29 DEC 2000 General News Helsinki, Finland

Harju named Finland's athlete of the year

Finland's Arsi Harju in Sydney 2000 (Getty Images)Finland's Arsi Harju in Sydney 2000 (Getty Images) © Copyright

Men's Olympic shot put gold medallist Arsi Harju has been voted Finland's athlete of the year by the country's sports media, finishing ahead of new rally champion Marcus Gronholm.

The 26-year-old collected 313 first-place votes and a total of 3,947 points at a ceremony on Thursday evening, putting him comfortably ahead of Gronholm, who won his first rallying title after compatriot Tommi Makinen had won the previous four.

The pink-bandana toting Harju was the surprise shot put winner in Sydney, beating a strong field and giving Finland its first Olympic gold in the event since 1920.

Reuters for the IAAF

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