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Seppala Is Finland's Athlete of the Year -- December 5, 2003

HELSINKI, December 4. EIGHTEEN year-old Hanna-Maria Seppala, the winner of the 100 meter freestyle at the World Championships in Barcelona, was named Finland's "Athlete of the Year" today, edging Alpine skier Kalle Palander and Formula One driver Kimi Raikkonen.

Chosen by Finland's sportswriters, Seppala garnered 3,904 votes while Palander was close behind with 3,755. McLaren's Raikkonen was third with 2,273 votes.

Seppala had the world's fastest time this year in the 100 free -- a national record 54.37 -- and three of the world's top four times. Her 54.37 makes her the seventh fastest woman all-time.