• Member Since 4th Mar, 2012
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There has never been an athlete like Rainbow Dash. The sprints. The marathons. The land speed record. She held them all.

Until she didn't.

Until she had only one left... and met the pony that might take it from her...

(This is an idea I've had for a while. I hope you like it. Yay, completed stories.)

Spanish: https://www.deviantart.com/spaniard-kiwi/art/Broken-record-Spanish-translation-846035457 Thanks Spaniard for the translation.

Chapters (1)
Comments ( 53 )

Mighty Good!

Rainbow Dash should feel honored that there are those who work hard to beat others and her record. If it was me I would have support those to try and break my records and maybe teach them a thing or two.

umm.. Second!

yup, which is what she learns. The record isn't about her. It's a goal. A record that never gets broken, honestly, is a bad thing. Also, if it hadn't been for Applejack, she very likely might have made Windrider's mistake.

Probably. Someone would. Eventually. Because that was what records were for. They weren’t to glorify the holder. They were challenges to push again. To go ever higher, ever stronger, ever faster. They didn’t ‘matter’ in the big scheme of things, but you had to have them. It gave you something to strive for.

And when you lost it, you found something else. Otherwise, it wasn’t your record that broke. You did. Just like Windrider.

Sums up the whole damn story in a nutshell. Records are there for you to strive for, for you to set the next generation towards. That's what they are, what they're meant for. To succeed you. Masterful little story, Rainbow having to cope with the fact with her glory days are long over and figuring out what is legal and what isn't in the realms of speed.

Time for a feels trip...

Don't see what Dash would be broken up about regarding records. She was one of the Elements of Harmony, she helped save the entire world from a Corrupted Moon Goddess, the literal incarnation of Chaos, A lord of Darkness and Shadows, an all-powerful magic devouring juggernaut, A queen with an entire army at her command, a twisted and demented filly who nearly conquered everyone, an insanely powerful cultist unicorn, the literal representation of Darkness in their world and a united front of the most powerful and evil creatures in their world's history.

Dash's records may eventually be broken, but her memory and what she helped accomplish, that's never gonna fade away, no matter how much time passes.

She's a competition freak, this is what she's wanted to do her whole life.

This was fantastic, Rainbow (and all of us) need to eventually know when our time is up and to coach the next generation. Such is the responsibility of everyone successful. Great story! :rainbowdetermined2:

And how much of that did she do on her own? Her records, her racing, is the one thing she has that shows her own merit. Like Sweet Apple Acres for Applejack or Rarity's Boutiques, these are things she earned on her own. No rainbow lasers, no magic necklaces, no one helping her. She did it on her own. Which is why losing them is so hard for her.
Ages ago, I once wrote 'what's eating Rainbow Dash?' She basically breaks down from her friends deliberately undermining the praise and validation she saw in others. Take that away and she doesn't have much. And it was the things she had, things like her relationship with Applejack and others, that allowed her to let go of something that was never truly hers.
Yes, she will always be remembered as an element, but that wasn't what she prioritized her life towards, it was a thing she fell into.

Thanks for reading though.

Thanks for another great story, Somber. Enjoyed that a ton. You've got a bit of editing needed in there but I'm too sleepy just now.

Short synopsis: “Rainbow learns why he did it...”

It references Wind Rider and why he cheated to keep his record.

It also references Cambion, who might have cheated, might have been cheated by an ambitious coach, but either way made the wrong choice after the tests came back positive. The haunting choice that left a pallor over the entire story. And in the back of her mind, she knew that Cannon might just make the same wrong choice, if her heart were as broken by Rainbow’s judgment as her wings were by her record flight.

Subtle, powerful.

"strange you wanted Wind Runner’s record restored"
"strange you wanted Wind Rider’s record restored"?

A good bit of drama, I think. :)

(Though I do also wonder: how close is someone to beating Rainbow's collection of records held by a single person?)

I feel you Rainbow. If I ever excel at anything there are always those that give me the impression they want to beat me just to tear me down. Though if you set the bar high enough one can no longer beat it without killing themselves. There is a peak to human/pony ability and once someone sits on it no one can pass it without consequences. Evolution isn't a ladder upwards; its the shifting of strengths and weaknesses that allow the evolver to push past old limits at the cost of new ones. Nothing can truly be gained without giving something up. This shows us a hint of it. No one could beat Rainbow using her own methods; they used gimmicks. All her records would stay up there longer otherwise. It's not every generation that produces a pegasus that can do a sonic rainboom so I find it odd that so many records are taken down while she is still alive.

