Jamaica, Estonia leapfrog rivals in world’s sportiest nation ranking

Jamaica’s 4x100m women’s relay team won gold at the 2019 Athletics World Championships – pict.: AFP

The month of October brought big changes to the top 10 positions in the Per Capita Cup, GSN’s unique ranking of the world’s sportiest nations, with past winners Jamaica climbing three places into second, and Estonia gaining five places to reach eighth.

The Per Capita ranking is obtained by dividing the population of any country with at least ten top-8 placements in any tournament in the year by the number of the country’s total GSN points earned. In other words, it measures how sporty a nation is by calculating how many inhabitants are ‘needed’ to score one GSN point. The fewer the inhabitants needed, the sportier the nation.
Norway is still leading the 2019 ranking with 2,882 inhabitants per point (one short of the Per Capita Cup record of 2,881, set by Jamaica in 2015), but in October Jamaica leapfrogged Slovenia, Switzerland and Sweden into second place, thanks to a brilliant performance at the Athletics World Championships, in which it finished second overall behind the USA.
Estonia was the other success story, among the smaller nations, at the Athletics World Championships: thanks to a silver medal in men’s Javelin, and a silver and fifth in the men’s Decathlon, it climbed five positions in GSN’s Per Capita table, and is now eighth.
Another potential Per Capita champion (and former winner), New Zealand, will instead be slightly disappointed by its recent performance in the Rugby Union World Cup. The All Blacks were among the favourites for final victory, worth 400 GSN points, but only made it to the third-place playoff, scheduled on 1 November.
Winning it would be worth 240 points, bringing New Zealand to 5,515 citizens per point - overtaking Slovenia in third place in the ranking - but not enough to pose a threat to Norway, which looks set to claim its third consecutive Per Capital title and the fourth since GSN records began.
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