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The year in review and the future (and Merry Christmas all!)

Christmas letter 2000 December 20th HI AllWell the end of year has come around so quick it is frightening.I thought it would never come at the beginning as the Olympics were on the count down, now this last 2 months have flown and it’s more like “what Olympics?”It is hard to believe that now I have been in the sport 14 years and I still enjoy it and in fact 2 weeks after returning from the games was back out on the water at Orewa wavesailing!I would have to say that windsurfing has been put a wee bit on the back burner as kite surfing is starting to infiltrate our lives.The first week in December Red Bull sponsored an international kite surfing event up at Mangawhai heads, I was asked to be a judge. That was funny in its self, as I had never seen the good guys doing their thing, little own tried it myself. We sailed our 42 ft Trimaran up there and parked ourselves in the estuary there to be welcomed by these flying men who spent the next week jumping clean over the back of our boat and not one of them landed in the rigging. It was unbelievable to watch and within 5 seconds I was hooked and had to try the sport!Needless to say I now own a board and kite and seem to be very good at body dragging so far. Shayne has had quite a bit more experience than I and is already doing 30-ft jumps.It is quite cool to find something new that gets the same juices pumping that windsurfing did those many years ago – shame we’re not 15 years younger!Since we got home from the Olympics I have been incredibly busy travelling up and down the countryside talking to whoever will listen and getting quite the reception sometimes even standing ovations – it must be something to do with 3 Olympic medals and being blonde I reckon! (Or maybe the frocks I am wearing).It has been great to see NZ and get back into the districts that true blue classic Kiwi’s come from, sure makes you proud to be a kiwi. Shayne has been going like a mad thing on our section; he is in his element in his tractor-pushing dirt around. Actually he has been in 7th heaven, the day we got home we found our road was in the process of being sealed, we did live on a gravel road that was nasty in the summer as road dust would blow right over and into the house. So Shayne got friendly with the boys and they have been using our place to dump their excess dirt. Now instead of a steep hill we have a rugby field at the bottom of our section, we have also formed another driveway to the couple of acres we have at the very bottom of our section ready to do something with. They have also concreted our driveway and retained all the way around our property and there is now a footpath. It all look so posh, we can’t really be hippies any more. I think the highlight was coming home from talking one day to see farmer Bright living every boys dream driving a real life 10 ton digger all for a couple of cases of beer!As I drift back and think about the Olympics my lasting memories of the Olympics were:The treat to have Shayne fully accredited and to share all those experiences with him. The amazing sense of relief on the 2nd to last day after race 9 to know that I was going to win a medal. That is a feeling I will never forget.Then receiving the medal and the sheer excitement of having my mum and dad and some of my special friends there to see it all happen. When we were racing we were sailing so close to the land and hearing the screaming spectators and knowing that the yells were coming from your best mates. Being in the stadium Australia to watch the athletics on one of the final nights and hearing the Aussies yelling for other Aussies who were competing, it was deafening.Of course the closing ceremony and to know that tomorrow you were home and it was finished and life began again.I have had incredible support over this last year and it has been really, really appreciated. At times I was so close to just giving up but now it was all worth while. As my mum said “ nothing good comes easy and the harder you work for it the better it feels” and she is always dead right!Big thankyou’s to all who helped financially, emotionally, and physically and those who just even thought about it!Shayne and I are off to the barrier on Friday for a couple of weeks then we will back just in time for me to sail in the Hobie Cat Nationals with Grant Beck (coach).I plan to do a few windsurfing events next year; not sure what it will be a spontaneity thing.I haven’t decided about the next Olympics next, I know what it takes to do a campaign and it is a huge, huge commitment. I may look at switching classes and sailing a 470 or a women’s keelboat. I need another 6 months to think about that.In the meantime I am contracted to do work for the Hillary Commission next year in High Schools and have some very exciting plans for another wee business. That will be next year’s installment.So I hope everyone has a great Christmas Holiday and the New Year lets your dreams all come true.HO HO HOBarbara and Shayne

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