Wizolympics 2016: Waitlifting Qualifiers

It’s a beautiful morning here in Rio de Janeiro, and the qualifying round of the most exciting event of the whole Wizolympics is happening in a few short minutes! The participating teams are warming up on the sidelines, as grounds crew comb over the floor once more in an effort to reveal any tampering that might give an unfair advantage to any individuals. You really can’t be too careful with these things, as demonstrated in the 353rd Wizolympics when a member of the Scottish team performed a tricky bit of wandwork to convince the wooden planks in their section of the floor to become cushioned and therefore much easier to stand on for long periods of time. This unfair ability to save themselves from shin splints and other leg discomfort caused the Scottish team to be promptly disqualified. The other teams took very hard to this form of cheating and even turned their backs as the bagpipers passed at the Closing Ceremonies.

For this qualifying round, the rules are simple. Each team must levitate the object of their choice until there are only two competitors remaining with their objects still in the air. While it may seem simple, the patience required to wait long enough to be one of the last two teams standing eludes even the most prepared athletes. A whistle blows, and the teams swarm the floor. Each country has two representatives in Waitlifting, one to perform in the qualifying round and the other to bring it home in the finals.

Giuseppe Beltrami of Italy has levitated his chosen object into the air. The sun glints off a silver sauce ladle. What an excellent choice for this qualifying round! Not too heavy as to require too much concentration during levitation but substantial enough not to be the laughingstock of the competition. On the other hand, Timothy Mahoney of Ireland appears to be levitating air. Oh, wait, no! A golden glint from the sun tells me it must be a single piece of leprechaun gold. Well, that is just cheap. Of all the lightweight, inconsequential things to wait with…

As Mahoney looks quite pleased with himself, the German competitor, Heinrich Weber, is jovially surveying his competition while pointing his wand at a large, wooden barrel. His team member, Peer Schmidt, is fixated on the barrel, a longing look in his blue eyes. A growl sounds from further down the arena’s length. The audience gasps as a giant panda bear, evidently China’s choice levitating item, roars and takes several swipes at his levitator, Wang Ru. A shriek of horror erupts in the stands as Wang’s teammate, Liu Yi, seems to have gotten a bit too close to the struggling panda. Blood is spattering down her robes from a deep claw mark on her face. Concentration interrupted by what I’m sure must be great concern and fear for his teammate, Wang drops his wand. The panda thumps to the ground and rages around the arena.

Audience members are on the edge of their seats now, as the bear runs clumsily toward the Germans. Weber turns around just in time to see the black and white monstrosity bounding toward him. Fear strikes his features as he tries desperately to get out of the path of the panda. His efforts to get away are not mirrored in his teammate, Schmidt, who is still staring hopefully at the barrel Weber is levitating. As the bear collides with Weber, the barrel crashes to the floor, revealing its contents to be a fine, German beer. The beer gushes across the arena, soaking the floor. Schmidt looks as if Christmas has come early.

Not all the contestants are as happy as Schmidt. The beer causes US contestant Emily Bishop to slip, sending the US team’s Statue of Liberty snow globe to the ground where it is smashed to bits. Bishop and her teammate Vincent Hughes immediately turn and stare daggers at the two Chinese, the cause of their embarrassing early elimination from an event the US usually dominates due to sheer will and stubbornness.

Safety wizards rush onto the arena floor. Better late than never, I suppose. The safety wizards shoot Stunning Spells at the panda and succeed in knocking it out. While they struggle to remove it from the floor, the competition has entered a battle of wills between Bulgaria, Ireland, and Italy. Bulgaria’s Anton Petrov has a steely resolve on his chiseled features, as he continues to levitate a gargantuan bolder as if a large and angry bear didn’t just break loose and his feet aren’t covered in several inches of beer. Beltrami is still levitating that ladle, waiting patiently for the buzzer, and Mahoney is effortlessly keeping his puny piece of leprechaun gold afloat.

Eight hours later…

As the whole world begins to drift off, we are still obligated to report on the riveting event of Waitlifting. It is still a close fight to the finish between Bulgaria, Ireland, and Italy… Oh, wait a minute! There is a dispute on the arena floor. Mahoney is arguing with some officials. Where is his object? That appears to be what they’re fighting about. Leprechaun gold disappears after several hours. Without an object to wait with, Mahoney can no longer compete. That means it’s Bulgaria and Italy in the finals! What an exciting time for these teams as they advance to the next round and move just a bit closer to the title of Wizolympic Waitlifting Galleon Medalists!

The finals will take place tomorrow. We will continue to have the coverage right here!

Beatrice Witherthorp

Veritaserum News Network (VNN) reporter

Amy Hogan

I was 9 years old when I discovered the magic that is “Harry Potter.” I am a proud Hufflepuff and exceedingly good at eating, reading, being sarcastic, and over-thinking small tasks. Since I spent too much time worrying about the correct way to write this bio, this is all I was able to come up with before the deadline.