Austria top of the table, established leaders ousted

Austria takes the lead

Snow queen Austria tops the January table thanks to winter sports prowess

The red and white flag of Austria has flown defiantly in January, making the small European country leap from 18th place in the overall 2008 table to 1st place in the January 2009 ranking.

Thanks to excellent performances in the Snowboarding World Championships and good across-the-board results in the Val d’Isere (France) Alpine Skiing World Championships, Austria has snapped up the lead well ahead of two other Alpine countries, Switzerland and France.

The first of the three sporting giants of 2008, the United States, shows up in 4th place, while Canada and Germany, who led the Winter Sports overall table in 2008, are 5th and 6th respectively.

The chase for Austria is on, and February will be a crucial month for Winter Sports with the Cross Country Skiing, Ski Jumping, Biathlon and Speed Skating (Sprint) World Championships.

Other significant performers:

  • Finland jumped from 26th in 2008 to 8th after scoring points in the Snowboarding (one gold medal), Speedskating and Bandy World Championships.
  • China dropped from 4th overall in 2008 to 11th….the same position it held in the 2008 annual Winter Sports ranking.
  • Russia ranked 7th, but would have been clear ahead by some margin in the bad old days of communism: countries like Kazakhstan, Estonia, Belarus and the Ukraine all scored well in Winter Sports in January.