Wizolympics 2020: Gnome Toss Final
There were many surprises and upsets in the qualifiers. Rio’s Knut-winning gnome tosser, Jacqueline Glaisyer, was disqualified for using wandless magic to get her gnomes over the fence. Australia’s Erle Elywn, a well-known gnome toss participant, lost a spot in the finals to the newcomer Geoph VanTickler-Gnops from Yap, the largest of the Federated States of Micronesia. But Japan’s Mai Nakao will be a formidable opponent hoping to keep her title. Claudio Santos is here and determined to reclaim his title, still angry that he was thwarted from his sixth consecutive win at the Rio Games. Joining them in the final is up-and-coming gnome tosser Cornelius Haji from Brunei.
These four finalists have 15 minutes to chuck as many gnomes over a 20-foot fence as they can. A point is awarded for each foot the gnomes fall over the fence, and points are deducted for any gnomes that find their way back to the field. This year, a Shield Charm has been put in place around the fence to prevent angry veela spectators from storming the field as happened at the previous Games. Rolfus Rodrigues is standing by to reprise his role as the measurer and referee of the event. With a nod to the officials, he blows his whistle to start the game.
Santos storms the field. His tosses are less refined than before. But look at how far that gnome flew! Rodrigues measures and writes on the board that it was 61.35 feet, which is a new record in gnome tossing. Perhaps Santos is sacrificing technique for power and strength. Whatever his new approach is, it certainly seems to be working. VanTickler-Gnops means business. It appears he’s ambidextrous and is preparing to toss one gnome in one hand while tossing another one with the other. According to the clock, he’s tossing a gnome every 1.2 seconds. Mai Nakao is standing next to him to defend her Galleon from Rio. Her strategy simply gets the gnomes over the fence as quickly as possible, hoping a lot of gnomes tossed will cancel out any gnomes who return. Cornelius Haji is using a slow and steady approach, really winding up the gnomes to throw them as far as possible. However, the gnomes are more interested in the nearby pond than returning to the gnome toss field.
Now, what is going on there? Seven gnomes are floating away from the field. Neither VanTickler-Gnops nor Nakao is letting this development phase them and are continuing to toss gnomes as more gnomes are disappearing from play. There’s a flash of color near the disappearing gnomes. Is that Doppo the Demiguise? It wouldn’t surprise me since Doppo seems especially sensitive to all creatures big and small and would find this event particularly distressing. Officials came to a consensus it was Doppo and called for someone to find the Demiguise’s handler, Eliana Yamamoto.
They’re pausing the game with 3 minutes and 41.3 seconds remaining to find the cause of the mysterious disappearing gnomes. After 20 minutes, spells indicate the field is clear of all entities that should not be on the field, so play begins again. It’s a flurry of arms and flying gnomes. Rodrigues is having a devil of a time figuring out who tossed which gnome how far. And now 15 minutes are up.
Uh-oh. One gnome is not getting up. Rodrigues approaches and after some prodding, declares that the gnome is dead. He looks to the officials, unsure of what to do because this has never happened before in recent history. The judges consult the rule book, which states any contestant who kills a gnome is automatically forfeit. A quick spell determined Santos is responsible for the deceased gnome. He refuses to accept his removal from the game because that means his record distance will not be accepted. He begins cursing and sending hexes at anyone and anything. Aurors are now coming onto the field to restrain Santos and escort him off the field.
The gnomes are creating a boat out of twigs and leaves and place the gnome into the boat and take it to the shore. One gnome timidly approaches Haji and uses a crude form of sign language asking him to light the boat ablaze. He obliges. While there is a moment of silence to watch the flaming boat, Doppo the Demiguise comes out of the shadows just outside the Shield Charm. There is a lone tear streaming down his face before he turns invisible again. This impromptu gnome funeral gave the audience a distraction while the scores were tallied.
Taking the Knut medal is Cornelius Haji with 412 points. The Sickle medal goes to Mai Nakao for her 492 points. Geoph VanTickler-Gnops wins the Galleon medal with 572 points. Congratulations to Brunei and Yap for winning their first medals in the history of the Wizolympics.