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Toronto runner wins World Athletics’ Fan Photo of the Year

Dan Drozdowsky's shot of Aaron Brown and Andre De Grasse took top honours

Daniel Drozdowsky is the amateur photographer and track fan who created World Athletics’ Fan Photo of the Year–a shot of Aaron Brown edging rival Andre De Grasse at the finish line of the men’s 100m at Canadian Track Nationals on July 26. Fans were invited to submit entries via social media, and the winner was chosen by a panel consisting of the three finalists from the professional category Photo of the Year.

The winning shot. Photo: Dan Drozkowsky

Fans will remember that the 100m final ended in a literal photo-finish, which is what makes Drozdowsky’s shot so extraordinary. Officials did not announce the results for a full five minutes. Finally it was announced that Brown crossed the line in 10.021, three one-thousandths of a second ahead of De Grasse, to win the gold medal and Canadian championship title.

For his efforts, Drozdowsky gets travel, accommodation and tickets for two to his choice of Diamond League meet in 2020.

RELATED: Aaron Brown upsets Andre De Grasse in national 100m final


In typical self-deprecating Canadian fashion, Drozkowsky says the shot “isn’t the greatest,” but was the most popular one on his Instagram account (@daniel.tnf.autographs), and says it reminds him of Bruny Surin and Donovan Bailey battling for supremacy 20 years ago. It was shot using a Nikon D7500.

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. Philemon Rono 🇰🇪 (@rono.philemon) with race director Alan Brookes (@alnbrookes) at the finish of the 2019 @TOWaterfront42k in Toronto, Canada 🇨🇦. ⚫ Philemon was 1st 🥇 in 2:05:00 setting a new PB, course record, and Canadian all-comers record. This was Philemon's third win at the Toronto Waterfront Marathon. In 2018 he was 9th in 2:13:37. In 2017 he was 1st 🥇 in 2:06:52 setting a new PB, course record, and Canadian all-comers record. In 2016 he was 1st 🥇 in 2:08:26. ⚫ #Athletics #Marathon #HalfMarathon #RoadRace #RoadRacing #Run #Running #Runner #Sport #Sports #IAAF #Toronto #Canada #RunThe6ix #RunTO #4Run6 #Kenya #Kenyan #AthleticsKenya #SportsPhotography #STWM #Record #NNRunningTeam #TOWaterfront42k #ItsYourMoment

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Drozdowsky, who works at a sports medicine clinic in Toronto, was the Toronto city champion in the 200m in grade 6, and joined the Mississauga Track Club after qualifying for OFSAA in grade 9. The following year he finished third in the 400m and fifth in the 200m, which was won by Aaron Brown. After that he struggled with injuries, but despite that, in Grade 12 s(2010) he was on the 4 x 400m relay team that finished second to Brandon McBride’s team in the final.

Drozdowsky attended St. Francis University in Loretto, Penn. (where retired U.S. marathoner Brian Sell and 2019 world championship marathon sixth-place finisher Roberta Groner also studied), but was injured for three out of four years and has not trained or raced consistently since, though he remains an avid fan of the sport and takes his camera to meets whenever he can. (Check out his Instagram feed: @daniel.tnf.autographs.)

He says he hasn’t yet decided which Diamond League meet he will attend.