USA triumph in Global Cup, Slovenia clinches Per Capita Cup 2014

USA ladies win the 2014 Basketball World Championships
GSN’s algorithms have crunched the final figures supplied by our indefatigable data beavers and the Greatest Sporting Nation in 2014, and for the seventh year running, are the USA, while Slovenia
earn the title of sportiest nation on earth, repeating their 2013 success.
The Stars & Stripes have taken the mantle with 9.5% of total points and a hefty margin (1467 points) over Russia, who overtook Germany in November to claim second place - by 304 points (0.6%) only.
Slovenia needed only 4,018 of their hardy citizens to score one GSN point in 2014. They are Per Capita champions and the world’s sportiest nation, ahead of Norway by a whisker (184 citizens) and New Zealand. The Per Capita Cup - exclusive to GSN - ranks countries in terms of points-per-inhabitant, compensating for the differential in population size among nations. To qualify for the Per Capita Cup, a country must score points in at least 10 sporting events throughout the year.
This year’s ranking was once again dominated by northern European countries plus the gritty Kiwis, with the addition of the Netherlands, who climbed from 20th place in 2013 to a remarkable 7th place this year.
Besides topping the overall Global Cup table, the United States won the Men’s rankings comfortably over Russia, France, Germany and Great Britain. They were also first in the Ladies’ table, ahead of Russia, China, Germany and South Korea. Oriental ladies in general were more successful than their other halves, as we remarked in this article before. The USA left nothing to their rivals in 2014, leading also in the Mixed gender ranking, which covers sports such as Modern Pentathlon or Figure Skating which feature mixed events.
The reason for the US Global Cup performances lies first of all in the range of their sporting endeavour. In 2014 they scored points in 47 sports, 7 less than in 2013 but far more than any other nation this year: Russia scored points in 36 sports, Germany in 40. The US topped the ranking in 7 sports as diverse as Archery, Artistic Gymnastics, Basketball, BMX, Golf (their top sport), Racquetball and Water Polo. Russia and Germany won 7 sports apiece too, but the US were also runners-up in nine other sports – heavy-scoring Volleyball and Alpine Skiing among them – and 3rd-placed in another two. By comparison, Russia were runners-up in six other sports, and Germany in one.
Besides strength in depth, the other key factor of success is the US performance in the Team Ball sports, among which are some of the highest-point-scoring sports such as Football, Basketball and Volleyball. Although Germany triumphed in the 2014 FIFA Football World Cup, earning 1000 points for it (30.3% of their yearly total), the USA won the Team Ball sports aggregate ranking with 1660 points, ahead of Brazil and Germany, thanks to overall victory in Basketball (Men and Ladies) and second place in Volleyball.
Behind the Global Cup’s top trio, China staged a remarkable recovery – they were 6th in August -  to finish 4th overall, while France confirmed 5th place overall as in 2013.
Canada did well, up two places into 6th, while Great Britain, 7th and down one place from last year, less so. Behind them we find the nation with the greatest improvement vs 2013 among the Global Cup’s top 10: 8th-placed Netherlands climbed 11 positions, thanks to a great year in which they scored points in 21 sports, finished third in the 2014 Football World Cup and won outright two sports, a record for them: they beat the world again at Speedskating, and were joint first with Australia in Hockey.
Elsewhere in the top 30, strong improvements by Argentina (17th, up 22 places vs 2013 thanks to second place in the Football World Cup), the Czech Republic (20th, up 8 places, with results in Tennis, Ice Hockey and Biathlon), Turkey (29th, up 25 places [!] with strong showings in Basketball and Volleyball) and Iran (30th, up 7 places, their Men earning 6th place in the Volleyball Worlds).
Among the disappointments, Italy slipped out of the top 10, moving from 7th to 12th place, Japan lost two places, South Korea five and Spain six. Kenya finished 28th, losing 14 places, one of the countries who suffered for the lack of top-flight Athletics competitions this year.
Browse through the tables and double click on the nations that interest you to see their full 2014 story… while a new sporting year kicks off in just a few days!