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Lisa Westerhof & Lobke Berkhout (NED)

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Factfile

Name Lisa Westerhof
Lobke Berkhout
Nation Netherlands (NED)
Date of Birth 2 November 1981
11 November 1980
Place of Birth Bosch en Duein, NED
Amsterdam, NED
Website http://www.olympiceyecatchers.com

Lisa Westerhof and Lobke Berkhout make a formidable team and although they may not have a long history sailing together they have a talent to make it count when it matters. Teaming up in May 2009, the goal for this team is Olympic gold in 2012.

Westerhof and Berkhout kicked off the nomination period with a win at the 2009 Skandia Sail for Gold before going on to sail at five of the 2009-2010 ISAF Sailing World Cup regattas. Their best performance was on home waters at Delta Lloyd Regatta where they won the silver medal in May.

The main target for this team in 2010 was the 470 World Championships at The Hague. The defending champions were set to make history if they could take home another gold medal and in a regatta that threw extreme conditions at the sailors, they showed their class. Going into the Medal Race one point behind the leaders, Westerhof and Berkhout sailed a tactical race to secure their gold medal. Two world titles for Westerhof is an exceptional achievement and the 2010 win for Berkhout makes her the most successful 470 sailor in the history of the class with five world titles.

Westerhof combines her sailing career with her professional career as an airline pilot, while Berkhout is dedicated to the future of the sport, working with children around the world to inspire them to take up sailing.

470 - Women's Two Person Dinghy

1 - Skandia Sail For Gold Regatta, Weymouth & Portland, GBR - ISAF Grade 2 - September 2009
9 - US SAILING's Rolex Miami OCR, Miami, USA - ISAF Grade 1 - January 2010
15 - Trofeo SAR Princess Sofia MAPFRE, Palma de Majorca, ESP - ISAF Grade 1 - March 2010
15 - Semaine Olympique Francaise, Hyères, FRA - ISAF Grade 1 - April 2010
2 - Delta Lloyd Regatta, Medemblik, NED - ISAF Grade 1 - May 2010
1 - 470 Women's World Championship, Hague, NED - ISAF Grade W - July 2010
5 - Skandia Sail For Gold Regatta, Weymouth & Portland, GBR - ISAF Grade 2 - August 2010
8th overall 2009-2010 ISAF Sailing World Cup

Q&A
What inspired you to take up sailing?

Lisa: Adventure, competing with and against the elements, training and racing outdoors. It is a complex and demanding sport in many ways.
Lobke: I was raised in a sailing family. My grandfather was already skipper of the 'groene draek', the ship of the royal family. Very young we went with our parents on holidays with our ship. On my 8th birthday I got an Optimist with my brother and together, with all our friends, we started sailing. My family have always been sport freaks. When I was 8, I saw the Olympic Games and saw a Dutch female ice-skater win three gold medals. This is where my Olympic dream began.

What was the first boat you ever sailed and how old were you?

Lisa: an Optimist when I was 6
Lobke: an Optimist when I was 8

Name your first sailing club

Lisa: Het Witte Huis, Loosdrecht, Netherlands
Lobke: Watersportvereninging Hoorn, WSV Hoorn

What was the first event you competed in and in what year?

Lisa: 1990 - Club Racing, 1991 - French Optimist Nationals, 1992 - Dutch Optimist Circuit, 1993 - European Optimist Championship
Lobke: My first event was the Combi Zuiderzee - a series of regattas during the year on the lakes in Holland. I was 8 years old in 1989. In 1994 I became European Champion in the Optmist

What are you personal sailing career highlights?

Lisa: Optimist World Champion (boys and girls) in 1996 in South Africa and winning the 470 World Championship in 2009 and 2010
Lobke: 470 World Champion with Marcelien de Koning in 2005, 2006 and 2007. Olympic Silver Medal in 2008, 470 World Champion in 2009 and 2010 with Lisa. This makes me a record holder in the 470 class.

What are your future sailing goals?

Lisa: Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championship and 2012 Olympic Games
Lobke: to win a gold medal at the 2012 Olympic Games. Next to this, it is important to me to get my country or even the World enthusiastic for sailing. Therefore I do a lot of work with children. In October I am going to the India International Regatta to be a role-model for children who are starting to learn to sail.

Who has had the greatest impact on your sailing and career and why?

Lisa: My parents during my Optimist years - weekend after weekend, holiday after holiday, year after year they took me to every race and training. They invested every free minute in me and my brother. From 1998 on my boyfriend Gunnar has always been there for me, to support me but also to give a critical opinion to my desires in life.
Lobke: First of all my parents have invested a lot of time and money in my sailing career. And still they are my biggest fans! Then Marcelien de Koning, my former skipper, and Jacco Koops, my coach, because we have spend so much time together and had so much trust in each other. We had a great Olympic campaign together. Lisa Westerhof, my skipper, who took the challenge to start an Olympic campaign with me beside a busy job as an airline pilot for KLM. She is so devoted to everything she does. She is a real Olympic athlete! Everything she does is lined up for this one and only goal: an Olympic medal. And Dennis van der Laan, my boyfriend but also the manager of our Team Olympiceyecatchers. Together with him I made the decision to continue an Olympic campaign and that has been the best decsion ever! I still enjoy sailing so much and I am really looking forward to the coming two years to the Olympics. Dennis manages our campaign really well. We have so many people following our achievements and being part of our adventures. We have plans to take more than 150 people to London in 2012 to se us live at the Games. This all because of his professional approach.

Who is your sailing hero?

Lisa: Torben Grael and Ben Ainslie
Lobke: Ben Ainslie - he is a legend!

What other sports do you enjoy?

Lisa: Kitesurfing, skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking and hiking in beautiful nature
Lobke: Outdoor sports like biking, skeelering, running, climbing and also aerobics

What does being nominated for the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards mean to you and how would you feel if you were voted the winner?

Lobke: It is a great honour to be nominated for this award. Sailing is such a big and diverse sport around the world, it is an honour to be one of those selected who have achieved something extraordinary in our sport. Winning the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Award would be a true recognition for our achievements all across the world. Taking a look at th winners of this prestigious award, these are all legends in our sport. To become one of them is truely an unthinkable recognition to me!

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