Double world champion Bartosz Zmarzlik stormed to third place in Przeglad Sportowy’s prestigious Polish Athlete of 2021 vote.

Zmarzlik saw off competition from a host of Olympic gold medallists and fellow Polish sporting icons in the public poll to reach the top three in Poland’s equivalent of BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

Football legend Robert Lewandowski (pictured left above with the Zmarzlik family) claimed first place once again, with Tokyo 2020 women’s hammer throw champion Anita Włodarczyk placed second.

But Zmarzlik’s incredible five FIM Speedway Grand Prix wins last year, which saw him fall just three points short of a third world title, saw him finish ahead of Polish Olympic heroes Dawid Tomala (50km walk champion), Wojciech Nowicki (men’s hammer throw champion), Maria Andrejczyk (women’s javelin silver medallist) and Poland’s gold-medal-winning mixed 4x400m relay team.

The Gorzow and Lejonen rider, who won the Polish Athlete of 2019 vote, says his surge on to the podium was somewhat unexpected, and admits he may have to hide the latest statuette to join his trophy collection.

He told Przeglad Sportowy: “Wow! What happened here! I didn’t even dream about it. I am so happy. My son Antek has grown teeth and he bites everything. I will have to hide this statuette quickly!

“It is a great honour, a dream come true. Thank you very much for all the votes. Thank you to my whole family, team and sponsors.”

Zmarzlik, won also won the 2021 Polish Championship and FIM Speedway of Nations silver, heads into 2022 chasing a third SpeedwayGP world title in four seasons and his sixth top-three finish in seven years.

Photo: Bartosz Zmarzlik’s Facebook page

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