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See the stunning winning images in the 2022 World Sports Photography Awards

July 29, 2022

A stunning image that captured the moment tennis superstar Naomi Osaka gently removed a butterfly from her dress has won photographer David Gray the third edition of World Sports Photography Awards.

Taken by sports photographer Gray at the 2021 Australian Open, the photograph reveals a delicate moment that reflects the beauty and power within sport.

Speaking about the winning image World Sports Photography Awards co-founder, Simon Burton, said, ‘This is a breath-taking image. Sports Photography captures special moments and tells unique stories, but most of all it draws you in and reveals the unexpected. It forces you to look again and reconsider.’

The overall winning image was selected from 24 winning images across the categories that included American Football, Boxing, Cycling, Gymnastics, Football and many more.

Over 7,000 images

More than 7,000 images were submitted into the awards from professional sports photographers around the world to the only global awards for sports photography.

The World Sports Photography Awards are entered by the world’s best sports photographers and are judged by leading figures from the worlds of sport, media, brand and creative.

Designed to recognise and celebrate incredible sports images, and the photographers who take them, the World Sports Photography Awards tell compelling stories of the emotion, passion, athleticism and focus that are at the heart of sport.

Sophie Collins, chief marketing officer at awards sponsors MPB, said, ‘As a judge, and as a sponsor of the 2022 World Sports Photography Awards I was incredibly impressed by the quality of this year’s entries. Photography captures a moment in time, the emotion, the ups and downs. It tells a story that has the power to change how the viewer feels and inspires them. It was great to see some new faces in the ‘Pro’ space being shortlisted too, the bar has definitely been raised for next year!’

You can view the winning images from all 24 categories of the 2022 World Sports Photography Awards below…


American Football category

Gold Award Winner: Dustin Satloff

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

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


Aquatic category

Gold Award Winner: Ian MacNicol

Caeleb Dressel (USA) winning Men's 100m butterfly final, 31 July 2021, Olympics, Tokyo. © Ian MacNicol

Caeleb Dressel (USA) winning Men’s 100m butterfly final, 31 July 2021, Olympics, Tokyo. © Ian MacNicol


Athletics category

Gold Award Winner: Samuel Barnes

4 September 2021; Women's T63 100 metre Medallists, from left, Monica Graziana Contrafatto, bronze, Ambra Sabatini, gold, and Martina Caironi, silver, all of Italy, celebrate Sabatini smashing the 100m T63 Paralympic world record after the race at the Olympic Stadium on day 11 during the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo, Japan. © Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

4 September 2021; Women’s T63 100 metre Medallists (from left), Monica Graziana Contrafatto, bronze, Ambra Sabatini, gold, and Martina Caironi, silver, all of Italy, celebrate Sabatini smashing the 100m T63 Paralympic world record after the race at the Olympic Stadium on day 11 during the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo, Japan. © Sam Barnes/Sportsfile


Baseball category

Gold Award Winner: Abbie Parr

Adolis Garcia (#53) of the Texas Rangers takes a home run away from Mitch Haniger (#17) of the Seattle Mariners during the first inning at T-Mobile Park on 27 May 2021 in Seattle, Washington. © Abbie Parr/Getty Images

Adolis Garcia (#53) of the Texas Rangers takes a home run away from Mitch Haniger (#17) of the Seattle Mariners during the first inning at T-Mobile Park on 27 May 2021 in Seattle, Washington. © Abbie Parr/Getty Images


Basketball category

Gold Award Winner: Kevin Jairaj

23 December 2021; Dallas, Texas, USA; Dallas Mavericks forward Dorian Finney-Smith (10) grabs the ball over Milwaukee Bucks forward Khris Middleton (22) during the second half at American Airlines Center. Mandatory. © Kevin Jairaj/USA TODAY Sports

23 December 2021; Dallas, Texas, USA; Dallas Mavericks forward Dorian Finney-Smith (10) grabs the ball over Milwaukee Bucks forward Khris Middleton (22) during the second half at American Airlines Center. Mandatory. © Kevin Jairaj/USA TODAY Sports


Boxing category

Gold Award Winner: Richard Pelham

Ebanie Bridges (Australia) with bad eye injury after her world WBA Bantamweight defeat over 10 rounds against rival Shannon Courtenay (England). © Richard Pelham

Ebanie Bridges (Australia) with bad eye injury after her world WBA Bantamweight defeat over 10 rounds against rival Shannon Courtenay (England). © Richard Pelham


Cricket category

Gold Award Winner: Muhammad Arbaz

Khushdil Shah, taken in National Stadium, Karachi, Pakistan. © Muhammed Arbaz

Khushdil Shah, taken in National Stadium, Karachi, Pakistan. © Muhammed Arbaz


Cycling category

Gold Award Winner: Ashley & Jered Gruber

The peloton rides through Siena, Italy, during stage 12 of 2021 Giro d'Italia. © Ashley & Jered Gruber

The peloton rides through Siena, Italy, during stage 12 of 2021 Giro d’Italia. © Ashley & Jered Gruber


Equestrian category

Gold Award Winner: Mike Egerton

Goring, ridden by Charles Bishop during the Play 4 to Win at Betway Handicap at Wolverhampton Racecourse. © Mike Egerton

Goring, ridden by Charles Bishop during the Play 4 to Win at Betway Handicap at Wolverhampton Racecourse. © Mike Egerton


Football category

Gold Award Winner: Eloisa Sanchez de Alba

Champion photobombing. Club de Futbol Cruz Azul win the Liga MX (Mexican Football League Championship) after almost 25 years of trying and failing at the last stages. © Eloisa Sanchez de Alba

