USA in Global Cup top spot as France, Japan vie for second place

France leads the pack at the 2021 BMX World Championships

After the Olympics gold dust settled, a few extra tournaments in August gave new shape to the Global Cup, the ranking of the world’s best sporting nations.

Besides triumphing in the Tokyo Olympics, Global Cup leader the USA added 140 points to its August tally in by winning the CONCACAF Gold Cup in men’s Football, ahead of Mexico and Canada. The USA now has a 2,612-point lead over second-placed France, and is assured of another Global Cup victory come the end of the 2021 sporting year.
However, the race for the runner-up spot behind the USA is white-hot at the moment. In August, France earned 202 points at the BMX and MTB World Championships (finishing a very close second to Switzerland in the latter), adding to a strong Olympics Games performance (fourth overall), and securing second place in the Global Cup’s year-to-date ranking, a mere 13 points ahead of Japan.
This might turn out to be another very successful year for France. After finishing second in the Global Cup twice in succession (2017 and 2018), the European country had slipped somewhat in 2019 and 2020, finishing respectively fifth and fourth. The tussle with Japan will be a tough one though.
Thanks to the Tokyo Olympics, Japan sits in third place, the highest it has ever been in the Global Cup, and has a decent shot at repeating, if not improving, on its best-ever Global Cup finish, fourth in 2018. The Karate World Championships are scheduled in November, a tournament Japan has always won since GSN records began in 2008, and can be worth up to about 300 points.
The Olympics have also propelled another Asian giant, China, higher up the table. Third place overall in Tokyo means China is now fourth in the Global Cup and in with an chance at making a stab for the podium – though the 575-point gap with Japan won’t be easy to bridge. Still, a major improvement for a country that has gone through a rollercoaster in recent years, dropping from third in 2019 to 25th in pandemic-riddled 2020.
Finally, August was a very positive month for Great Britain: in addition to finishing sixth overall at the Olympic Games, Team GB won the BMX World Championship ahead of the Netherlands and France, and the Triathlon World Championship ahead of USA and Norway, and is now only 198 points behind China in fifth place.
To add spice to the top-five race, Italy is only two points behind Great Britain in sixth, after a positive performance in Tokyo (seventh overall) and victory in the men’s European Football Championships, in July.
With four months still to go in the sporting year, the Global Cup’s top positions are far from settled, and the race will go to the wire .
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Greatest Sporting Nation is a ranking of countries based on their performance in top-level international tournaments in sports in which there is genuine global competition. Countries (national teams and/or individual athletes) score Qualifying Points by finishing in the top eight places in Qualifying Events.
These Qualifying Points are then weighted to produce GSN Points, based on a formula that takes into account individual vs team sports, the sport’s participation (number of countries) and the frequency (annual/biennial/quadrennial) of the tournaments.
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. For a more detailed explanation, please refer to the ‘How It Works’ section on the site.