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Katarina Witt

Real name: Katarina Witt
Birthdate: December 3, 1965
Status: N/A
Partner: N/A

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Biography

Katarina Witt (born December 3, 1965) is a German figure skater, in Germany she was commonly affectionately called "Kati" in the past, but today her full name is used more often.

In 1984, Katarina Witt was voted "GDR female athlete of the year" by the readers of the East German newspaper junge Welt. She narrowly won the 1984 Olympic title over the favored contender, reigning World champion Rosalynn Sumners of the United States. Witt and Sumners held the top two spots heading into the Olympic free skate, worth 50% of the total score. Witt landed three triple jumps in her free skate program (or long program), and the judges left room for Sumners to win the event, but Sumners scaled back two of her jumps, and Witt won the long program by one tenth of a point on one judge's scorecard.

In 1987, Witt recaptured the World Championship title, which she had lost the previous year to Debi Thomas. Many consider her performance at this event to be the finest of her career. Witt only finished fifth in compulsory figures, which meant that Thomas could finish second in both the short and long programs and still retain the world title. However, a costly error by Thomas in the short program put the two skaters on a level playing field heading into the free skate. Witt skated the strongest long program of her career, landing 5 triple jumps, including a triple loop jump. Although Thomas also skated a strong long program, Witt was ranked first by the majority of the 9 judges and thus reclaimed the world title.

Both Witt and Thomas were the favored contenders for the 1988 Olympic title. Their rivalry was known as the "Battle of the Carmens", as each woman had independently elected to skate her long program to music from Bizet's opera Carmen. They held the top two spots after the compulsory figures and the short program. Witt skated her long program well, but not spectacularly, landing 4 triple jumps and downgrading her planned triple loop jump to a double loop. This left room for Thomas to win the long program, but Thomas skated poorly, missing 3 of her planned 5 triple jumps. Canadian skater Elizabeth Manley actually won the long program, but Katarina Witt retained her Olympic title based on her overall scores (she had finished ahead of Elizabeth Manley in both the compulsory figures and the short program). Katarina Witt became only the second woman in figure skating history (after Sonja Henie) to defend her Olympic title.

She also became an actress in the film Carmen on Ice (1989), which expanded upon her gold medal freestyle routine at Calgary. In 1990, she received an Emmy Award for her role in this film.

Witt's taste in figure skating costumes sometimes raised eyebrows. At the 1983 European championships she skated her Mozart short program in knee breeches instead of a skirt. Her blue skirtless feather-trimmed 1988 costume for a showgirl-themed short program was considered too theatrical and sexy, and led to a change in the ISU regulations which required female skaters to wear more modest clothing including skirts. In 1994, skating a Robin Hood-themed program, she again pushed the boundaries of the costume regulations by wearing not a skirt but a short tunic over leggings.

Following the dissolution of East Germany, Ministerium für Staatssicherheit (Stasi) secret police files revealed Witt to be a state informant.



 


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