483 ½ Wizolympics – Day 5 Update: Snowball Fight Qualifying Round

Ginny Weasley here, reporting from Sochi, Russia, where Day 5 of the Wizolympics is happily underway! I am taking over coverage of the Snowball Fighting Tournament following the strange disappearance of our Editor-in-Chief, Barnabas Cuffe, just yesterday afternoon. Wherever you are Barnaby, we wish you a safe return to us!

Needless to say, I never got a chance to watch the preliminary rounds of this event. Besides lending my voice nightly to the Wizarding Wireless Network, I’ve been spending well deserved family time with my three kids and husband. My son James especially enjoyed the Dragon Wrangling competition.

Four teams remained to play in the Snowball Fight tournament this morning, those proud nations represented being Bermuda, Iceland, Peru, and Thailand. Before the match, I was privileged to have the opportunity to speak with one of the competitors.

“How have you been enjoying the tournament thus far?” I put to Danielle Rojas of the Peruvian team.

“Um, not much at all actually…” was her surprising response. She seemed to be shaking as if with a sudden chill. “I am proud to represent my country, of course, but this – this judge…” The judge, a Mr. Vladimir Golubov, grabbed her shoulder at this instant, and she immediately brightened. “This judge is wonderful! He has such a love for the Muggle sport. I am excited to be able to play the Snowball Fight! … can I go now?”

Having read the previous article from my editor alongside half of Britain – all of us hoping against all hope it did not document his last words – I was already very skeptical of this Mr. Golubov. The Ministry at home had already launched an inquiry, but neither search of the grounds nor direct questions put to the strange, obnoxious man before me had turned up any sign of Barnaby Cuffe… or the Pogrebin he had last been seen with.

“Excuse me, miss,” he began with a slight edge in his voice. “I really must begin the next stage of this tournament. Return to your seat in the stands if you please…”

“He had a wife and three kids, you know.”

“What?”

“Don’t worry; it’s nothing.” I returned to the stands with a burning desire to sock that man in his bearded face.

By the time I reached my seat the four teams had taken their spots near their original snow forts, but the competitors were no longer hiding behind them. The judge declared that they may use magic  in this round, and the resounding cheer from the competitors was palpable. This promised to be an all-out snowball war.

Moments later the game was underway! Immediately, the witches and wizards of Iceland conjured a gigantic snowball – as big as a dragon – and sent it flying toward team Thailand, who managed to collectively raise a large snow-shield in the nick of time. The ball and shield collapsed on the Thai team and buried them in snow. At the same time this was going on, Bermuda raised hundreds of small snowballs from the ground and shot them off at Peru, whose team members cleverly dodged the assault with a brilliant combination of the levitation and Banishing Charms casted on each other, which sent them spinning around the pitch.

“Yeah, yeah! Get ’em,” said my son, James. My other two, Lily and Albus, enjoyed the game but far more quietly, biting into an assortment of chocolate frogs we had bought them. While I watched them a moment my husband, Harry, suddenly stood up in the stands and pointed at the sky.

A Dementor was coming right for us.

“Holy mother of Hagrid! They’re back for me! Ginny, grab the kids; I’ve got this” He stepped through the stands and raised his wand: “EXPECTO PATRONUM!” Immediately, the white stag burst from his wand and tackled the Dementor.

“Ouch!”

“Wha…? Who said that?” my husband stammered.

“I did!” It was the Dementor. It seemed my dear, trigger-happy husband had struck one of the patrolling Dementors of the event.

“Er. Sorry, m-mate… guess I got a little jumpy. I’ve had some bad experiences with Dementors. Come along, Cedric!” Harry called to the Patronus, which jumped happily back into his wand.

“I suppose it’s not your fault; most humans aren’t happy to see me. Name’s Jim, by the way.” He put his skeletal hand out to shake, which my pallid-faced husband took, though he looked as if he were about to faint. Meanwhile, back on the snow-covered field, Iceland sat atop a snow-covered Thailand, and Bermuda’s members lay on the ground, motionless, after what must have surely been a merciless counter-attack from Peru.

It will be Peru against Iceland in the final round! Join us tomorrow for coverage of this fantastic Muggle event.

From Firebird Stadium in Sochi, Russia,

Ginevra Weasley, Senior Contributor for Games and Sports at the Daily Prophet

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