Isn't she literally the best a pegasus can do? Sure it is all round flight, endurance and agility (to name a few) but it seems odd that she is taken down so quickly.

I'm a big fan of this one. The specific stuff about flying techniques during those scenes was excellent, and as someone who's written a "Rainbow gets old" story myself, your execution on the idea was top notch.

Great job!

It’d be a long time before she made it to bed.

If she could face the end of Equestria, multiple times, she could handle this.”

Not sure if this should still be in Dash's internal monologue, or if ‘she could’ should be ‘I can’

After a few short speeches from the new Wonderbolt Captain, Vapor Trail, and the other captains, and then it was time to mingle.

‘and then’ might be unneccesary

The mention of Quibble helping Cannon’s flight plan made me smile for some reason. I enjoyed seeing him in the story.

But Rainbow ignored them, her eyes

Better to keep legendary Rainbow Dash’s score. Get more kids chasing it. Sell more gear. More training crap. More supplements and spells and princesses know what. They could just say they were being ‘conservative’ and ‘playing it safe’.” She gave a little shrug.

The consumerist bottom-line motivations are ever so depressing a thing to witness.

If it hadn’t been for Applejack, she just might have made that wrong choice.

I like how their relationship works in the story, and your comment on Applejack being the difference between Rainbow and Windrider gives the two fliers’ tales a neat aspect, especially seeing how Dash is able to empathise and still respect the guy.

Thanks for the corrections. This wasn't just about Rainbow. You read about some of the things athletes are expected to put up with and it's a little sickening. I just focused on racing, but a peek into the NFL is pretty horrifying.

I half remember an episode of Happy Days

One of the guys (Ralph?) is going to break ICR what HS record & the record holder tells him not to do it.
"But, records are made to be broken!"
"No, that's heads. Heads are made to be broken" :pinkiegasp:

Also, the only records that Babe Ruth still holds were set as a pitcher

Haven't read the story yet, but in a similar story Dash says that the only real record that she has left is Youngest Rainboom

I liked the ambiguity in this.

Did Cannon cheat?

We don't know.

Did Cannon not know about Wind Rider because Rainbow Dash held the record, and the rest didn't matter, or because he had been stripped of it and Rainbow Dash didn't realize that?

We don't know.

Good stuff.

Seeing Dash that old still feels weird to me

I would pose one thing: Rainbow wasn't sure. Not any more than any of the others making the call.

Wind Rider? He knew. He tried to destroy her as a result. It would have been like Rainbow surreptitiously casting a spell on Cannon during the race (a possibility that I'd be terrified of in this scenario).

Rainbow had so much more of an excuse... and that made her decision all the braver in the end.

it could be anything from ‘her grandma is a unicorn’ to ‘the entire racing federation’s corrupt



Oh, sure. Wind Rider was more blatant and less smart about it. He had no idea when she'd attempt to break his record, but it was pretty clear she'd be breaking every record. His options were limited. He had to get rainbow banned, and that meant kicking her out. Note that Lightning Dust didn't try to compete in racing after washing out. Stunt flying is cool, but it's not exactly respected. Rainbow could have preserved her record simply by casting doubt on Cannon. She didn't need to say 'she cheated'. She could just say 'I'm not sure she didn't cheat'. It would be easy for her to disqualify her, not breaking any rules at all.

Not likely, but possible. Records tend to hold until another exceptional athlete comes along like Phelps or Bales.

Thanks. I was going for a leap of faith. If Dash had known for sure that she'd cheated, then it would have been simple. Rainbow is a goodguy or badguy? Honestly, if she'd shot her down, she probably would have been out of racing utterly, and left more alone and isolated, because Scootaloo would suspect she'd said no to preserve her record.

I'm more inclined to chalk it up to Wind Rider having literally been expurgated from the books myself. It also plays to the underlying message that, no, a record being broken doesn't erase you from history.

