switched back to normal time, Fernández was stuck in the snow, and Patel had passed her. Fernández doesn’t give up and screams, “Locomotor Cauldron!”
“The reason she fell,” Percy says, “is because her cauldron bottom was too thin, approximately around two and a quarter inches so. She’s handling it rather well, though.”
Fernández and Patel race to the finish line, one on snow and the other in the air, but in the end it is Fernández who barrels by Patel at the finish line. The crowd roars, and Patel goes to shake hands with Fernández once she’s out of her cauldron. O Canada!
It looks like the final match rests once again, as it usually does, between Russia and Argentina! Stay tuned for the final match with Maxim Bagrov representing Russia and Alma Fernández representing Argentina!
-Salina Heartstring, Daily Prophet reporter