Sailing duo Zegers-Berkhout lives as a couple to play: ‘you have to become one’



For sailing duo Afrodite Zegers and Lobke Berkhout, the postponement of the Games was a blessing in disguise. Because the two decided only shortly before the Games of 2020 to get into the boat together, in the 470 class, the preparation for Tokyo was tight. The sudden year extra because of the corona pandemic also meant a year longer to get used to each other.

“In the 470 you really have to become one as two people,” says the experienced Berkhout. And that is precisely what the duo now had the time for and came up with an interesting solution. Zegers went to live with Berkhout and her daughter together with her dog. “That allowed us to continue to train together. We were a kind of married couple,” said Zegers.

Missing gold

Because the matches and training sessions were canceled, the duo started to delve into communication. “Sometimes the words have to come out in a certain way. Not complete sentences, because then it becomes a confused story,” says Berkhout. “We have come to understand each other better.”

Zegers: “The words used and the tone, but also the moment.” The duo analyzed the communication down to the last detail and that has paid off. Berkhout is looking forward with confidence to the Games, which are scheduled for this summer.

For her, it is also the opportunity to add that missing gold Olympic medal to her impressive record. “This extra year will make us even more stable. If I look at how we are now sailing around here compared to the very best teams in the world, then we are either wrong or ahead”, the five-time world champion concludes with determination.

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