Wizolympics 2020: Waitlifting Qualifier
Hello there! I am Hiltrude Tuft, your Daily Prophet correspondent for the Tokyo 2020 Wizolympic Games. I’m here at Kahaku Dome, where the qualifying round for today’s waitlifting event is about to take place.
In 2016, we had a very exciting final between Bulgaria and Italy, with Bulgaria ultimately taking home the Galleon. It seems the team has decided to sit it out this year since Bulgaria is not one of the countries getting ready to compete today.
For today’s qualifying round, we will be following traditional waitlifting rules. Each team has two players, one to compete in this round and another to compete in the final should their team be so lucky to advance. The teams must each select an object to levitate and then stand in the arena until only two objects remain in the air. In all my years reporting for the Daily Prophet, this event is the one most frequently underestimated. It seems easy to stand and wait, but is it? In years past, waitlifting has been plagued with cheating, transfiguration of the arena floor, and self-rising objects. I see the judges have added new Spellospecs to their uniforms, which are supposed to identify any objects that have been charmed, cursed, or otherwise tampered with.
The teams are taking the floor, the whistle sounds, and we’re off!
Rio de Janeiro’s Sickle-winning team, Caterina Ardiccioni and Guiseppe Beltrami of Italy, is here. I see Beltrami has departed from Italy’s usual choice of levitating cooking objects. He has raised an olive branch into the air today – a nice, light choice – and I wonder if it’s a reference to his team’s ongoing rivalry with Ireland. In 2016, Ireland missed out on its chance to compete in the final due to the object Timothy Mahoney levitated – a leprechaun coin – disappearing. Well, Mahoney is back and has this time raised a potato into the air. He looks confident, though apparently is avoiding Beltrami’s eye from across the arena. So much for that olive branch!
Over on the other side of the arena, we have Aubergine St Laurent of Canada levitating a maple leaf, Colombia’s Alejandra Osario waiting on a bottle of wine, and Germany’s Heinrich Weber lifting a Knödel (a type of German dumpling.) All our competitors seem to be doing well so far. This event is more of a long-term commitment than most, though, so success even an hour into the competition can mean very little later on.
Aha! We have our first contestant to be disqualified. A stiff breeze blew through the arena while Canada’s St Laurent was talking – dare I say “flirting”? – with Japan’s Minami Nakamura. St Laurent’s maple leaf was caught in the draft and whipped out over the stands and off into the distance. St Laurent is now complaining to the judges, saying that Atmospheric Charms ought to have been cast on the dome. They don’t appear to be having it. Aubergine St Laurent is officially out of the competition. The rest of our competitors look pleased to see her go, including Nakamura. Perhaps this was a scheme to distract St Laurent? If it was, it worked!
Six hours later…
The sun is shining overhead, and some of the old hands at waitlifting came prepared with sunhats. Italy’s Beltrami’s hat in particular is broad enough that he is standing in perfect shade. Others are not faring so well in Japan’s summer heat. Mahoney and his potato appear to be wavering. He has turned bright red with sunburn. Sweat is rolling down his cheeks like a river. Will Ireland survive the afternoon?
Oh, dear! In an unexpected twist, Weber’s Knödel seems to have melted and dropped from the sky. It seems that he’s started a chain reaction since Mahoney has also fallen to the ground. Do we have a mediwizard on hand? I think I see steam rising off both the unconscious Mahoney and his potato.
Twelve hours later…
It is midnight here in Tokyo at Kahaku Dome. We are down to three objects in the air – Osario’s bottle of wine, Nakamura’s dried seaweed, and Beltrami’s olive branch. Beltrami seems to be staving off the exhaustion well. He has now assumed what must be described as a power stance – legs spread, knees bent – and appears determined to wait it out. Nakamura is equally calm. She is wafting her seaweed back and forth in a rather hypnotic manner. Osario is fixated on the tiny square of green. Her eyes are following it left and right, left and right… Oops! Down she goes! Alejandra Osario has officially fallen asleep, and her bottle of wine has fallen to the ground with a crash, splattering Beltrami and Nakamura with its contents.
There you have it! With only two competitors remaining, this brings an end to the qualifying round of waitlifting for the Tokyo 2020 Wizolympic Games. We will see you all in a few days for the final, where Italy and Japan will be facing off for the Galleon medal!
Thank you, and goodnight. Once again, I am Hiltrude Tuft for the Daily Prophet.