Germany lead Global Cup, Norway, China going strong

Angelique Kerber of Germany took the Australian Open Tennis title from defending champion Serena Williams

The first quarter of the 2016 sporting year is over, and the Global Cup ranking of the top nations in world sport features a (relatively) new name at the top: Germany  are back with a vengeance, after finishing 2015 at one of their lowest positions ever in 6th, and have a solid lead with 9.3% of the points awarded, ahead of Norway and Canada. The USA, Global Cup champions in 2015, are sitting in 6th place with ‘only’ a 6.6% points share.

Germany have added victory in the Women’s Australian Tennis Open to an impressive string of Winter Sports performances. Snow and ice sports earned them 77% of all points so far, and placed them 2nd in the Winter Sports ranking with only a handful of tournaments left (the Ice Hockey and Curling world championships).
Ahead of them in the Winter Sports ranking, and right behind them in the overall Global Cup, are Norway, who seem intent on improving on their two 4th places in succession in Winter Sports, in 2014 and 2015. The Winter race isn’t over yet, though the winners in 2014 and 2015 (Russia and the USA) are both trailing Norway and Germany by over 130 points. Canada, last year’s Men’s Hockey world champions and currently 3rd in the Winter Sports ranking, are also very much in contention. The Ice Hockey men’s and women’s world titles are worth 180 and 140 points respectively, so the race for overall Winter meister is still wide open.
Compared to last year, two other nations have posted strong improvements in the first three months of the year: China are 5th in the Global Cup ranking with a 6.7% points share (vs 2.9% last year), thanks to a bounty of points from the Table Tennis World Team Championships and the Diving World Cup, but also to a remarkable performance in Winter Sports, in which they are currently 8th, having finished 13th last year.
The other country is Great Britain, who were 23rd at this stage last year, and are now in 9th place. Winter Sports aren’t Team GB’s strong suit, though they’ve earned a respectable 93 points so far, but they started the year brilliantly in Tennis (runners-up in the Men’s Australian Open) and Rugby Union, winning a 6 Nations Grand Slam, as well as at the Track Cycling World Championships, which they won handsomely.
It’s early days yet, but with so many major sporting nations performing so well, it may be tougher this year for the USA to follow up in their uninterrupted string of Global Cup successes.