I mean... ferchrissakes, I still remember the name Roger Bannister.

“Also strange you wanted Wind Runner’s record restored.


Well... Rainbow still has the fact that she held ALL of those record by herself. She is a well rounded athlete. Everyone who beat one of her record managed just a SINGLE one.

Damn, you did a phenomenal job on this one (I got to read more of your stuff, you've got such a wonderful style and characterizations).
Rainbow was perfect here, flawed but ultimately did the right thing for herself and others. I kinda loved that it was ambiguous whether Cannon cheated, because it made Rainbow's choice all the more powerful and meaningful. Cannon was also a great character, btw, and reading the descriptions of her racing, all of the technical moves, really made it come to life.
This... man this was a good story. It felt like I was reading a book, I got lost in it and just had to know what was going to happen.
(also poor Cambion, that was painfully dark in a story that's, perhaps otherwise, extremely fitting for canon).

Fave part:

You might have noticed that I'm a little bit bitchy in my old age,” she snickered.
“It ain’t the age, Spits,” somepony shouted.

Spitfire is one of my favorite characters and she's so on-point here. Fucking. Love it.

It depends on the record. Some records honestly should never be broken.

We don't need one team winning every NBA title for a decade anymore. Or a CFB team winning 58+ games in a row.

Or the Mount Everest of insurmountable records...the most lopsided CFB score of all-time.

Georgia Tech beating Cumberland 222 to 0. (No, that's not a typo).

The full wiki page on the game and the background behind how that happened.

This was extremely engrossing! Tangling up all those technical details with Rainbow's feelings and her back and forth on everything, with the guilt, and the guilt about the guilt, really sold it.

The thing I wonder is if Rainbow would have agonized so much because she knew Cannon before the match thanks to Scootaloo pushing her to talk.

It almost could make it feel like a bit of judge bias pushing that made her have more to hesitate over. After-all as she says she doesn't know anyone but Cannon, and then goes on to tutor her afterwords. No reason to care for the other fliers stories or that they may be right about things.

This was so good, had me hooked the whole time!

Play Daredevil from Ace Combat 7 during Cannon's run. Absolutely glorious.


The NFL isn't even the scariest one. I was a cycling fan. I read some of the books that exposed the level of cheating and nearly vomited.

I suspect Dash is being typically "all or nothing" in her judgement of who gets remembered. It's been over a century since Jim Thorpe's day- but many sports buffs (me included) will still argue that he's the greatest all-around athlete that the USA has ever produced, even taking into account the vast increase in competition caliber since then. Best football player in the country. Major league baseball player. Considered at least at skilled amateur level at everything from wrestling to ballroom dancing. And the Olympic gold medalist in both pentathlon and decathlon, in the latter recording scores that would have been good for an Olympic silver medal 36 years later in an era with greatly improved track and equipment conditions (e.g. no more dirt tracks).

Rainbow Dash, by dint of holding _every_ record, would likely receive similar consideration long after her records were broken.

Yup. And that's something Cannon points out. There are books studying how to be Rainbow Dash, not to beat her, but because they're inspired by her. And that's what Dash realizes at the end. It's not about breaking the record for the sake of 'one upping' the person that set it. It was Dash's own insecurity and pride that soured her, when there was no need.

When Comet Blaze beat her 1km sprint, he didn’t smile. The orange pegasi stallion had wordlessly handed over three different samples, as if daring her to suggest that he’d done something to cheat. And she’d had all three tested, and even a fourth. No argument. He’d beaten her. It was his grim, determined face selling cereal and figurines. ‘The Stallion Who Beat Rainbow Dash.’ Even when she tried to honestly congratulate him, other athletes made ‘memes’ of her being drug along, holding his tail.

This is pretty stupid, the pony before him did in fact cheat. I understand that him killing himself was (and still is) tragic, but Dash herself did not influence his decision, she shouldn't have been treated like she did. Nor should they have assumed that she was like they said she was, because at the end of the day, it was plainly obvious that there was foul play, intentional or not.

