The second annual World Sports Photography Awards 2021 announced 26 of its winners in numerous individual sports categories, demonstrating the power of sports photography to tell stories and evoke an emotional response from viewers.
With the coronavirus pandemic having a huge impact on sports, and therefore sports photography, the World Sports Photography Awards asked entrants to dig into their archives and opened the competition to any image taken in the last 25 years.
Here is a list of the most iconic sports shots, featuring champions of the calibre of Tiger Woods, Lionel Messi, Usain Bolt, Conor McGregor and Simone Biles, among others. The contest was won by James Gourley, for his shot of Rafa Nadal. Taken in 2017 at Wimbledon, the photograph captured a moment of intense concentration and a close-up of a single bead of sweat on Nadal’s forehead.
Simone Biles at The Superstars of Gymnastics (2019) | Marc Aspland
In The Firing Line (2010) | Bronze Winner Mark Pain
Paralympic Swimmer (2004) | Bob Martin
Not Today (2014) | Daria Isaeva
Mallory Franklin British Slalom Canoeist (2019) | Richard Pelham
The Notorious (2017) | John Barry
The Star of All Stars (2020) | Yip Lampson Karmin
The Race to the Sun. Paris – Nice Cycling Race (2018) | James Starrt
The Smile (2016) | Silver Winner Cameron Spencer
Focus (2017) | Gold Winner James Gourley