Naomi Osaka Rescue Butterfly Wins Sports Photography Awards

David Gray, winner, tennis.
Japan’s Naomi Osaka removes a butterfly from her dress as she plays against Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur in their women’s singles match on day five of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on February 12, 2021.

An artistic shot of tennis star Naomi Osaka saving a butterfly won first prize at the 2022 World Sports Photography Awards. Sports photographer David Gray captured the winning image at the Australian Open, when a butterfly landed on her dressed. By playing with the shadows, Gray was able to perfectly capture the moment.

Professional sports photographers from around the world had their work honored at the contest, as these specialist photojournalists documented moments of athleticism, strength and skill. Gray was one of 24 photographers who were honored in the third annual competition. Over 7,000 images were submitted in categories such as basketball, racquet sports, water and gymnastics.

“I was incredibly impressed with the quality of this year’s entries,” shared Sophie Collins, Marketing Director at MPB, the contest sponsor. “Photography captures a moment in time, the emotion, the ups and downs. It tells a story that has the power to change the way the viewer feels and inspires them.

The winning images are not only technically sound, they also offer a compelling look into the world of sports. These photographs immerse you in the present moment, whether it’s a moment of action, a moment of quiet reflection or a joyous celebration. Check out these winners below.

The World Sports Photography Awards celebrate professional sports photographers around the world.

Alexa Szvitacs of Team Hungary serves the ball during the women's doubles table tennis match

Donald Miralle, winner, racquet sports.
Alexa Szvitacs of Team Hungary serves the ball during the women’s doubles table tennis match at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium during the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

Guan Chenchen on balance beam during the 2020 Summer Olympics

Ashley Landis, winner, gymnastics.
Guan Chenchen of China wins the gold medal as she performs on balance beam in the artistic gymnastics women’s apparatus final at the 2020 Summer Olympics.

Gold Winner LJChen at the 2020 Men's Weightlifting Olympics 67kg, Tokyo, Japan

Isaac Julián Morillas Sánchez, Winner, Other.
Gold Winner LJChen at the 2020 Men’s Weightlifting Olympics 67kg, Tokyo, Japan

Dorian Finney-Smith (Dallas Mavericks #10) catches the ball from Khris Middleton (Milwaukee Bucks #22) American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas NBA (National Basketball Association)

Kevin Jairaj, winner, basketball.
Dorian Finney-Smith (Dallas Mavericks #10) catches the ball from Khris Middleton (Milwaukee Bucks #22) American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas NBA

Football players sitting in a locker room

Dustin Satloff, winner, American football.
Wilson Catoe #42 of the Army Black Knights, Cade Barnard #40 of the Army Black Knights and Jakobi Buchanan #33 of the Army Black Knights in the locker room before the start of a game against the Midshipmen at MetLife Stadium on December 11, 2021 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

Dakar Rally

Marian Chytka, winner, motorsports.
Yasi Seidan, Dakar Rally 2021.

The winners of 24 categories have been announced for the 2022 edition of the photo competition.

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. New Jersey Devils hockey game

Bruce Bennett, winner, hockey.
The Pittsburgh Penguins defend against the New Jersey Devils late in the third period at the Prudential Center on March 20, 2021 in Newark, New Jersey. The Penguins defeated the Devils 3-1.

Boxer in the ring with an eye injury

Richard Pelham, winner, boxing.
Ebanie Bridges (Australia) with a bad eye injury after her 10-round WBA world bantamweight loss to rival Shannon Courtenay (England), boxing

Play cricket in Pakistan

Muhammad Arbaz, winner, cricket.
Khushdil Shah, taken at the National Stadium in Karachi, Pakistan.

Goring ridden by Charles Bishop during the Play 4 To Win at Betway Handicap at Wolverhampton Racecourse

Mike Egerton, winner, equestrian.
Goring ridden by Charles Bishop during the Play 4 To Win at Betway Handicap at Wolverhampton Racecourse.

Cliff Diving World Series

Morgan Treacy, winner, urban and extreme.
Catalin Preda (Romania) dives from the 27.5m platform during the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series, Downpatrick Head, Ireland, September 2021.

Morgan Treacy, winner, Water.
Lukas Rohan, Rowing Men C-1 Slalom, Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, Japan.

Over 7,000 images from professional sports photographers were submitted.

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, Opening Ceremony

Mark Edward Harris, Winner, Places and Views.
Tokyo 2020 Olympics, opening ceremony.

Caeleb Dressel swims the butterfly at the Tokyo 2021 Olympics

Ian McNicol, winner, aquatic.
Caeleb Dressel (USA) wins the Men’s 100m Butterfly Final on July 31, 2021, Tokyo Olympic Games

Adolis Garcia jumping to catch a ball

Abbie Parr, winner, baseball.
Adolis Garcia (Texas Rangers), Texas Rangers vs. Seattle Mariners, Major League Baseball

Linn Persson of Sweden to zero ahead of the women's 7.5km sprint during the IBU Biathlon World Championships

Joel Marklund, winner, winter sports.
Linn Persson of Sweden zeros before the Women’s 7.5km Sprint during the IBU Biathlon World Championships on February 13, 2021 in Pokljuka, Slovenia.

Ashley & Jered Gruber, winner, cycling.
The peloton crosses Siena (Italy) during stage 12 of the Giro d’Italia 2021.

Cruz Azul wins the Liga MX

Eloisa Sanchez de Alba, Winner, Soccer.
Cruz Azul (Club de Futbol Cruz Azul) wins the Liga MX (Mexican Football League Championship) after almost 25 years of trial and failure in the final stages.

The World Sports Photography Awards “unleash the incredible power of sports imagery through the narrative power of competition”.

Rugby match in South Africa

Steve Haag, winner, rugby.
Franco Mostert of South Africa during the Castle Lager Lions Series, Third Test match at the Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town, South Africa.

Athletes celebrating at the Paralympic Games

Samuel Barnes, winner, athletics.
Ambra Sabatini (Italy) broke the Paralympic world record in the T63 100m, winning gold with compatriots Martina Caironi (silver) and Monica Contrafatto (bronze) Tokyo 2020, Paralympic Games, Athletics.

Bryson DeChambeau (USA) on the ninth hole during the Afternoon Fourball matches of the 43rd Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits, Kohler, Wisconsin September 2021

Richard Heathcote, winner, golf.
Bryson DeChambeau (USA) on the ninth hole during the afternoon Fourball matches of the 43rd Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits, Kohler, Wisconsin September 2021.

Max Holloway defeats Calvin Kattar in a UFC fight

John Barry, winner, martial arts.
Max Holloway defeats Calvin Kattar, at Fight Island in Yas Island, Abu Dhabi – UFC.

Max Verstappen (Netherlands) Red Bull Racking, reacts after crashing during the Formula 1 Grand Prix of Azerbaijan in Baku, June 2021

Clive Rose, winner, Formula 1.
Max Verstappen (Netherlands) Red Bull Racking, reacts after crashing during the Formula 1 Grand Prix of Azerbaijan in Baku, June 2021.

World Sports Photography Awards: Website | Instagram | Facebook

My Modern Met has granted permission to submit photos to the World Sports Photography Awards.

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