So here's the thing. Cambion didn't mean to cheat. If you look at many of the things that trainers do today to try to get an edge... it's really messed up. Cambion was likely told 'Oh, this is the latest thing.' and trusted his coach. Had Fluttershy been there, she might have phrased it "I'm sorry Cambion, but your trainer used something she really shouldn't have." And he'd been fine, though probably disappointed in his trainer. But being accused of being a cheater, of being dishonest, was more than he could bear. Especially when he couldn't duplicate the win. That was what broke him. Not just the accusations of cheating, but that they came from Rainbow Dash.

When Comet Blaze won, he left NOTHING to chance. He made certain that there'd be nothing to call his win into question.

I get that, I’m not saying him doing so was bad, I’m saying everyone’s reaction to Rainbow calling for a blood test was bad. While he may not have been aware, the fact of the matter is that Rainbow was in fact right in thinking that something wasn’t right. I get that she handled it poorly (this is RD we’re talking about, that’s par for the course), but she did find out that he (unknowingly, but did) had help in that race. It’s one thing to accuse someone and find out that you were wrong, it’s another thing to accuse someone and have actual evidence that it wasn’t a fair race.

Heya! I done did a reading of the story - I hope you like it!

Very strong What's Eating Rainbow Dash? vibes here. I love the way you examine her character in both these stories, and really dig into the heart of her insecurities. It's a rather understated flaw of Rainbow's that the show never really explored much or did anything with. Which is a shame, because it's one of the more compelling aspects of her character to me. I wish that the later seasons had done something closer in spirit to this rather than just dredge up her rivalry with Applejack again for a Fall Weather Friends rehash after seven seasons of them getting along fine. I also love how believably you've aged and matured her, both prior to the story and within its runtime. She feels as authentically like an old Rainbow Dash as I believe it's possible to capture. The parallels to Wind Rider were very interesting as well.

Could use another editing sweep, though. I'm sorry I didn't take the time to note the exact mistakes, but the most common seemed to be missing capitalisations. I can at least point to Wind Rider's name as a specific example, which is also inconsistently rendered throughout, sometimes as one word, other times as two.

I reviewed this story as part of Read It Later Reviews #87!

My review can be found here.

“You wouldn’t dare,” Rainbow growled back. Two very wet minutes later, Rainbow took to the skies, sputtering. “Okay! Okay! I’ll go!”

"very wet" :rainbowderp: :rainbowlaugh:

tbh getting vibes from this fic similar to what I got from the movie 'Cars 3'

Great Story and all the characters are very well written.

This one goes straight into the favourites folder. I felt it was really well written and I loved the way the ambiguity of the test results provided a platform for a morality test.


Ages ago, I once wrote 'what's eating Rainbow Dash?' She basically breaks down from her friends deliberately undermining the praise and validation she saw in others.

That was one of the first stories I read on Equestria Daily after joining the fandom. :pinkiegasp: Please don’t take this personal, but I really hated the story and that’s the main reason why I still remember it even today.

Then I several years later I hear about this Somber guy who wrote a really popular Fallout: Equestria fanfic, began reading Speak, almost immediately fell in love with Blackjack’s character, decided to give Homelands a try and now I’m a huge fan of Homelands.

So you wrote one of my favorite and one of my least favorite stories and I didn’t realize it until now. :twilightsheepish:


Because she was Rainbow Dash. World record holder for air relay, tight slalom, loose slalom, 1km sprint, overland marathon record, oversea marathon record, and the land speed record. For six years, in all the record books, her name appeared over and over again.

That’s probably a record on its own. In this story a lot of creatures break one of her records, but none of them accumulates as many as she did. Everyyony even remotely interested in racing will remember her for centuries. Creatures will talk about how there will never be someone like Rainbow Dash. And even if somecreature manages to break more records, ponies will still consider Dash as one of the most amazing athletes who ever lived. They’re going to name schools after her and makes movies about her. She’s the Da Vinci of racing.

Of course, it’s very in-character for Dash to not realize this and her being more worried about losing another record right now.

The oversea marathon record fell to a hippogriff, Sea Gale.

Can every creature compete in every race? That sounds a tad bit unfair. Different species have different builds and strength. What if there’s a species that is naturally stronger than your average pegasi? Wouldn’t that be an unfair advantage? Could an Alicorn compete? A Breezie? A dragon?

