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Norway – world’s sportiest nation

How can a country with a population of just over 5 million manage to do so consistently well in so many different sports?

Greatest Sporting Nation (GSN) is a website for the world community of sports lovers. It provides a statistical analysis of which country in the world is the best at sports. Countries compete in two competitions: the Global Cup and the Per Capita Cup, both take place each calendar year and are based on performances within that year. The Global Cup looks at overall performance, while the Per Capita Global Cup measures the performance of nations in relative to its population.

Norway is currently in lead in the Per Capita Cup. Since the origin of the cup in 2008, Norway has achieved the first place in 2010 and 2011, and among top three the other years. 

In April this year, Norway also lead the overall Global Cup, due to the country’s dominance in winter sports and particularly cross-country skiing. This made Norway the first nation in GSN history to top both the Global Cup and the Per Capita Cup in the same month.

Since the winter season ended, Norway is currently at 6th place on the Global Cup ranking, behind by United States, Russia, France, Canada and Italy. 

According to the authors of ‘Nordic Elite Sport – Same Ambitions, Different Tracks’, Svein S. Andersen and Lars Tore Ronglan, it is the structures and methods used by Norwegian elite sport organisations that explains this success.

As an consequence of a poor performances in both the 1984 Summer and Winter Olympic Games, the Norwegian Olympic and Paralympic Committee and Confederation of Sports (Norges Idrettsforbund - NIF), decided to establish a centralised program called Project 88. One of its focus areas was the holistic development of athletes, covering their physiological, intellectual and social abilities. In the wake of Project 88, the NIF also established a centralised organisation coordinating elite sport coaching activities, called Olympiatoppen, offering financial support and strengthening the cooperation across different sports.

As long as Norway continue with this  holistic view of their athletes’ coaching and with an efficient, centralised elite sports system, it is no surprise they can lead the Per Capita Cup and lie in 6th place overall in the Global Cup, ahead of much larger European countries.

Story sourced from Greatest Sporting Nation