Another exciting sporting year is over, and the USA have triumphed in the Global Cup, the ranking of the world’s best sporting nations, for the ninth successive time, since GSN records began in 2008. The mighty Stars & Stripes have done it in style, winning 10.2% of the overall points - the first time since 2012 they have reached double figures - almost twice the share of second-placed France.
As usual, the USA’s strength in depth was astonishing: they earned points in 54 different sports (their joint record with 2013) and won outright 11 individual sports: Artistic Gymnastics
, Freestyle Skiing
and Water Polo
, as well as notching up podium finishes in another 14 sports, 11 in second place and three in third. And of course, they won both the Men’s ranking, ahead of France, and the Women’s, the latter ahead of China
with an 11.9% points share.
While the USA have once again proved unbeatable, the sporting year has been livened up by a best-ever result by France, who came second thanks to a very solid all-round performance
, earning points in a record number of sports (46), winning outright in Biathlon
, Body Boarding
, and claiming another 11 podium finishes in other sports.
The sting in the Global Cup’s tail was provided by Great Britain
’s excellent round of Golf
results in December: thanks to a spate of top-eight places in the Men’s European Tour and the Men’s PGA Tour, Team GB earned 61 points in the month, enough to pip Germany
at the post for third place by a mere 46 points. Great Britain’s final result was well deserved however: they won outright a record seven sports (MTB
, Track Cycling
), earned a further 11 top-three finishes in other sports, and came third in the Global Cup Men’s gender ranking.
Elsewhere in the Global Cup’s top 10, 2016 was a year to remember for Japan
, who finished as high as they ever did (once before, in 2011) by clinching seventh place. Also, albeit negatively, for Russia
and China, both of them recording their worst-ever Global Cup finish. For Russia, who finished fifth, it was a major setback, as they had always been runners-up to the USA until now. Range was not a problem, in fact by scoring points in 46 different sports they established their new record, but excellence in performance suffered after the doping debacle. A clear indication of this is the fact that in 2016 Russia scored zero points in Athletics, a sport which was their top point earner in 2012 and 2013, and their third-ranked in 2015.
The consequences of Russia’s doping issue threaten to be far reaching, making competition for the top Global Cup positions next year all the more interesting.
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