How It Works

How It Works
Greatest Sporting Nation (‘GSN’) is a website for the world community of sports lovers. It provides a statistical analysis of which country in the world is the best at sports.
Countries compete in two competitions : the Global Cup and the Per Capita Cup. The Global and Per Capita Cups take place each calendar year and are based on performances within that year. 

Commentary : Countless man hours have gone into establishing the rules governing the Global Cup and the Per Capita to ensure that they really do give an accurate picture of which countries are the best at sport. 

However, we have no doubt that our methodology– please see below - could be improved with your help so please email us at with your suggestions.
1. Overview
Countries score Qualifying Points by finishing in the top eight places in Qualifying Events. Qualifying Points can be scored by national teams and by individuals representing their Countries.

These Qualifying Points are then weighted to produce Points – please see section 8. below - and the Country scoring the most Points in a calendar year wins the Global Cup for that year.

The country that scores the most points relative to its population wins the Per Capita Cup. 
2. Points
.1 Qualifying Points are scored as follows :
1st Place – 10 Pts 
2nd Place – 8 Pts 
3rd place – 6 Pts 
4th Place – 5 pts 
5th Place – 4 Pts 
6th Place – 3 pts 
7th Place – 2 Pts 
8th Place – 1 Pt
.2 The total number of Qualifying Points available per Event is 39 Points.
.3 In the event of a tie, Qualifying Points are shared so that the total Qualifying Points scored per Event remains 39. For example, if two Countries are tied for second place then they both score 7 Qualifying Points. Equally, if three Countries are tied for 6th place then each Country scores 2 Qualifying Points.
.4 In Qualifying Events with fewer than ten participants, the number of places scoring Qualifying Points, and the number of Qualifying Points scored, are reduced.
Commentary : We chose to award Qualifying Points for the top eight places because we feel that coming in the top 8 represents an extraordinary achievement. For example, it means reaching the final of an Olympics athletics event or the quarter finals of a knock-out competition. (One of the limitations of traditional medal tables is that they only reward top 3 finishes).
.5 In the event that more than one Part Country (please see 6.3 below) scores Qualifying Points in the same Qualifying Event , then only the highest placed Part Country scores Qualifying Points. For the avoidance of doubt, the other Part Countries score no points in this situation and the Qualifying points scored by other Countries finishing in the top eight are not affected.
Commentary: this rule particularly affects Rugby Union tournaments such as the Six Nations and the Rugby Union World Cup where more than one of England, Scotland and Wales frequently finish in the top eight. Please note that a Country finishing 8th will score one Qualifying Point irrespective of the number of Part Countries finishing higher than 8th. The total number of Qualifying Points awarded in such Qualifying Events will be less than 39.
3. Qualifying Events
Qualifying Event are all the events relating to Qualifying Sports that take place at Qualifying Tournaments
Commentary : If an event takes place at a Qualifying Tournament that doesn’t relate to a Qualifying Sport then the event in question is not a Qualifying Event. Please also see Section 6.4 below.
4. Qualifying Tournaments
Qualifying Tournaments are:
a)  The Summer and Winter Olympics
b)  The premier international tournament(s) taking place in a calendar year in respect of each of the Qualifying Sports
Commentary: The premier international tournament will usually be the world championship for the sport in question. If there is no world championship for the sport in question then the leading alternative tournament(s) is used. For example, in Golf the ‘Majors’ are the Qualifying Tournaments
c) If, in respect of a particular Qualifying Sport, there is no Qualifying Tournament in a calendar year as a result of (a) or (b) above, then a secondary international tournament may be a Qualifying Tournament for the calendar year and Qualifying Sport in question 
Commentary: this is quite rare but, for example, it applies to Track Athletics and Field Athletics where, for one year in every four, there is no Athletics World Championships or Summer Olympics. In the year in question, the IAAF Diamond League is a Qualifying Tournament. 
d)   Here is the full list of Qualifying Tournaments.
5. Qualifying Sports
There are literally thousands of activities that might be deemed to be sports. The following criteria seek to define which activities are genuinely sports (with significant degrees of international participation) and should therefore be included in GSN’s calculations.
