USA edges Norway to take Global Cup top spot

Jennifer Brady (USA) reached the semi-finals of the 2020 US Tennis Open

At last, after a prolonged period of much reduced global sporting activity due to the pandemic, September featured a spate of top international tournaments

in, among other sports, Golf, Tennis, Triathlon and Road Cycling. The USA made the most of the opportunities on offer, winning the monthly ranking in comfortable fashion ahead of the Netherlands and Germany and, crucially, ousting Norway from the year-to-date Global Cup ranking’s top spot, which the Scandinavian country had held since March.

The USA scored 61.5% of its September points in Golf (including first and second place at the men’s US Open), and picked up another 25% of its points through the US Tennis Open, while the vast majority of the Netherland’s points were scored in Road Cycling, where Anna Van Der Breggen succeeded in a remarkable double, storming her way to victory in both the individual Elite Race and the Time Trial.
The year-to-date ranking is of course still shaped by the tournaments held until the beginning of spring, before most countries began to introduce lockdowns, plus a handful of events between then and the end of August. Norway is still holding on to second place behind the USA, while Germany has risen to third and Switzerland, Austria and Canada are still in the top 10, after a strong showing in the Snow & Ice sports season.
It is hard to predict what the rest of the year will bring: the fate of scores of tournaments continues to be uncertain, as they have either been repeatedly postponed, or are scheduled in the last three months of the year, potentially threatened by the pandemic’s resurgence.
From January to the end of September 2019, the Global Cup awarded 54,803 points (79.8% of the year’s final points tally), shared between 124 different countries. This time last year, the USA was handsomely in the lead, with 5,315 points in the bag and a 1,967-point cushion over Russia in second place.
The contrast with the picture at the end of September 2020 couldn’t be starker, with only 8,569 points awarded, shared out among 55 countries. How the sporting year will end is anybody’s guess at the moment, all the more reason to follow Greatest Sporting Nation and keep track of the quest for the top nation in sport, in a genuinely exceptional year.
But before we sign off, our thoughts go to the million-plus victims of the pandemic worldwide and to their families, and to all the health care professionals who have been, and continue to be, such heroes on this grim frontline, to whom goes our heartfelt THANK YOU.
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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.