Wizolympics 2016 Opening Ceremony
Dear readers! I am thrilled to announce the Daily Prophet has been given the honor of covering the opening ceremonies of the 502nd Wizolympics!
I, Barnabas Cuffe, Daily Prophet editor now for 26 solid years, have had the privilege of viewing the ceremonies here in Rio de Janeiro and will be providing you with Wizolympic coverage throughout the games!
The humble beginnings of the Wizolympics date back to the land of Ancient Greece, just like its Muggle counterpart. Muggles and wizards alike competed in the first Olympic games alongside the glittering Mediterranean, no doubt inspired to endeavor in feats of honor and glory by the incredible sights of the Peloponnese Peninsula around them.
When their Muggle competitors showed them up during the first Olympic games around 776 BC, the magical folk of ancient Greece were flabbergasted. These bumbling buffoons, who couldn’t so much as light up a pathway for themselves on a moonless night, were outperforming them in every athletic event. Their wands may have made quick work of tasks that required hours of Muggle labor, but that physical labor gave them an incredible advantage during the Olympic battles for honor and glory.
Three wizards wanted to prove to the magical community that they didn’t need magic to survive. They believed wizards could go wandless just like Muggles and endure any hardship they faced. Alastor, who ranked last place in the shot put competition, rallied his two friends Agamede and Arguron, and they all ventured into a nearby mountain range to brave the wilderness wandless for two weeks.
The wizarding community was shocked and elated when the three returned two weeks later. The wilderness had been ruthless, but they endured and survived just like Muggles. Their courage inspired the wizards to hold their own, separate Olympic competition, and each year the brave journey of those three pioneers is honored during the Expedition Wandless event.
I, my fellow reporters, and all the spectators here in Rio de Janeiro will be witnessing Expedition Wandless as well as 16 other exhilarating events during this year’s Wizolympics. Battles will be wrought, tears will be shed, and injuries will doubtless be received.
Host country Brazil configured a lively, verdant stadium for this year’s competition. The Caipora Arena is bursting with life, from the excitement of the spectators to the tendrils of ivy and thick vines entwined to form the stadium wall. Spectators to the opening ceremonies were inspected by Caipora, native to Brazil and guardians of the wizarding school Castelobruxo, who agreed to help with security for this year’s Wizolympics.
Although there were a few hiccups, the Parade of Nations was a wonderful affair. The Egyptian team started off the parade with a bang and a crack when their sarcophagus Portkey failed to deliver them safely to the arena floor and the entire team plummeted to the ground, some getting crushed beneath their Portkey. What an accident! Mene Akiiki, who appeared in the Doxy Baiting games of 2014, got the worst of the mishap. The breaking of the sarcophagus freed the mummy inside, who proceeded to chase Akiiki around the stadium. That’ll be the last time anyone uses an ancient artifact as their Portkey into the games!
The Belgian team arrived with chocolate-smeared faces and an empty chocolate box Portkey. Mexico followed shortly with an enormous, colorful piñata; the Mexican athletes blindfolded one of their teammates, who proceeded to shoot curses in an attempt to break the piñata, sending Stinging Jinxes into the terrified crowd. When she finally managed to hit the piñata, it exploded with a terrible bang. Chocolate and candies rained from the piñata’s remains, much to the delight of the Belgian team, and a horde of smuggled fireworks ignited, lighting up the stadium and shedding light on the amazed expressions of the audience, who seemed to believe it was part of the show.
Some of the fireworks caused some trouble down on the arena floor, as the entire UK team and their Portkey caught on fire, but Italy’s timely entrance on a gondola and a flood of water saved them all.
There was a brief pause in the Parade as Wizolympic committee members worked to clean up some of the watery, ashy mess on the arena floor, and I took a moment to speak with Wizolympic Commissioner Adelaide Berger, who appeared understandably disheveled with concern over the course of events.
“Just two days ago, our Parade Coordinator came down with an awful case of spattergroit,” she said, massaging her temples and eyeing the Egyptian team, who were struggling to force their mummy back into its broken sarcophagus. “Now rumors are flying around that the Commission is biased and trying to get some of the competitors sick, which is just nonsense.”
The Parade resumed quickly, and the crowd sat eagerly awaiting the next arrival in the center of the arena. The excited murmur in the stadium spoke of anticipation and joy, but things soon came to a crashing halt. A low moan in one of the seats near the top of the stadium turned to a scream, and the crowd looked up to see a swarm of hairy, long-legged creatures emerging from the stadium ceiling. Panicking, but unable to get out of their seats, spectators squeezed in against one another as a large group of saddled Acromantulas scuttled down the walls with the Australian team gallantly astride them.
Readers, I had faith that the hardworking members of the commission would be able to rectify the situation, but my faith faltered when the entire Marina Bay Sands resort from Singapore appeared in the center of the arena. Wizolympic officials and Obliviators made quick work of the building and the Muggles inside, and the Singapore team received a stern talking to.