.1 All sports in the Winter and Summer Olympics (‘the Olympics’) are Qualifying Sports.
If a new sport is added to the Olympics then, if it is not already a Qualifying Sport, it is deemed to be a Qualifying Sport from the date of the opening ceremony of the Olympics in which it makes its first appearance.
If a sport is dropped from the Olympics then, if the sport does not otherwise qualify as a Qualifying Sport, it is no longer a Qualifying Sport from the date of the opening ceremony of the Winter or Summer (as relevant) Olympics immediately after the Olympics in which the sport last appeared.
.2 Sports that are not in either the Winter or Summer Olympics are Qualifying Sports if they meet all the following criteria :
a) The sport in question must involve physical exertion.
Commentary : The aim here is to exclude activities such as chess and bridge which, while they are fine activities, are not sports in GSN’s opinion.
b) The sport must be played within a framework of pre-agreed rules that produce a final result with a winner and placings.
Commentary : This means GSN cannot include sports that do not have winners and placings.
c) At least ten Countries and three Continents must be represented in the relevant world championship (or equivalent). Any formal qualification process constitutes part of the relevant world championship (or equivalent).
Commentary : The purpose here is to restrict GSN to sports in which there is genuine international competition.
d) The sport must not involve a motor engine.
Commentary : This point has been much debated as it excludes internationally popular motor sports such as Formula One. However, we have retained the exclusion on the grounds that it is impossible to know where Qualifying Points should be awarded – the driver ; the engine manufacturer ; the vehicle manufacturer; the team?
e) The primary purpose of the sport must not be fighting
Commentary : The ‘Olympics rule’ – please see 5.1 above – means that that many of the major ‘fighting’ sports (such as amateur boxing, judo, wrestling) are included.
f) Sports involving animals are excluded.
Commentary : This excludes hunting & fishing and sports involving the riding or racing of animals. However, the ‘Olympics rule’ – please see 5.1 above – means that some horse riding sports are included.
g) Sports which purely involve shooting, throwing or bowling at targets - or for distance - are excluded.
Commentary : The ‘Olympics rule’ – please see 5.1 above – means that some variants of archery and shooting are included.
.3 Where a sport has multiple disciplines, only the premier discipline can be a Qualifying Sport.
Commentary : This helps to ensure that the rankings remain balanced between sports and that the rankings are not weighted in favour of sports with multiple disciplines.
NB) : The 'Olympics rule' means that some sports have multiple disciplines that are Qualifying Sports.
Concluding Commentary : We have spent a lot of time researching potential Qualifying Sport candidates and here is a full list of Qualifying Sports. However, if you feel there is an additional sport which should be included then please email us at or comment below.
6. Countries and Continents
.1 All countries recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) are recognised as Countries by GSN.
Commentary : There are many different views as to what constitute a country – we have chosen to adopt the approach set by a sporting body (the IOC) rather than any political body.
.2 A country that is not recognised by the IOC may be recognised as a Country by GSN if it meets the following criteria:
a) It scores Qualifying Points
b) It is a distinct geographical entity
c) It is self-governing
d) It is not part of a country recognised by the IOC.
.3 A Part Country is a region of a Country. Any Qualifying Points scored by Part Countries are attributed to the parent Country.
Commentary : Perhaps the most prominent example of Part Countries relates to the United Kingdom. For historical reasons, Wales, England, Scotland and Northern Ireland enter separate teams in some Tournaments.
.4 Events in which teams take part that include participants from more than one Country are not Qualifying Events unless the teams play under a single banner.
Commentary : This excludes doubles tennis at most tennis Tournaments.
.5 Qualifying Points scored by teams playing under a single banner but representing more than one Country are allocated on a case-by-case basis.
Commentary : This is a rare occurrence but does happen. For example, the West Indies team – which is drawn from several Caribbean countries – competes in cricket Tournaments and any Qualifying Points it scores are allocated to the West Indies. The Irish rugby team is made up of representatives from Ireland and Northern Ireland ; any Qualifying Points it scores are allocated to Ireland.
