Depiction in film
The Friendship Games are a competition held every four years between the Canterlot High School Wondercolts and the Crystal Prep Academy Shadowbolts. For the past few Games, the Shadowbolts have won every time.
CompetitorsEach team consists of twelve students, with the highest six scorers from the first event moving on to the second and third events.
Crystal Prep Academy's Shadowbolts for the current year consist of Jet Set, Upper Crust, Neon Lights, Suri Polomare, Trenderhoof, Royal Pin, Sour Sweet, Indigo Zap, Sugarcoat, Lemon Zest, Sunny Flare, and the human world's Twilight Sparkle. All twelve take part in the Academic Decathlon while only the latter six move on to the Tri-Cross Relay and Capture the Flag events after getting the best scores for their team.
In a previous year, Shining Armor was a member of the Shadowbolts.
Canterlot High School's Wondercolts for the current year consist of Lyra Heartstrings, Sweetie Drops, Flash Sentry, Derpy, Sandalwood, Micro Chips, Sunset Shimmer, Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie, Fluttershy, Rarity, and Applejack. All twelve take part in the Academic Decathlon while only the latter six move on to the Tri-Cross Relay and Capture the Flag events.
This event involves all participants showcasing their skills in different parts of the school curriculum. The event is a systematic elimination contest. Judges from the two competing institutions mark students from the two teams on their performance in the set tasks of the contest with the lowest-scoring students being eliminated in every stage.
The contest climaxes with a spelling bee. This penultimate round continues until only one contestant from each team remains in the competition. The two remaining contestants move on to the "elimination equation" round in which they must solve a complex calculus problem before the combined student body within a time limit.
In the Friendship Games shown in the eponymous movie, the Shadowbolts claim victory in chemistry, wood-shop, and mathematics while the Wondercolts win in home economics. The spelling bee results in the competition being reduced to Sunset Shimmer and Twilight Sparkle in the elimination equation round, which Twilight wins.
The Shadowbolts are overall winners of this round.
The Tri-Cross Relay
This event involves archery, speed skating, and motocross. Like all true relays, each set of contestants can only begin their section after the previous section is completed by their team members. This is a straight race with the first team to complete the three levels declared the winner.
- Archery: Applejack and Fluttershy (Wondercolts), Sour Sweet and Twilight Sparkle (Shadowbolts)
- Speed skating: Rarity and Pinkie Pie (Wondercolts), Lemon Zest and Sunny Flare (Shadowbolts)
- Motocross: Sunset Shimmer and Rainbow Dash (Wondercolts), Sugarcoat and Indigo Zap (Shadowbolts)
The first round of the relay is an athletic obstacle course ending with an archery competition. Contestants must score a bull's-eye on a moving target to complete this round. Unlike both subsequent rounds, the first two contestants from each team run the course simultaneously; the second contestants are only cleared to begin after the first completes the challenge.
The Wondercolts win this round after an early significant lead by Sour Sweet is squandered by Twilight Sparkle. The latter Shadowbolt is unable to complete the challenge until her competitor Applejack, frustrated by her utter inability to hit her target, tutors her on how to properly aim a longbow at a moving target.
The next round is a speed skating competition with two pairs of competitors aiming to be the first to complete eight circuits of an athletics track. The Wonderbolts win this section of the competition. Rarity and Pinkie Pie enjoy a massive early advantage, but Lemon Zest and Sunny Flare manage to catch up and overtake. It is only through a final, unorthodox move by Rarity that the Wondercolts triumph.
The final round is a motocross along a set of high-speed dirt tracks and high jumps. Once again, the two pairs of competitors start simultaneously upon their teammates completing the previous round.
The racing of this round is extremely disrupted when Twilight Sparkle's magic sensing and containment device is knocked open and generates several inter-universal portals into Equestria. This allows several large motile carnivorous plants to invade the track. In the resulting chaos, Sugarcoat and Twilight are both directly attacked by plants and Sunset and Indigo are both knocked off of their bikes.
The Wondercolts are declared overall winners after Sunset crosses the finish line narrowly ahead of Indigo Zap. However, Principal Cinch disputes the outcome of this round, claiming that Rainbow Dash's use of Pegasus flight magic and the plants' presence were both evidence of an organized strategy of cheating on the part of Canterlot High School.
Capture the flag
Vice Principal Luna explains that this final round involves a school pennant being hidden somewhere on the campus of Canterlot High School, one from CHS and one from CPA. The two teams have to locate their flag and return it to the judges to be declared the winner.
Before this round is started, Principal Cinch and the Shadowbolts pressure Twilight Sparkle into releasing all of the magic she collected in her amulet. This leads to a chaotic incident where a magically-transformed Twilight attempts to blast her way into Equestria before Sunset Shimmer, with the aid of her friends, is able to subdue her.
While Principal Cinch demands that CHS forfeit the competition, her demands are rejected by her fellow judges when two of the Shadowbolts denounce her behavior towards Twilight Sparkle and it becomes clear that no one is willing to back up her claim of magically-assisted cheating. As the Games are currently at one victory each and the final round now cannot be played, Principal Celestia declares a tie.
The next day, all of the students are seen with gold medals around their necks, declaring the victory for both teams official.
Rainbow Dash mentions that in previous years, Canterlot High School lost against Crystal Prep in soccer, tennis, and golf.