Global Cup: USA triumph for 8th time in eight years

USA Ladies win the 2015 Football World Cup

Figurative dust has barely settled over the year’s last major sporting event, and GSN’s algorhythms have already produced the final standings in the 2015 Global Cup, the ranking of the world’s best sporting nations.

For the eighth time in eight successive GSN years, the top nation in sports are the USA, while Jamaica earn the title of world’s sportiest country by topping the Per Capita ranking, based on GSN points relative to population.
The mighty Stars & Stripes won the title with a comfortable margin over Russia (9.2% of points vs 5.7%), in fact this was one of their most emphatic victories in recent years – the record being a 4.83 percentage points margin in 2012.
As GSN regulars know, the key to the USA’s sporting success is excellence in a huge range of sports. Out of 66 sports in which points were scored in 2015 (by a record total of 134 countries), the USA scored points in a staggering 51 sports (four more than in 2014, their record being 54 sports in 2013).
The US won outright a record 11 sports (4 more than in 2014), and finished in the top 3 in 23 sports! In terms of points earned, their best sports were, not surprisingly, some of the major ones such as Athletics, Football and Swimming.
The only tiny blemish in an otherwise phenomenal year is that, while the USA won both the Men’s and Women’s Global Cup rankings, they finished only 7th overall in Mixed Gender sports.
Russia were a worthy, though distant, second: they scored points in 45 sports, won outright 7 sports, and finished in the top 3 in 17 sports. Their best sports points-wise were Volleyball, Ice Hockey and Athletics.
China had a strong year, and edged into 3rd place again for the first time since 2011. They scored points in 37 sports, won outright 7 sports (one more than last year), and finished in the top 3 in 12 sports. Their best sports were Swimming, Athletics and Table Tennis.
One of the main differences between China and the two giants who preceded them is that they are (still) relatively weaker in Ball Team Sports, the group comprising some of the most generous sports points-wise: they finished only 7th in this specific sport group, ranking in or close to the top 4 in both Women’s Volleyball and Football. A place in the top three in both may well have taken China to second place overall in the Global Cup… something which isn’t an unlikely proposition next year if they can improve in this respect.
Interestingly, China ranked second in the Women’s Global Cup, their highest finish ever, and won the in Mixed Gender ranking.
Another greatly improved country is 4th-placed France: the only other nation besides the 3 leaders to top the 3,000 points mark (a feat previously achieved only by Germany, Great Britain, China and… France themselves), they scored points in 44 sports, only one less than Russia and 7 more than China!
France won outright 3 sports (Mountain Bike, Handball and Ski Mountaineering), finished in the top 3 in 15 sports and their best sports points-wise were Volleyball, Handball and Swimming. And they came second in the Men’s Global Cup,  giving winners the USA a good run for their money.
Behind France, Great Britain produced a strong finish to beat Germany to 5th place, while both Australia  (7th, with wins in a record 4 sports) and Japan (8th) equalled their best-ever finish.
While the USA and Russia are still easily the world’s two top sporting nations, 2015 has shown that other countries can battle successfully for higher places within the top 10, making 2016 a fascinating sporting year indeed.