The Geneva Games or Olympiad (8th - 21st August 2016) was a multi-sport event designed as part of the ongoing World's Fair. It attacted an international participation and was widely heralded as a success.
As the plans for the Worlds Fair took shape in early 2015 it was thought that ticket sales would begin to falter by late summer so further attractions would be needed to boost attendance. Hence the Genevan Sports Committee were tasked with organising a sporting event. (In the eventuality ticket sales would remain very robust throughout the fair's opening). Rather than simply show off the Duchy's own modest sporting achievements the sports committee believed a general competition would be much more popular with a paying audience, as well as helping to promote peaceful competition between nations. Invitations were sent out to numerous sporting bodies advertising the games and inviting official entries. Although there were several participants from Leifia and Australia, and a handful from Africa, there were no attendees from Asia or Tawantinland, a fact which disappointed those who wished it to be a truly global event.
Most of the sports already held their own competitions attracting a wide field of participation and some leagues were initially skeptical but the Genevan organisers won most around with the argument that by holding all these events during the same two-week period the games would act as a showcase leading to wider audiences and greater competition. Motor-Racing federations rejected this argument however, one of their rare moments of solidarity, and no automobile races would take place under the Games' banner.
The games were opened officially in a ceremony on 8th August at the newly finished athletics track just outside the World's Fair grounds, culminating in a parade of competing athletes and a speech by Duchess Adelais. Winners of each event were awarded with a Gold Mark specially minted in commemoration of the games. In addition, the winner of the final event, the Marathon, was awarded with a laurel wreath. Anthems for the winning countries were played in most cases (hastily rehearshed by the Ducal Symphony Orchestra), though the Imperial Anthem or d'Arien'sOde to Europa, would be played for some of the smaller nations as the respective sheet music was not available. Fears that some nations would dominate the games proven unfounded; despite early signs the various Imperial nations did not compete as one, or collude with each other. Furthermore the UKN entered teams based on its member states rather than as a whole entity.
Tug-o-war, wrestling and gymnastics were held in the vast Great Hall, seating having been installed in a broad semi-circle at its northern end. Initially it was conceived that the cycling track events would be held on the roof of the Great Hall however this was abandoned for cost reasons and worries that the roof would not be able to hold the crowds expected. Both skating and ice hockey competitions were held at the Ice-House. Swimming events and the Water Polo were held in the Boating Pool. Rowing was held on Lake Geneva. The three sailing events, though planned to be held in the Lake, had to be abandoned due to calm conditions.
Whilst women were allowed to compete in the archery and tennis events in Geneva, many countries complained they were not allowed to compete in other sports where womens' leagues were well established, such as in swimming, diving, skating and various athletic disciplines. Taking advantage of the issue the nearby town of Nyon in the Swiss Confederation hastily organised a Womens' Games. Whilst the number of countries sending participants was not very wide (owing to the short-notice of its announcement and organisation) the actual events were well attended by visitors. The event however would be critised by many newpapers and journals, partially for trying to direct attention away from Geneva, which had been heralded as a great success, but also for 'lowering standards'. The Nyon games' success would prompt the organisers of the Geneva Olympiad to publicly apologise for not scheduling more womens' events.
Most publications, and indeed, sporting leagues, were generous in their praise for the way the games had been organised and run, complaining only that finding accommodation for the competitors was difficult in the already overstretched city. Praise too went to the chief organiser, Albert Wagner, who was lauded for his attention to detail and problem solving attitude. Crowds thrilled to the competitions and were generally bipartisan, clapping and cheering competitors wherever they hailed from. A repeat of the Games in Geneva, perhaps every four years like the original ancient Greek Olympiad seems a likely possibility.