Global Cup December 2011: it's the USA again!

Brian Lochte of the USA
FOR THE THIRD CONSECUTIVE YEAR THE USA have won the GSN Global Cup, topping the international ranking in our unique year-long competition that tracks all countries’ performance in over 80 sports and 1001 events.
Athletics and Swimming were the top scoring sports for the Americans, who won very comfortably both the FINA Aquatics (and Swimming) World Championships and the IAAF Athletics World Championships.
To this prestigious double, Team United States added the Ladies silver medal in the Women Football World Cup, and followed up with Global Cup victories in Golf, Archery, Ten Pin Bowling and Shooting. These latter were also new sports in the US top ten vs last year, whilst Basketball, Ice Hockey, Short Track, Lacrosse and Marathon were out of the top ten.
Another way of saying that no matter the sport or the year, there’s always plenty of winners in Stars & Stripes.
For example, they broke their own record by scoring points in 50 different sports in 2011!
It’s worth noting that 2010 was the only one of the last three years without the Aquatics Worlds and the Athletics Worlds. Otherwise, both in 2011 and 2009, Athletics and Swimming were top sports for the USA (as 2008 too, Olympic Year).
If there was little change in the Global Cup top 3 countries, with China climbing up behind second place Russia, and Germany slipping from 3rd to 6th place, there are some interesting novelties in the other top ten places.
But Russia and China first. Despite a gap of nearly 2000 points from the USA, Russia had an exceptional year: they won outright in 9 sports, beating China with 7 and the USA with “only” 6 wins. The winning sports for Russia were Bandy, Canoe-Kayak Sprint, Climbing, Figure Skating, Open Water Swimming, Rhythmic Gymnastics, Synchronised Swimming, and Wrestling (both Graeco-Roman and Free). Like the US, there is great strength in depth for Russia, confirmed by the fact that they were narrowly behind the US (47 to 50) in the number of sports in which they scored points.
China too was hugely successful (wins in 7 sports, notably in Basketball) but they lack the depth of the first two countries: they scored points in 38 sports, 12 less than the US and the same number as Great Britain and one more than Italy, who are much lower in the ranking.
France jumped six positions into 4th place, thanks to a record performance in Men (3rd overall) and to success in a remarkable variety of sports: surprise runners up in Judo (France hosted the 2011 World Championships),  they did very well in Athletics, Swimming and Football. The other top ten sports for the French were in ranking order Alpine Skiing, Handball, Rugby Union, Basketball, Track Cycling and Freestyle Skiing. It takes all sorts!
We mentioned Germany, who slipped in 6th place (3rd in 2010), with notable lack of success in the Women Football World Cup they hosted, where they finished in 6th.
The other big movers were Japan, up nine places into 8th in the overall Global Cup and Kenya, 9th overall with a sensational leap of 13 places vs last year!
The Japanese capitalised on the Artistic Gymnastics World Championships they hosted (3rd place behind China and the US), on victory in the Women Football World Cup and a very respectable performance in Swimming.
Kenya is the land of medium and long distance runners….and nothing else. But they do run fast! Between the Marathon and the Athletics Global Cup, Kenia picked up 99% of their GSN points (1% from Swimming), with a string of 18 gold medals (men and women combined)!!
The final mention among the top ten goes to Great Britain: 5th overall and up one place from 2010, with a remarkable 4th place in the Men overall Global Cup.
December has been a great month for Britain: thanks to victory in the Men Golf European Tour and in the World Sailing Championships, Great Britain won the month of December and clinched 5th overall in the Global Cup.
Nearly 67% of Great Britain’s points come from solid performances in established sports such as Athletics, Rugby Union, Rowing, Swimming, Amateur Boxing, Golf, Football, plus the outright victories in the Road Cycling Global Cup and the Sailing World Championships, and third place at the Track Cycling World Championships. No frills, though diversity could be improved: GBR scored points in 38 sports, more than Japan, Kenya or Australia but still some way behind France and Germany (they both scored points in 48 sports), while 10th placed Italy too scored in 38 sports.