What makes a sports action photo? There's no formula--check the judging podcasts for a more thorough discussion of the category--but that doesn't mean there aren't certain trends happening in the field.
To get a better idea of these patterns, CPOY took the in-camera data for all 636 of the images entered in sports action and crunched it according to aperture, shutter speed and focal length (we added camera make and model just for fun). The charts below show the most common settings (and cameras) used by entrants. Not all of the images processed had numbers for each category, making exact percentages hard to determine, but of the available data, the relative proportions are accurate.
So if you're out shooting sports with your D3 and 300mm, working the f/2.8, 1/1000 combination-- you're not alone. Just remember: in the end, it's the photo, not the camera or settings that matter.