Barbara Kendall calls time on career

Last updated 10:29 10/05/2010
New Zealand's Barbara Kendall competes at the 2004 Athens Olympics.
Reuters

ALL OVER: New Zealand's Barbara Kendall competes at the 2004 Athens Olympics. The five-time Olympian has announced her retirement.

Kiwi Olympian Barbara Kendall retires

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Barbara Kendall, one of New Zealand's most decorated Olympians, has retired from competitive boardsailing after a glittering career spanning 24 years.

Kendall, 42, announced her retirement in a statement today, having competed in five Olympics and won gold, silver and bronze medals.

"After 24 years I'd lost the passion for competing. I used to be consumed by it, and when I got back out there I was waiting for that feeling to come back, and it just didn't. I felt tired, and had nothing left," Kendall said.

She competed at her fifth Olympics in Beijing in 2008, finishing sixth, the same year she claimed silver at the world championships which showed she could still foot it with the world's best.

Kendall, whose brother Bruce also won Olympic gold on the water, became a household name in New Zealand when she won gold at her first Olympics in Barcelona in 1992, claimed silver in Atlanta four years later and bronze in Sydney in 2000.

She also won world championships in 1998, 1999 and 2002, along with four consecutive silver medals between 2003-2008.

Kendall was also a four-time New Zealand sports woman of the year.

"There have been so many highlights, that's why I did it for so long," she said.

"Winning Olympic Gold was a big highlight, but then that seemed to pale when I went and won the world championships after just having a baby. Those high points just kept coming.

"I miss it, I miss parts of that lifestyle. But sometimes you have to close one door before you know what comes next for you. I feel lucky that I could come to the decision for myself, I wasn't forced into retirement by injury or pushed out by the younger girls or overtaken."

Kendall, a mother of two daughters Samantha and Aimee, said she would now put more time into her predominantly voluntary roles with the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

She sits on the IOC's athletes commission, and is also on the IOC's women and sport commission.

Kendall also holds two positions with the Oceania Olympic Committee as an executive board member, and the president of their athletes' commission.

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- NZPA

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