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Naomi Osaka Rescuing Butterfly Wins Sports Photography Awards


Japan's Naomi Osaka removes a butterfly from her dress as she plays against Tunisia's Ons Jabeur at the Australian Open

David Gray, Winner, Tennis.
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 February 12, 2021.

An artistic photo of tennis star Naomi Osaka rescuing a butterfly has taken home the top prize at the World Sports Photography Awards 2022. Sports photographer David Gray took the winning image during the Australian Open, when a butterfly landed on her dressed. By playing with shadows, Gray was able to capture the moment perfectly.

Professional sports photographers from around the globe saw their work honored in the contest, as these specialized photojournalists documented moments of athleticism, strength, and talent. Gray was one of 24 photographers who were honored in the third annual contest. More than 7,000 images were submitted across categories like Basketball, Racquet Sports, Water, and Gymnastics.

“I was incredibly impressed by the quality of this year’s entries,” shared Sophie Collins, chief marketing officer at MPB, the contest’s sponsor. “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.”

The winning images are not only technically sound, but are a compelling look at the world of sports. These photographs bring you into the moment, whether it’s a time of action, a quiet moment of reflection, or a joyful celebration. Check out these winners below.

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

Alexa Szvitacs of Team Hungary serves the ball during the Women's Doubles table tennis matchAlexa 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 Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium during the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

Guan Chenchen on the Balance Beam During the 2020 Summer OlympicsGuan Chenchen on the Balance Beam During the 2020 Summer Olympics

Ashley Landis, Winner, Gymnastics.
Guan Chenchen, of 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.

L.J.Chen Gold Winner in Men's 67kg Weightlifting Olympics 2020, Tokyo JapanL.J.Chen Gold Winner in Men's 67kg Weightlifting Olympics 2020, Tokyo Japan

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

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

Kevin Jairaj, Winner, Basketball.
Dorian Finney-Smith (Dallas Mavericks #10) grabs ball from Khris Middleton (Milwaukee Bucks #22) American Airlines Centre, Dallas, Texas NBA

Football Players Sitting in a Locker RoomFootball 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 Navy Midshipmen at MetLife Stadium on December 11, 2021 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

Rally Dakar RaceRally Dakar Race

Marian Chytka, Winner, Motor Sports.
Yasi Seidan, Rally Dakar 2021.

Winners across 24 categories have been announced for the 2022 edition of the photo contest.

Pittsburgh Penguins versus New Jersey Devils Hockey GamePittsburgh Penguins versus 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.

Female Boxer in the Ring with an Eye InjuryFemale Boxer in the Ring with an Eye Injury

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

Playing Cricket in PakistanPlaying Cricket in Pakistan

Muhammad Arbaz, Winner, Cricket.
Khushdil Shah, taken in National Stadium, Karachi, Pakistan.

Goring ridden by Charles Bishop during the Play 4 To Win At Betway Handicap at Wolverhampton RacecourseGoring 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 SeriesCliff Diving World Series

Morgan Treacy, Winner, Urban & Extreme.
Catalin Preda (Romania) dives off the 27.5 meter platform at the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series, Downpatrick Head, Ireland September 2021.

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

More than 7,000 images from professional sports photographers were submitted.

Tokyo 2020 Olympics, opening ceremonyTokyo 2020 Olympics, opening ceremony

Mark Edward Harris, Winner, Venues & Views.
Tokyo 2020 Olympics, opening ceremony.

Caeleb Dressel Swimming the Butterfly at the 2021 Tokyo OlympicsCaeleb Dressel Swimming the Butterfly at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics

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

Adolis Garcia Jumping to Catch a BallAdolis Garcia Jumping to Catch a Ball

Abbie Parr, Winner, Baseball.
Adolis Garcia (Texas Rangers), Texas Rangers v Seattle Mariners, Major League Baseball

Linn Persson of Sweden at zeroing ahead of Women's 7.5 km Sprint during the IBU Biathlon World ChampionshipsLinn Persson of Sweden at zeroing ahead of Women's 7.5 km Sprint during the IBU Biathlon World Championships

Joel Marklund, Winner, Winter Sports.
Linn Persson of Sweden at zeroing ahead of Women’s 7.5 km Sprint during the IBU Biathlon World Championships on February 13, 2021 in Pokljuka, Slovenia.

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

Cruz Azul Winning the Liga MXCruz Azul Winning the Liga MX

Eloisa Sanchez de Alba, Winner, Football.
Cruz Azul (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.

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

Rugby Match in South AfricaRugby Match in South Africa

Steve Haag, Winner, Rugby.
South Africa’s Franco Mostert during the Castle Lager Lions Series, Third Test match at the Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town, South Africa.

Athletes Celebrating at the Paralympic GamesAthletes Celebrating at the Paralympic Games

Samuel Barnes, Winner, Athletics.
Ambra Sabatini (Italy) celbrating smashing the 100m T63 Paralympic world record, 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 at the 43rd Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits, Kohler, Wisconsin September 2021Bryson DeChambeau (USA) on the ninth hole during the afternoon Fourball Matches at 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 at the 43rd Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits, Kohler, Wisconsin September 2021.

Max Holloway beats Calvin Kattar in a UFC FightMax Holloway beats Calvin Kattar in a UFC Fight

John Barry, Winner, Martial Arts.
Max Holloway beats 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 at Baku City, June 2021Max Verstappen (Netherlands) Red Bull Racking, reacts after crashing during the Formula 1 Grand Prix of Azerbaijan at Baku City, June 2021

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

World Sports Photography Awards: Website | Instagram | Facebook

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by World Sports Photography Awards.

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Action-Packed Winners of the Red Bull Illume 2019 Contest

Sequences of Extreme Sports Motion Merged Into One Image

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