This was the point when Adelaide Berger decided to halt the Parade of Nations and move on to the next part of the ceremony. She told one of my reporters,
It was not an easy decision to make, but we are unsure when the rest of the countries will be arriving. It will be better to continue the ceremony than to make everyone wait hours.
The ceremony was just as beautiful to watch as the Parade of Nations was a chaotic mess. If the crowd was amazed by the Mexican team’s illegal fireworks, they were stunned into silence by the beauty of the Peruvian Vipertooth. The stadium went dark, and as an inspiring overture began to fade in, a gold spotlight featured the entrance of this year’s mascot. Its coppery scales dazzled the crowd, and the creature flew so gracefully you would never know this particular breed of dragon is known for its proclivity toward human flesh.
Spectators near the top of the stadium were privileged to receive an up-close view of the marvelous beast, but those down below watched a long line of students from Castelobruxo file in wearing bright green robes. Tendrils of smoke emanated from the arena walls, and the students began to march forward, herding magical creatures in their wake. Castelobruxo is known for its Magizoology and Herbology programs, and the skill with which the students handled such a large number of wild beasts showed the crowd why.
Creatures of all sizes marched in tune with the overture, and hippogriffs flew in criss-cross patterns over the rest of the group. There was a bit of a hiccup when they brought out the second Peruvin Vipertooth, but the disturbance went largely unnoticed by the crowd. One of my reporters, Erica Dagger, got the story from one of the dragon’s trainers:
Caipora are known for being mischievous, and right as we brought out Hermes, the second Vipertooth, one of them appeared right in front of him! He was so surprised he tried to fly away, but we’re used to handling situations like that, so we calmed him down quick and got him under control.
Time and time again, I’ve been so truly impressed with the skill and professionalism of everyone involved in this opening ceremony!
The flying Peruvian Vipertooth landed next to its trainers, and the golden spotlight focused in on the center of the arena. Castelobruxo students pulled out their wands and began to enchant the vines making up the walls to move, shifting the seats around to give the audience a change in perspective. When the seats stopped moving, Adelaide Berger was standing in the center of the spotlight next to the official Wizolympic torch bowl, arms raised. The crowd burst into applause, all of us amazed that things had gone from such a state of disarray to the moment we’d all been waiting for.
“Welcome to the 502nd Wizolympics!” Adelaide cried, and the cheers grew. “Thank you for being patient with us during those mild mishaps and for trusting that we wizards would know how to fix any problem we found ourselves in. Each year, I’m reminded of the courage, mental skill, and determination it must have taken for Agamede, Alastor, and Arguron to venture into the wilderness without wands, and each year, my fellow Wizolympic officials and all of the competing athletes remind me that we are just as strong now as we ever were!”
The cheering was thunderous. Tears of exhilaration rolled down my cheeks.
The Wizolympics started with wizards recognizing that just because they were different than Muggles in some ways didn’t mean they couldn’t do the same things. Our differences may give us trouble, but we have the power to meet any obstacle we come up against. This year, the wand on our Wizolympic flag is made of rowan. Rowan is known for its protectiveness, strength with defensive charms, and the pure-heartedness of its user. Let it keep all of our competitors safe this year, no matter what perils this competition may bring them.
As the crowd continued to applaud, Percy Weasley walked into the spotlight. It’s a great honor to be chosen to transport the salamander to the opening ceremony, and he brought it in all the way from London.
Percy handed Adelaide the ceremonial salamander, and she placed it into the torch bowl next to the Firecrab. A stream of flames erupted from the Firecrab’s backside, and the salamander’s skin caught on fire.
The stadium was overcome with fierce wizardly pride, as if we were all transported back to that day in Ancient Greece when Agamede, Alastor, and Arguron returned from their trek into the wilderness.
A small group of Castelobruxo students appeared in the spotlight behind Adelaide, unrolling the flag for this year’s Wizolympics. The spotlight grew, and the rest of the students and their beasts came into a tight circle around Adelaide, the torch, and the flag. The triumphant music echoed throughout the stadium, and the students and their beasts began marching in circles. Adelaide Berger stood strong in the center, waving to the crowd as the students and their beasts began filing off.
“I’ve never been so proud to be a wizard,” spectator Bo Spekter told me, and everyone else I spoke with reiterated their magical pride.
“It might have been a little messy, but so what? We overcame it – this was a trial, just like anything else. If we can get through a few little mistakes in the opening ceremony, I bet you our athletes are really going to show us what they’re made of this year!” Giselle Mayberry exclaimed.
I, my dear Prophet readers, will have to agree. In all of my years as Daily Prophet editor, I’ve never seen an opening ceremony like this.
Who knows what the rest of the games will have in store?
The Prophet will be covering the entirety of this event with the help of a team of seasoned writers, and there is much more to come! As always, letters or vibes to the editor are highly encouraged and should be sent only by owl post (and with a clear mind) to us at the Daily Prophet. Thank you.