The only New Zealand woman to compete in five Olympic Games

Barbara Kendall was the first New Zealand woman to win an Olympic boardsailing medal, at Barcelona in 1992. It was the only gold medal won by the country at those games and the first time a Kiwi woman had won gold since Yvette Williams, 40 years earlier.

It was the first year the sport was on the Olympic programme for women and Kendall's prowess on the Lechner class board led to her being carried aloft from the water after the final race.

Not content with that, Kendall followed up with silver and bronze medals at the 1996 and 2000 Olympics. In 2004 and 2008, she finished fifth and sixth to complete a remarkable career at the top of the game.

Kendall was raised in Bucklands Beach, with the water just a stone's throw from her home.


She followed in her brother Bruce's footsteps after he won the boardsailing gold medal at Seoul in 1988, making the Kendalls the only Kiwi siblings to have both won Olympic gold medals.

Kendall was made an MBE in 1993 and from 2005 to 2008 was the Oceania athletes' representative on the International Olympic Committee.

Kendall, who retired from competitive boardsailing in 2010, was elected an IOC member in 2011 and now sits on a range of commissions for the organisation.

Her importance lies in having paved a way for women in boardsailing and as a forthright member of the IOC, ensuring a woman's voice with a New Zealand accent within the organisation.