Five time Olympian Barbara Kendall, one of New Zealand’s most successful sportswomen, has been made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit.
Kendall won a gold medal in boardsailing, also known as windsurfing, at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, a silver medal at the 1996 Atlanta Games and completed the set at Sydney in 2000 with a bronze medal.
Kendall took up boardsailing in 1984, when she was 17.
Her gold medal at Barcelona eight years later was the first for a New Zealand woman since Yvette Williams won gold in the long jump at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics.
She bowed out of Olympic competition at Beijing in 2008 with a sixth placing at 40 years old becoming the first New Zealand woman to compete at five Olympics.
She retired from boardsailing in 2010, after 24 years at the top of her sport.
For 12 years she has been representing New Zealand on the International Olympic Committee’s Athletes Commission, Woman in Sport and Sport and Environment Commissions. She has also served on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s Athletes Commission.
She was a member of the New Zealand Athletes Commission for 26 years and chaired the Oceania Athletes Commission for 12 years.
Currently she chairs the Association of National Olympic Committee’s Athletes Commission and is the Vice President on the International Surfing Association.
During her time as an international commission athlete leader she focused on developing a career programme to empower athletes for their future.
Kendall said she was honoured to be recognised, but it was her love for sport that kept her involved.
“When you love what you do and you give it everything that you’ve got, you don’t really think about all those sorts of things [awards/honours].
“When it does happen you just feel really amazing to be recognised, you know for over the last 14 years and all the work that I’ve done overseas in international sport and the last 20 years being on the New Zealand Olympic Committee’s Athletes Commission. So all that stuff you just absolutely love, and being recognised for that is really amazing.”