Champion photobombing. Club de Futbol Cruz Azul win the Liga MX (Mexican Football League Championship) after almost 25 years of trying and failing at the last stages. © Eloisa Sanchez de Alba


Formula 1 category

Gold Award Winner: Clive Rose

Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Red Bull Racing kicks his tyre as he reacts after crashing during the F1 Grand Prix of Azerbaijan at Baku City Circuit on 6 June 2021 in Baku, Azerbaijan. © Clive Rose/Getty Images

Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Red Bull Racing kicks his tyre as he reacts after crashing during the F1 Grand Prix of Azerbaijan at Baku City Circuit on 6 June 2021 in Baku, Azerbaijan. © Clive Rose/Getty Images


Golf category

Gold Award Winner: Richard Heathcote

Bryson DeChambeau of team United States plays his shot on the ninth hole during Saturday Afternoon Fourball Matches of the 43rd Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits on 25 September 2021 in Kohler, Wisconsin. © Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Bryson DeChambeau of team United States plays his shot on the ninth hole during Saturday Afternoon Fourball Matches of the 43rd Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits on 25 September 2021 in Kohler, Wisconsin. © Richard Heathcote/Getty Images


Gymnastics category

Gold Award Winner: Ashley Landis

Guan Chenchen (China, wins the gold medal as she performs on the balance beam during the artistic gymnastics women's apparatus final at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Tuesday 3 August 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. © AP Photo/Ashley Landis

Guan Chenchen (China, wins the gold medal as she performs on the balance beam during the artistic gymnastics women’s apparatus final at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Tuesday 3 August 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. © AP Photo/Ashley Landis


Ice Hockey category

Gold Award Winner: Bruce Bennett

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

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


Martial Arts category

Gold Award Winner: John Barry

Max Holloway (left) beats Calvin Kattar, at Fight Island in Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, UFC. © John Barry

Max Holloway (left) beats Calvin Kattar, at Fight Island in Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, UFC. © John Barry


Motor Sports category

Gold Award Winner: Marian Chytka

Yasi Seidan, Rally Dakar 2021. © Marian Chytka

Yasi Seidan, Rally Dakar 2021. © Marian Chytka


Other category

Gold Award Winner: Isaac Julián Morillas Sánchez

L.J. Chen, Gold Winner in Men's 67kg Weightlifting, Olympics 2020, Tokyo, Japan. © Isaac Julián Morillas Sánchez

L.J. Chen, Gold Winner in Men’s 67kg Weightlifting, Olympics 2020, Tokyo, Japan. © Isaac Julián Morillas Sánchez


Racquet Sports category

Gold Award Winner: Donald Miralle

Alexa Szvitacs of Team Hungary serves the ball during the Women's Doubles table tennis match at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium during the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games on 1 September 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. The 29-year-old Szvitacs was an elite table tennis player for Hungary, a familiar face on the ITTF circuit for many years. But in the summer of 2018, she was affected by an illness that resulted in life-threatening complications, and the loss of her left forearm and parts of both feet. © Donald Miralle

Alexa Szvitacs of Team Hungary serves the ball during the Women’s Doubles table tennis match at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium during the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games on 1 September 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. The 29-year-old Szvitacs was an elite table tennis player for Hungary, a familiar face on the ITTF circuit for many years. But in the summer of 2018, she was affected by an illness that resulted in life-threatening complications, and the loss of her left forearm and parts of both feet. © Donald Miralle


Rugby category

Gold Award Winner: Steve Haag

South Africa's Franco Mostert wins a lineout during the Castle Lager Lions Series, Third Test match at the Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town, South Africa, Saturday 7 August 2021. © Steve Haag/PA Wire

South Africa’s Franco Mostert wins a lineout during the Castle Lager Lions Series, Third Test match at the Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town, South Africa, Saturday 7 August 2021. © Steve Haag/PA Wire


Tennis category

Gold Award Winner: David Gray

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

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


Urban & Extreme category

Gold Award Winner: Morgan Treacy

Catalin Preda (Romania) dives off the 27.5 metre platform at the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series, Downpatrick Head, Ireland September 2021. © Morgan Treacy

Catalin Preda (Romania) dives off the 27.5 metre platform at the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series, Downpatrick Head, Ireland September 2021. © Morgan Treacy


Venues & Views category

Gold Award Winner: Mark Edward Harris

Tokyo 2020 Olympics, opening ceremony, Japan. © Mark Edward Harris

Tokyo 2020 Olympics, opening ceremony, Japan. © Mark Edward Harris


Water category

Gold Award Winner: Morgan Treacy

Lukas Rohan (Czech Republic), Rowing Men's C-1 Slalom, 2020 Olympic Games, Sea Forest Waterway, Tokyo, Japan, 25 July 2021. © Morgan Treacy

Lukas Rohan (Czech Republic), Rowing Men’s C-1 Slalom, 2020 Olympic Games, Sea Forest Waterway, Tokyo, Japan, 25 July 2021. © Morgan Treacy


Winter Sports category

Gold Award Winner: Joel Marklund

Bullet time: Linn Persson of Sweden at zeroing ahead of Women's 7.5km Sprint during the IBU Biathlon World Championships on 13 February 12021 in Pokljuka, Slovenia. © Joel Marklund

Bullet time: Linn Persson of Sweden at zeroing ahead of Women’s 7.5km Sprint during the IBU Biathlon World Championships on 13 February 12021 in Pokljuka, Slovenia. © Joel Marklund


World Sports Photography Awards – find out more

The World Sports Photography Awards unlock the amazing power of sports imagery through the story-telling power of competition.

To find out more and view more of the silver and bronze runners-up images go to the World Sports Photography Awards website.


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