As the stands start to clear out, the competitors for today’s Wand Skating event take the ice. As usual, France has a high amount of entries in this event. With four chances at defending their ten-year running title, it looks as though France is once again standing in high probability of taking home the top honor in Wand Skating.
The skaters seem unfazed by the crowd that’s drifting toward the exits. Perhaps they are used to the routine by now. The lack of danger and high risk of death in this particular event makes it one of the least viewed at the Wizolympics every year. In an attempt to revive interest in the sport, multiple Departments of Magical Games and Sports from several different ministries attempted to revise the rules of the event to include a twist with crowd participation.
There was a movement to allow the audience to hurl balls of fire at the competitors while they tried to conjure their figures and art on the ice, but skaters went on strike, arguing that this took away completely from their art form. Francine Dubois, founder of the French Wand Skating Organization and one of the judges today, stated publicly last year, “Wand Skating is an underappreciated art. What we do is artistry; those who do not submerge themselves in culture will never understand it.” Dubois used her celebrity status in the world of Wand Skating to help fight the attempt to change the sport.
Competing for the gold today is three-time gold medalist Jacqueline Glaisyer of France, two-time silver medalist and France’s reigning national champion Eugene Monet, the gold medalist from the 481st Wizolympics Claire Labelle (also of France), and Italy’s wand skating national champion Giorgio Gentile.
Once again, a strong presence from France as we get underway here in Sochi. First to take the ice is Jacqueline Glaisyer. Glaisyer is hoping to defend her title from last year and triumph over her fellow French competitors to be the once to bring home that coveted gold medal.
Glaisyer begins her routine by skating a lap around the rink with a stream of lavender-colored bubbles coming from the end of her wand. This is clearly for the benefit of guest judge Gilderoy Lockhart, who looks gleeful at the use of his favorite color.
Coming back to the center of the rink, Glaisyer gets ready for her first figure… and she conjures a beautiful little glass ballerina! The ballerina skates along the ice rapidly, tiny skates cutting into the frozen rink at top speed. When she finally stops, we can see what she drew on the ice – a rose plant with falling petals and thorns. The detail is impeccable! Well done, Glaisyer. That should earn her some good points from our judging panel.
Taking a brief moment to acknowledge the smattering of applause coming from the few – but loyal – Wand Skating fans, Glaisyer moved on to her exhibition. She began shooting a jet of water from her wand, which froze when it hit the frosty air. It was like watching a painter hard at work. Glaisyer’s wand whipped through the air, then flowed, then jabbed. The finished product was a beautiful ice sculpture of a Cornish pixie. Clearly, Glaisyer has done her research. Cornish pixies are a known favorite of Lockhart. From his seat at the judging table, he claps and cheers enthusiastically, causing his fellow judges to look his way with an air of dissaproval.
Jacqueline Glaisyer finishes off strong with another figure, this one in the form of a Veela, which traced the design of a whole Quidditch team in mid-play on the ice. The small figure with its flowing silver hair was having a mesmerizing effect on the onlookers. Glaisyer scooped up her two figures and after shooting off some purple firecrackers for her finale, took a bow and left the rink. The judges awarded their scores as follows: From Francine Dubois a 9 ½, from Sir Boris Markov, head of the Russian Wizard Wand Skating Organization, it’s a 9, and from Gilderoy Lockhart it’s a 10. Glaisyer looks pleased, as well she should. She is in good standing to take home that gold medal once again.
Next on the ice is France’s Eugene Monet. He takes his place in the center of the ice, dressed in sequins from head to toe. He starts off right away with a dazzling display, in which he conjures an entire circus of figures. There is an acrobat, a lion tamer and his lions, a tight rope walker, and a clown, all skating little circles around their ringmaster, who gives them orders and they set to work. When they are done twirling and piveting across the ice, there is a beautiful scene of a circus tent and a crowd entering the slightly open flap. The depiction is rather crude but effective. Monet is known for his impressionistic approach to Wand Skating. Some might say he is slightly ahead of his time, that perhaps, his work will be appreciated more in the future.
Monet now casts Multicorfors on his sequined attire so that it now flashes through an endless cycle of colors as he takes a victory lap around the rink, followed by a single file line of all the circus figures. The ever dwindling crowd claps, and the judges hold up their scores. That is an 8 from Miss Dubois, a 7 ½ from Sir Markov, and another 10 from Gilderoy Lockhart. Lockhart is certainly feeling generous today.
As the maintenance crew swarms the ice to prepare a clean canvas for the next contestant, we will take a small break from our coverage, but we will check back in later once the competition has resumed once more.
-Quilla Rag, Daily Prophet reporter