There are many sides to NationStates. Some you know about. Some you don't want to. Seriously. Don't go there. But some are both obscure and awesome, so how are you supposed to discover them?
Guest posts! That's how! Here is our first one:
The NationStates Olympics
Guest post by Quintessence of Dust
Every year, roleplayers in the NationStates Sports forum hold two sets of Olympic Games: summer and winter. The program of sports is similar to that used at the real-life Olympics, but with a few differences: for example, women started competing in boxing at the NationStates Olympics several years ago, while this year's Winter Games featured a demonstration sport invented by a player.
Like most events in the Sports forum, Olympic results are generated using a program called a "scorinator". This combines a skill ranking for athletes assigned by the player, a bonus score earned by posting funny, interesting or inventive roleplays, and a random number element - this last feature is colloquially known as "Margaret", a mysterious goddess of fortuna believed to be swayed by sacrifices of rubber chickens.
One player hosts the Olympics, taking charge of generating the results and helping others roleplaying by providing information about the city and venues where the events take place; hosting is a very big responsibility, and the NationStates Olympic Council conducts a vote to determine who gets the duties each time. All players are free to participate by sending athletes and reporters.
Players competing in the Olympics can earn roleplaying bonuses for their characters and teams by posting reports of the previous day's action, interviews and profiles, or writing narrative storylines from one of their athlete's points of view. Inventive roleplayers have even gone so far as to create websites about the Olympics, record radio broadcasts, or draw cartoons.
The most recent Olympics were the Sixth Winter Olympics, hosted in the city of Ashton, Krytenia, in the Atlantian Oceania region. A total of 58 different NationStates took part in the Olympics, sending hundreds of athletes to compete in 15 different sports, plus the demonstration events of bandy (a Scandinavian game similar to ice hockey) and Winter Pentathlon (a multi-sport combination devised by Ad'ihan).
The Sixth Winter Olympics saw many dramatic moments, with new Olympic records set in several events, diplomatic crises, arrests, and even deaths of competitors; there were also some rather more light-hearted occurrences, such as teams skipping the competition to go on holiday to the beach, a bobsleigh team of women wearing fake beards so they could compete in a men's event, and numerous skiing Orthodox monks with very real beards. The world of NationStates has provided rather more variety of competitors than is the case in real life: athletes who won medals in Ashton included elves, dwarves, vulpines, and some surprisingly graceful figure skating bears.
Now there will be a break of several months for the Olympic Council before July or August, when they reconvene to vote on a host for the Sixth Summer Olympics, while in the Sports forum, other events take precedence. The oldest and largest sports competition in NationStates, the football World Cup, is heading into its 55th edition; there are stand alone events in many other popular sports, such as American football, baseball, basketball, cricket, ice hockey and both codes of rugby, as well as sports invented by NationStates players themselves.
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