Why were there all these colts and mares with these long wings and stiffer pinions? And they were using magic to train too. Magic! It wasn’t like they were using magic to cheat... just to train. Still, she’d never used magic to create more drag to fight against.

This part really manages to show how competitive sports have changed over the decades. Early athletes (which Rainbow Dash is a stand-in for) just trained. If you’re a runner you run, if you’re a weightlifter you lift weights and so on.

Modern athlete, on the other hand, have a very strict training program. They follow a diet plan, use technology and new training methods like altitude training, need to have a certain body type and use state-of-the-art equipment that is made in a way to improve their performance. All so that they can gain a little edge in the competition. It’s not a bad thing, but it’s understandable that an old-fashioned athlete like Dash would’ve troubles accepting these new methods.

Shattered. Cambion had exceeded her time by over three minutes, and was barely sweaty at the award ceremony, laughing about how easy it’d been.

I like to think that Dash is an unreliable narrator in this story. So in this case Cambion was overcome with joy and happy about his success. Dash was already in a bad mood, so she interpreted his behavior in the worst possible way: He wasn’t happy, he was directly mocking her with the statement.

“Is Rainbow Dash sabotaging the competition?!” Rainbow gasped as she read the headline aloud in the kitchen. “'Rainbow Dash called in Princess of Friendship to ensure her record!' He was the one cheating, not me!”

There was really no-one in the press, who took her side? Yes, she did it for a selfish reason, but she caught a potential cheater. Shouldn’t there be at least a few journalists or athletes who think Cambion cheated and Dash did the right thing?

Cambion hung himself a week later.

That escalated quickly!

I feel bad for the poor guy, but you can’t allow a pony who cheated to keep the record. He may have not known that he was cheating, but it’s still cheating. If you let him keep the record you basically encourage others to cheat as well. That’s a slap in the face of all the other athletes in this story who achieved their records without breaking the rules.

One clever pair of twins had used a unicorn to teleport one, then the other, down the flight path.

Now that’s brilliant!

“Windrider? Stallion that had the record before me?”

“I’ve never heard of him,” Cannon said, and Rainbow felt ice grip her heart.

Ouch, that hurts.

You got the record till someone bred or enchanted or trained someone to get a smaller number. A better number. Everyone else was trash.

That’s a bad way to look at it. Records exist to be broken. You should be proud about accomplishing it and not clinch to it.

“I would. I will! But I wanted to ask you first,” Cannon said as she chewed her lip. “You’ve always been an inspiration to me. Please?”

I like that Cannon is such a nice person, but a part of me wishes that she was actually a jerk who looks down on Dash. It’s easy to sympathize with her and believe her about not cheating. If she had been a jerk, however, Dash doing the right thing at the end would’ve had a lot more impact.

Of course, we can only test what we know about. There’s some zebra cocktails so crazy they’ll make a unicorn’s eyes cross,

And that’s the real reason why Equestria declared war on the Zebras: Doping control.

“Eh. Records get broken. Even yours. Even mine. I held the one K sprint record for six months before somepony decided she’d break it,” she said, narrowing her eyes at Rainbow.

List to her, Dash. She has a pretty good point!

“Tore up her wings. That’s what these kids do, trying to beat us,” Spitfire said. “They only get one real shot at the land speed record. That was her shot.”

So you have to cripple yourself to have a chance to break the record? That’s horrible. :rainbowhuh: Why do they even allow this? Yes I know that athletes can have problem in later life, but if that race is guaranteed to permanently damage your wings, it should be forbidden.

“Look you tested and retested the samples. Yes or no, did she cheat?”

“Yes,” said four as the others shouted “No.” Rainbow groaned, rubbing her face hard.

I don’t envy them. If you make the wrong decision you either let a cheater got away with his cheating or you shatter the dreams of a promising young athlete who gave it all.

If Dash says she cheated or that they don’t know for sure, the press will call her out. If she says that Cannon didn’t cheat and later somepony reveals that there was some arcanic residue in her sample, the very same press will call out Dash was playing favourites and ignored the evidence. You can’t just win this one.

“I know,” she muttered, tears on her cheeks. “It’s just... it’s my last one. Once it’s gone I’ll only be second best. And second best is no body. No one remembers the last person to have the record. It’s the best or nothing.”

