Rushcutters Bay, 24 September 2000, Games of the XXVII Olympiad. Women's sailing, Mistral windsurfer event: Barbara KENDALL of New Zealand celebrates her bronze medal in the final race. Credit : Getty Images/Phil Walter
Born: 30 August 1967
Birthplace: Papakura – Auckland (New Zealand)
Nationality: New Zealand
ATTENDANCE AT THE OLYMPIC GAMES
World Championships (Mistral)
Gold: 3 (98, 99, 2002)
Silver: 2 (2003, 2004)
Bronze: 1 (1997)
An extraordinary windsurfer
This former dance school manager embarked on the professional windsurfing circuit in 1987, seven years after her debut in the junior category, The first of her four world championship titles convinced her to pursue her career in sailing, an area in which she had been immersed since childhood.
Barbara Kendall took part in her first Olympic Games in 1992 in Barcelona. In the "lechner" board category, she took her first Olympic title at the end of 10 regattas. This title was already a feat in itself, as it was the first for a female New Zealand athlete for 40 years. It also allowed Barbara to equal her brother Anthony Bruce, himself an Olympic windsurfing champion in 1988 and bronze medallist in 1984 (when it was a demonstration discipline).
At the Atlanta Olympic Games in 1996, the competitions took place in the "mistral" category. This change in no way affected Barbara's performance, as she came second in the competition behind Lai Shan Lee of Hong Kong. This silver medal earned her the title of Athlete of the Year in her country, a title awarded to her on two other occasions.
For her third Olympic Games, in Sydney, Barbara Kendall took her third medal, this time a bronze, behind Italy's Alessandra Sensini, Olympic champion, and Germany's Amelie Lux. On this occasion she became one of the three female athletes with the most medals in sailing, alongside Ukraine's Ruslana Taran and Alessandra Sensini.
At the age of 36, the Athens Games marked her fourth Olympic participation. Two poor results in regattas n°3 and n°5 meant that her handicap was too large to be able to take part in the fight for the Olympic title. Despite her three victories over the 11 rounds of the competition, her Games ended with a fifth-place result.
Besides her sports career, Barbara Kendall devotes herself to many activities in the administration of her sport. Since 2005, she has also been a member of the IOC and its Athletes' Commission. Today, she is taking up a new challenge: to represent her country for the fifth time at the Games of the XXIX Olympiad, which will be held in Beijing in 2008.