483 1/2 Wizolympics – Day 17 Update: Closing Ceremonies
Tonight, the Closing Ceremonies of the 2014 Wizolympic Games in Sochi, Russia, took place here at the Firebird Stadium. I had the pleasure of attending the event with my husband and three children, and what an experience it was!
As the torches throughout the stadium were lowered, a spotlight was projected into the middle of the Firebird Stadium floor, illuminating South Korean athlete Seung Jun, who our readers may remember was the Silver Sickle medalist at the Snowmen Battle event. Jun was accompanied by athlete Dominika Volkova of Russia, whose team took home the Silver Sickle at the Cliff Stunning event.
As Jun and Volkova held their wands out in front of them, they were suddenly surrounded on all sides by the Pogrebin, who jumped from their places in the stands to pin the two in. As the Pogrebin leaped upon Jun and Volkova, obscuring them both from view, the audience watched in awe as from the center of the chaos, a magnificent Re’em-shaped Patronus appeared, followed shortly by a flowing phoenix Patronus (which Russian wizards and witches refer to as a Firebird, hence the name of the stadium). The two Patronuses weaved around each other in a dance, encircling the entire stadium, scattering the Pogrebin to the exits, and causing the audience to rise and cheer in a standing ovation. Somewhat oddly, with the Pogrebin’s exit, the Firebird Stadium never felt as warm and welcoming as it did tonight, its final night of use before its deconstruction. Russian Wizolympic officials declined to confirm exactly where the Pogrebin have gone, although it is suspected that releasing them into the wild was simply more convenient than having them rounded up.
With the torches now casting their warm glow throughout the stadium, an announcement, first in Russian and then English, could be heard: “Ladies and gentlemen, we present the Re’em – the mascot of the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Wizolympic Games!”
Another loud cheer as Jun’s Re’em and Volkova’s phoenix landed beside them and dissolved into silver mist, as Patronuses are wont to do. Such an impressive show of magic to begin the evening!
As the two athletes bowed and returned to their seats, the stadium suddenly filled with a stirring Korean soundtrack, and a group of Korean dancers took to the stadium floor to perform a traditional Korean fan dance, known as a Buchaechum. The dancers levitated their fans above them, using them to form various shapes and images, including the South Korean flag and yet another image of the Re’em (which was cleverly animated to appear as if it were charging at the dancers, who scattered).
With our enticing look at the 2018 Wizolympics now concluded, the announcer’s voice once again rang through the stadium: “We now ask for a moment of silence in honor of Brett Mitchell, Kevin Mitchell, and Dorothy Simpson, the lost members of the USA Expedition Wandless team.”
As our listeners who have tuned into the WWN for Wizolympics highlights may know, the USA team of Expedition Wandless (the two-week-long competition where participating teams of three live without magic) disappeared on the competition’s sixth day, with no explanation as to why.
The Firebird Stadium torches were once again extinguished as wizards raised their wands with lit tips in a moving tribute. However, as the stadium became brighter under the wandlight, a murmur suddenly spread through the crowd as the outline of three bodies was illuminated on the ground. As the Wizolympic officials brought the lights up again, a shocking revelation: All three members of the USA team sat in the middle of the stadium, looking just as perplexed as the rest of the audience, with athlete Brett Mitchell only able to stammer a confused “Um . . . hello everyone. Where are we? Are. . . are the games over?” before a group of mediwizards rushed onto the scene, followed by various Wizolympic Committee members, to escort the athletes away for treatment and questioning. Make sure to tune in to the WWN later this evening for more on the story, including an exclusive interview with the Expedition Wandless USA team.
In an attempt to restore calm, the Wizolympic officials shot a few sparks into the air, directing the audience’s attention to the front of the stadium, where Russian Minister of Magic Yuri Volkov stood with South Korean Minister of Magic Hye Yeong. The two stood on either side of the Wizolympic Salamander, Volkov with his wand at the ready and Yeong having conjured a ball of flames in her hand. As the audience became quiet once more, Volkov shouted in Russian, “Sochi, Russia, now passes the torch of these Wizolympic Games to Pyeongchang, South Korea!” with Yeong responding in Korean, “Pyeongchang, South Korea, happily accepts the responsibility of the Wizolympic Games from Sochi, Russia!” Waving his wand, Volkov doused the salamander in jets of water, causing it to seek out a new heat source as it turned a deep shade of blue. Turning to Yeong, the salamander jumped into the flames she held, disappearing with a spark-filled bang. The two ministers bowed to the audience as Wizolympic officials around the stadium raised their wands in tandem, shooting off fireworks tinted in Wizolympic colors.
With that, the real celebration commenced. A platform was raised at the stadium’s center for various musical performances. The highlight of the evening was the appearance of South Korean superstar Psy, an eccentric wizard who is infamous for being one of the first magical artists to have his work permeate the Muggle community, despite his songs being infused with various charms and enchantments that cause listeners to become irrationally obsessed with his work. Psy performed his new hit, “Korea,” in honor of his home country’s newfound hosting duties. He was meant to be accompanied by famous Russian opera witch Nadia Rogova. Unfortunately, Ms. Rogova has reportedly been trapped in her hotel room since yesterday afternoon, when her doorknob mysteriously disappeared. Russian Ministry officials are currently attempting various charms on Rogova’s hotel room door to force it open.
At this point in the evening, my little Lily was quite tired, and my two boys were starting to grab a bit too ferociously at my husband’s wand, hoping to join in with the other witches and wizards casting fireworks and confetti into the air. We took our leave from the Firebird Stadium at that point, levitating the children over the pile of snow, slush, and mud left by the all-Squib Snow Shoveling event. The stadium itself will be deconstructed in the early morning hours as the first wave of nations begins to Portkey home.
Having last attended the Summer Wizolympics in Beijing, I can say that this was yet another excellent year of Wizolympic Games, and I congratulate both the Russian Ministry and the Wizolympic Committee for putting on a wonderful show. Thank you to our faithful readers for relying on the Daily Prophet to stay up to date on the latest Wizolympic news. Make sure to tune in later tonight for audio highlights of the event on the WWN!
– Ginny Potter, Daily Prophet sports correspondent
Wizolympics 2014 – Final Medal Tallies
Russia – 5 Silver, 2 Bronze
UK – 1 Gold, 3 Silver, 1 Bronze
USA – 3 Gold, 1 Bronze
Australia – 1 Gold, 1 Bronze
Austria – 1 Gold, 1 Bronze
Switzerland – 1 Silver, 1 Bronze
Andorra – 1 Gold
Argentina – 1 Gold
Colombia – 1 Gold
Ireland – 1 Gold
Mexico – 1 Gold
Nepal – 1 Gold
South Africa – 1 Gold
Sweden – 1 Gold
Bulgaria – 1 Silver
Denmark – 1 Silver
Hungary – 1 Silver
South Korea – 1 Silver
China – 1 Bronze
Iceland – 1 Bronze
India – 1 Bronze
Norway – 1 Bronze
Romania – 1 Bronze
Spain – 1 Bronze