Wow, it’s really brave to admit that. Good thing she had someone so could call. I wonder if Wind Rider, would’ve done something different If he could’ve gotten a friends advices.

She flipped through the whole chapter. Where was Wind Rider?

Okay, he framed Dash and almost kicked her out of the Bolts. But his record was legit, so why erase it?

And when you lost it, you found something else. Otherwise, it wasn’t your record that broke. You did. Just like Windrider.

A great message.


Great one-shot. Dash’s character is spot on. Flawed but not outright unlikeable. And it had a good moral, too.

I'm really glad you like the story. The title is also a reminder that a broken record also repeats and that Dash is at risk of losing herself because of that flaw. Also, I wrote what's eating rainbow dash after the Mare Do Well episode and I really didn't like it. It was one of Merryweather William's episodes and they're poorly received (Ironically, not BAD ideas if done differently, but the way they were implimented... spike at your service... uuuugh....

Also, I am really glad you caught the points I'm going after. I did a little research on cycling and the Lance Armstrong reveals and I just hate that this is where sports has gotten. It's so money loaded that trainers push athletes to dangerous levels. In MLP, I can totally see that happening.

As for multiple species competing, sure. I'd like to believe that Pegasi are pretty top of the list for being magic and all, but if a Griffon can pull it off, why not? Some, like Breezies, aren't going to pull it off (likely. Ya never know with those little guys). As for a dragon, sure. I think that post season 9, more interracial competition would be common. Yak vrs Earth Pony weight lifting, for instance.

I share your dislike for MMDW . Do you remember a time when everyone thought it would be the worst episode ever? Aaah sweet, innocent times. 😅 But to be fair, William also wrote the Heart’s Warming Eve episode. Which was a great episode for people like me, who love learning more about the lore of a setting.

As for a dragon, sure. I think that post season 9, more interracial competition would be common. Yak vrs Earth Pony weight lifting, for instance.

If everycreature can participant in the same weight class it probably will not be Yaks vs Earth Ponies but really large Dragons vs. Changelings who can turn into really large dragons. You can be the strongest Earth Pony/Yak in the world, but you’re not going to accomplish much if most of your opponents are full-grown dragons.

But on the bright side: Nocreature will be able to beat an Earth Pony in a gardening competition. :pinkiehappy:

“That’s racist, and you should be ashamed!”

Alright, alright I see myself out!

I was so sure Unicorn lineage was going to be the thing everyone realized what made Cabrion such a great flier. And that Rainbow would put his name down to preserve his memory, and that would be the last record of hers broken. But I guess he really did cheat by using an enchantment?

That .08 reminds me of the time people realized too late the poppy seeds on bagels would turn up as a positive drug test.

This honestly a great story, one I wish I’d seen earlier. If I had to sum up the ethos of this story in a phrase, it’d be ‘wistful aging’. This is a good portrayal of the mixed emotions one gets as they grow old, through the lens of the world of competitive athletics. The stew of negative feelings (displacement, frustration, and confusion) blends with the positive emotions (pride, interest, hope, love) to concoct a fairly immersive perspective.

I think its message is generally aided by the sheer detail and inventiveness of it’s elements. It feels realistic enough that it could be a story about olympic swimmers or FIFA. Analogous methods of doping, the questions of possible corruption in the federation (though that’s less of a question for FIFA), as well as the complexity of respect professional athletes have for each other, it all works well together.

I genuinely am not sure whether the primary function is to portray Rainbowdash and the growing world of athletics, with the themes of senescence in the backseat, or if it’s reversed and the author just used them as window dressing to tell a story of someone once on the cutting edge now mellowing out.

Regardless of the order of construction, it’s a short and sweet journey that knows the right balance of darkness and detail without going overboard. I wish I had this in a short print format.

TL;DR; made me feel things 👍

It was actually 'what if Rainbow Dash was in Wind Rider's horse shoes'. Yeah, Wind Rider had done bad things trying to discredit Rainbow Dash. He didn't have an Applejack telling him just to let it go. The bit there was a cautionary tale. RB could have disqualified Cannon, but it just would have tarnished the very thing she thought mattered most.

The bit about juicing and cheating WAS commentary on modern high stakes sporting and athletes pushing limits on training, though.

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