.6 There are six Continents: North America, South America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Oceania.
7. Nationality
The nationality of participants is that recognised by the Tournament in question.
Commentary : The question of nationality in sport is a vexed one with different sports adopting different approaches. In some cases, individuals have even represented more than one Country in their sports career. Frequently, individuals represent Countries to which they have no obvious connection via birth or upbringing. GSN believes that some of these practices demean international sport – what is the purpose of international competition if, for example, rich Countries can attract individuals away from poorer Countries? However, for the purposes of allocating Qualifying Points, GSN follows the decision of the Tournament in question in respect of nationality.
8. Points
In calculating the standings in the Global Cup and the Per Capita Cup, weightings are applied to the Qualifying Points scored to produce Points. The weightings are as follows :
.1 All Qualifying Points scored in Team Sports are multiplied by a number between three and eight (the ‘Team Multiplier’). If the sport in question only has one world championship (or equivalent global competition, including the Olympics) in a four year period, then the Team Multiplier will be 8. If the sport in question has two world championships (or equivalents) in a four year period then the Team Multiplier will be 7 and so on down to a minimum Team Multiplier of 3.
Team Sports are sports in which at least five players per team are always on the field of play at the same time. Individual Sports are all sports that are not Team Sports. A sport is either a Team Sport or an Individual Sport and cannot be both.
Commentary : Individual Sports such as athletics, swimming, weightlifting etc have multiple events at world championships and other Qualifying Tournaments. Team Sports will normally have only one event. The purpose of the Team Multiplier is to address this imbalance.
 The purpose of the stipulation that a Team Sport always has at least five players per team on the field of play is to ensure that it’s clear that sports such as athletics (which has relay events), tennis (which has doubles matches), and rowing (which has crews of two, four and eight) are Individual Sports rather than Team Sports.
.2 Qualifying Points scored are also multiplied by a factor based on the number of Countries that participate in the Qualifying Tournament in question (the ‘Participation Multiplier’).
a)  For single-event Qualifying Tournaments, the Participation Multiplier is based on the number of Countries participating in the Tournament in question (including, for Team Sports only, any formal qualification stages for the Tournament in question).
b)  For multi-event Qualifying Tournaments, the Participation Multiplier is based on the average number of Countries participating in the events at the World Championship for the sport in question
c)   For multi-sport, multi-event Qualifying Tournaments, the Participation Multiplier varies on a sport-by-sport basis. The multiplier used for each sport is the one calculated under b) above for the sport in question.
Commentary: Without the Participation Multiplier, all sports would score equally irrespective of participation levels. Multi-sport, multi-event Qualifying Tournaments include the Olympics and the Winter Olympics.
.3 Where a Qualifying Tournament is not a global competition, the Participation Multiplier is reduced to reflect the lower number of participating Countries.
Commentary : This means that, for example, the 6 Nations rugby union tournament will have a lower Participation Multiplier than the Rugby World Cup.
.4 There are a small number of Qualifying Tournaments where weightings have been set on a case-by-case basis:
A)    The men’s football (soccer) event at the Olympics is effectively an U 23 event and Points cannot normally be scored in U 23 events. However, an exception has been made in this instance as it is an Olympic event. In recognition of these circumstances, the event has been given a Team Multiplier of 2.
B)    The Beach Soccer and Futsal world championships meet the criteria to become Qualifying Tournaments. However, beach soccer and futsal are effectively offshoots of the sport of football (soccer). These tournaments have therefore been given team multipliers of 2. (In the event that such an offshoot sport grows in popularity, and becomes generally accepted as a sport in its own right, then the tournament(s) in question will be weighted in line with 8.1-3 above.)
9. Additional Competitions
In addition to the overall Global Cup and Per Capita Cup, GSN also produces further analysis including men’s and women’s versions of the Global Cup and the Per Capita Cup.