Wizolympics 2016: Kelpie Taming

Wild kelpies are dangerous creatures even for the most well-trained Magizoologists, but the usually bloody Kelpie Taming event had surprisingly few casualties and injuries. Spectators, coaches, and athletes gathered inside Caipora Arena early this morning to discover the stadium floor had been transformed into a stinking bog.

Competitors had to tame their kelpies by using a Placement Charm to get a bridle over their heads. Each athlete was awarded up to 10 points by a panel of five judges. Points were awarded for swiftness, style, and avoiding injury. Drowned or disemboweled players all faced disqualification.

Ava Brennan of Ireland started the day off, a fan favorite due to her longtime relationship with old Nessie. She mounted her kelpie quickly, but an imperfect Placement Charm left the bridle only halfway down the creature’s head. All of her experience with Nessie helped her overcome this would-be-fatal flaw; she was able to wrestle the bridle over the kelpie’s head before it dragged her beneath the water. She had points taken away for her imperfect charm but made them up by avoiding death and her unique wrestling style. She finished off with 44 points.

Herbert Slick of the United States cast an excellent Placement Charm but lost severe points for a deep kelpie bite on his left arm. Marco Francesca of Italy also had points deducted for injury, putting them both at 37 points. Ana Dragomirova of Bulgaria was dragged beneath the surface of the bog but somehow escaped the kelpie’s grasp before it was too late. She swam to the shore and elected to drop out of the competition.

French competitor Melissa Martin was not so lucky. She made it all the way to the kelpie’s back but dropped her wand into the sticky bog water, giving the kelpie the chance to drag her to the bottom and devour her. Wizolympic officials paused the event to clean up the bog before the next competitor went in.

Competitors from China, Russia, and the United Kingdom suffered the fatal consequences of approaching a kelpie from the front. Most dangerous animals need to be approached from the back to avoid spooking them, but the swiftness involved in a kelpie taming generally makes an approach from behind the way to go. Once a kelpie realizes that it’s in danger of being tamed, it will make every attempt to end the life of its would-be tamer.

Kelpie taming expert Joanna Milberg told reporters,

It’s a shame that proper Magizoologists aren’t coaching these kelpie taming competitors. Spellwork itself isn’t enough when you’re dealing with a dangerous creature. You can’t expect to properly execute a Placement Charm without correctly approaching and mounting the beast first. Four casualties today, and three of them came from a lack of very basic knowledge about these creatures. If I’ve told the committee once, I’ve told them a thousand times; we mustn’t allow competitors who haven’t been properly trained in Magizoology. This isn’t Brazilian Wizard Warrior or the Gnome Toss; this event deals with creatures who can kill the most skilled Magizoologist on a bad day.

While many of the competitors seemed to lack the basic Magizoological knowledge Milberg spoke of, Grecian Katerina Zabat seemed to know kelpie taming like the back of her hand. She earned 49 points for a more or less perfectly executed taming; front row observers said they couldn’t even hear the bog water splash when she leapt onto the kelpie’s back.

Pablo Riquelme of Chile also made an excellent showing, but his sideways approach to the kelpie earned him a deep gash on his forearm. His perfect Placement Charm gained him some points back; he also earned some style points for convincing the kelpie to swim in a figure eight. He didn’t score high enough to surpass Zabat, but his 46 points earned him the Sickle. Ava Brennan of Ireland took home the Knut.

After the ceremony, reporters asked Zabat how she was able to execute the taming so flawlessly:

It’s almost a superstitious thing, but my wand has kelpie hair in its core. I’ve always loved the water and excelled in Magizoology; when I first started working with dangerous beasts, I noticed kelpies responded to me much more quickly than they did my peers. A lot of training and hard work led me to where I am today, and I understand I’m gambling my life every time I get in the water. You’ve got to know these beasts as if you are one of them, and I think my wand really gives me an advantage.