483 ½ Wizolympics – Day 15 Update: Ice Course Final Round
Hello, wizards. We’re back for the final round of the always unpredictable Ice Course at the Sochi Wizolympics. Hungary, the UK, the US, and South Africa will be competing for the gold medal in the event. Eniko Csaszar of Hungary, having won the gold in this event twice previously, is a fan favorite, and many predict he will be taking home his third gold tonight. However, in a surprising turn, Benjamin Hadley, a first-time competitor from South Africa, took the judges by surprise in the qualifying round.
“Being Hungarian, of course I’m cheering for Eniko, but Hadley is going to be hard to beat, but, oh, I hope Eniko can do it! Hadley was amazing against the Graphorns earlier!” an excited fan told the Prophet before the game began.
The four competitors took their marks amid cheers from thousands of fans. Abbey Blackwood, from the UK, told the Prophet that she enjoys the pressure of the crowd.
“I love hearing the sounds of people cheering; it’s what really drives me. We train so hard, learning everything we could encounter and how to defeat those creatures, but the Wizolympics is all about unity, and that’s why I love competing!”
As Blackwood says, anything can happen in the maze, but the four athletes at this event are fantastically prepared for any creature that crosses their path.
The course began with a small, icy pool, which Tommy Crawford, the American competitor, quickly jumped into, ready for whatever it may hold. Unfortunately, a Kappa, a water dwelling demon, was waiting at the bottom of the pool. As the Kappa grabbed hold of Crawford, the athlete responded with a Stunning Spell, which missed the Kappa by inches; Crawford was then dragged deeper in by the water demon.
“Reducto!” shouted Crawford, obliterating the Kappa. Choking, Crawford crawled back to land, dried his clothes with a quick charm, and moved on through the course, still shaking from his encounter with the beast.
On the north side of the course, Eniko Csaszar faced a hippogriff, not commonly found in his native Hungary.
“Thankfully, I studied these creatures and knew they were easy to pass if you are kind enough to them,” Csaszar told the Prophet following the event. “I was actually quite excited to see one; I had to try very hard to be calm.”
Csaszar passed the hippogriff with a deep bow and walked on confidently, an easy start to the game.
Meanwhile, Blackwood was faced with a block of ice in her path, which needed to be melted to battle the creature frozen inside. With a flick of her wand, she shouted, “Incendio!“ The ice melted away, revealing a grindylow, which grabbed hold of Blackwood and latched its sharp teeth into her shoulder. Blackwood struggled against the beast before using the Revulsion Jinx to throw off the creature.
Hadley, lulled into a false sense of security by the quiet start to his course, was confronted with a Niffler, a pilfering pest, looking for gold. Thinking on his feet, Hadley pulled off his gold necklace, throwing it for the Niffler to chase and therefore keeping the pesky critter away.
Next, Crawford happened upon a trunk frozen shut. Using the Unlocking Charm, Crawford opened the trunk, which contained a boggart, which took the form of a werewolf. Crawford became confused and ran out of the maze, leading to his subsequent disqualification.
“I really thought they brought in werewolves for this game! Ridiculous! Of course werewolves wouldn’t cooperate… it isn’t even a full moon,” a distraught Crawford was heard telling his coach after he was disqualified.
Csaszar came across the boggart next, as it shifted into the image of a yeti. Recognizing the beast’s true form, with a quick shout of “Riddikulus!” Csaszar continued through the course as the yeti-boggart tripped and fell comically.
Blackwood next encountered a Dementor, a creature she hoped would not be included in the game. Struggling to produce a Patronus, Blackwood was only able to come up with a few bursts of light from her wand before succumbing to the Dementor’s power and collapsing. Luckily, Blackwood will still collect the bronze medal for the UK, leaving Csaszar and Hadley to compete for gold.
Sliding and tripping along the icy terrain, the last two competitors kept their eyes wide open for any small, lurking creatures that might hide in the snow.
“A Lethifold!” Csaszar screamed. The crowd gasped. Lethifolds are found in warmer climates – this was quite the twist to the end of the competition! No one had seen a Lethifold in Russia before!
Csaszar unsuccessfully aimed many Stunning Spells at the creature, which is impervious to such attacks, as it began moving in on the two athletes.
Hadley later told the Daily Prophet that he had not studied Lethifolds formally but had heard in legend that they were similar to Dementors. “As soon as I recalled that, I knew I was going to win.”
“Expecto Patronum!” screamed Hadley, a tiger-shaped Patronus flying forth from his wand and taking down the Lethifold. Cheers rose from the crowd. First time competitor Hadley goes home with the gold!
-Caliope Heartwood, Daily Prophet reporter