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    One Year to the day - Kimberley
    Posted On:  08/08/2003 08:08:10

    Kimberly Birkenfeld had it all at 37 - an MBA from Harvard, a successful
    consulting business, the No. 1 ranking among women windsurfers on the U.S.
    Sailing Team, all leading into a week with her boyfriend Magnus Liljedahl
    at his birthplace in Sweden.

    After a flight together to Amsterdam, where they parted, he returned to his
    adopted home in America to sail in the Nautica Star Worlds at Marina del
    Rey. She went on to the pre-Olympic regatta at Athens.

    "It was the epitome of my sailing career," she said. "I couldn't have been
    happier that I had earned the right to represent the [U.S.] in the Olympic
    test event. I had everything lined up. Then the next thing I knew I woke up
    in Oregon."

    Aug. 8, 2002, a year ago today from this publication date, was the day
    Birkenfeld's life crashed. She didn't feel a thing. She remembers nothing.

    About a half-hour before a race start, she was involved in a violent
    collision with a rival team's inflatable chase boat. It was piloted by
    Bruce Kendall, a New Zealand coach and former Olympic gold and bronze
    medallist. There were no witnesses - none who came forward, anyway - other
    than Julia Conrad, a German windsurfer who was riding along with Kendall.

    Birkenfeld suffered severe traumatic brain injury, spinal-cord injury, and
    the effects of nearly drowning. Doctors told her that only her athletic
    fitness kept her alive.

    Kendall told Greek authorities that he turned his boat and saw a sailor
    coming right at him. Conrad supported that account. Birkenfeld, in a coma
    for a month and unable to think clearly long after, was in no position to
    dispute them. Until now.

    There's more at: http://www.yachtracing.com/PressReleases/thelog-080803.htm