It’s been a fascinating ride managing the first-ever Tournament of Wonders these past four weeks, but like all great journeys, eventually you reach the end. The Tournament wraps up this Sunday starting at noon EST, when Australia’s Great Barrier Reef faces off against Ecuador’s Galápagos Islands in the championship match. Once the matchup is live, book on over and make your vote count.
When we sat down and decided to pit 32 of the world’s greatest things against one another, we figured people would be interested. We had no idea you’d be this interested, though. Thousands of visitors from all over the world came back to vote day after day, and loads of you kept up the chatter on Facebook and Twitter. To everyone who voted and argued passionately for their favourite Wonders, thank you. You helped make the Tournament a success and a genuine joy to run.
The final is set, but how did we get here? Let’s recap the journey of the tourney by diving into the stats.
Top overall vote-getters through group play
- Great Barrier Reef (AUS)
- Dja Faunal Reserve (CMR)
- Galápagos Islands (ECU)
- Old City of Dubrovnik (CRO)
- Cordillera del Paine (CHI)
No surprises here, really. Both the Great Barrier Reef and the Galápagos crushed all comers throughout the group stage and the knockout rounds, ensuring a dream final that could go either way. Cordillera del Paine toppling Dja Faunal Reserve in the Significant 16 was the closest we came to an upset.
Bottom overall vote-getters through group play
- Fado (POR)
- Seokguram Grotto (KOR)
- West African Vodun (NGA)
- Tequila (MEX)
- Matsumoto Tenshu (JPN)
Tequila’s disastrous showing in the Tournament was probably the biggest surprise. Most of us here at Tournament Central figured the Blue Agaves would romp through the group stage and go deep into the knockout round, but Mexico failed to win a single matchup and was on the wrong end of several lopsided scores. As for Fado, well… sad songs say so much, namely: “Nobody wants to vote for me.”
Argentine tango (ARG) vs Stari Most (BIH), June 15
This one literally came down to the wire, with Argentine tango getting the edge by a handful of votes when voting closed. Bosnia & Herzegovina were underdogs throughout the tournament, but most of their matchups were very close.
Galápagos Islands (ECU) vs Eiffel Tower (FRA), June 25
This one wasn’t pretty to watch. The Eiffel Tower had performed pretty well throughout the Tournament, but in the end, sand and seals proved stronger than iron.
Some Wonders performed well beyond expectations, namely the Dja Faunal Reserve (CMR), Taï National Park (CTI), and Persepolis (IRA), all of which went undefeated through the group stage. Persepolis’ Cinderella run ended in the Fantastic 4 against (who else) the Galápagos Islands, but boy, what a run it was.
When I selected Running of the Bulls as Spain’s Tournament representative, I figured it would do well. It’s an iconic, internationally recognized event that’s considered virtually a rite of passage for adventure travellers. I was so, so wrong. Much like Tequila, the Bulls got gored in every single matchup. Better luck next time, I guess.
So, that’s just about it for us here at the Tournament. Thanks again for taking part and spreading the word. We hope you had as great a time participating with it as we did putting it together. Why did some Wonders succeed and others failed? Tell us what you think in the comments below and keep the conversation going.
But it’s not over yet! Don’t forget to vote beginning at noon EDT on July 13. The title of Greatest Thing in the Entire World is on the line, and you’ve got a say.