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WOODS, HINGIS HONORED AS TOP ATHLETES OF YEAR

The young rose to the top of the sports world in 1997. Phenoms Tiger Woods and Martina Hingis earned the Associated Press Athlete of the Year Awards.

Woods, who turned 22 today, became the first golfer voted male Athlete of the Year in 26 years. He won the Masters in April and was the first PGA Tour player to win more than $2 million in a year.

Woods finished with 231 points in the voting to easily outdistance Detroit Lions running back Barry Sanders, who had 100 points, and Evander Holyfield, third with 98 points. Fourth was Michael Jordan, followed by Brett Favre.

Hingis, 17, won three of the four tournaments that make up tennis' Grand Slam. Hingis became the youngest winner of the Australian Open, the youngest at Wimbledon in 110 years and the second-youngest winner of the U.S. Open, after Tracy Austin in 1979.

Hingis received 92 first-place votes and a total of 363 points. Golfer Annika Sorenstam finished second with 20 first-place votes and 178 points. Soccer player Mia Hamm was third with nine first-place votes and 95 points, and basketball star Chamique Holdsclaw received 8 first-place votes and 69 points. Basketball player Cynthia Cooper was fifth with 67 points.

"1997 was a dream come true for me," the 17-year-old Hingis said from her home in Switzerland. "I still sometimes can't even believe it."

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