Jamaica wins Per Capita title, countries from 4 continents in top 10

Sukhee Tserenchimed, Mongolia, world champion in Free Wrestling (60 kg)

The race for the 2015 Per Capita Cup top spots went to the finishing line. Greatest Sporting Nation’s Per Capita Cup is the ranking of the world’s sportiest nations: each country’s population figure is divided by the number of GSN points earned, to measure how many citizens a country ‘needs’ to score 1 GSN point.

As we wrote in November, it was clear that first place was likely to go to Jamaica, who eventually only needed 2881 of its sporty citizens to score 1 GSN point in 2015.
But three countries, all of them past Per Capita winners, were in hot contention for second place: in the end it was Norway who clinched it, coming from behind and pipping Slovenia and New Zealand at the post. They did it in style, thanks to their ladies winning the Handball World Championships and earning a crucial 240 points.
In the end the Scandinavian country’s combination of sporting depth (they scored points in 19 sports, compared to Slovenia’s 13 and New Zealand’s 16) and excellence (they won outright two sports in the Global Cup, Biathlon and Cross Country Skiing) was enough to earn them second place.
But not enough to defeat the fleet Jamaicans, who scored 74.7% of their points in Athletics, and only added a handful in Football, Netball and Swimming. It was a record year for Jamaica, their citizens-per-point score beating the previous record of 3067, set by Slovenia in 2013.
But it was a special year for the Per Capita Cup in terms of representation: for the first time ever, countries from 4 continents featured in the top 10, usually the hunting ground of Scandinavian and eastern European countries alone. Besides Jamaica and New Zealand, the other non-Europeans were Mongolia in 7th place, thanks to outstanding performances in Combat sports, and Australia in 8th.
In a sporting year that was notable for diversity, it was great to see how the whole world, and not just its more powerful or wealthier nations, is getting better at sports.