Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Katarina Witt

Born December 3, 1965
Katarina Witt 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.

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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.

In 1988, Witt started a professional career, which was very unusual for East German athletes. At first she spent three years on tour in the United States with Brian Boitano, also a gold medalist in figure skating. Their show "Witt and Boitano Skating" was so successful that for the first time in ten years, New York's Madison Square Garden was sold out for an ice show.

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.

In 1995, she was inducted into the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame.

In December 1998, Witt posed nude for Playboy Magazine. The issue in which these photos were published was the second sold-out issue of this magazine. (The first sold-out issue was the inaugural one including photos of Marilyn Monroe.) Also in 1998, Witt appeared in the movie Ronin with a small supporting role and several lines of script. Around this time, she also played a villain in an episode of the tongue-in-cheek television series, V.I.P..

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.

Witt has been invited to Istanbul as an honored guest for a popular skating competition TV show called Buzda Dans (Dance on Ice). The competition took place on February 25, 2007.

Olympic Winter Games
Gold 1988 Calgary Ladies' singles
Gold 1984 Sarajevo Ladies' singles
World Championships
Gold 1988 Budapest Ladies' singles
Gold 1987 Cincinnati Ladies' singles
Silver 1986 Geneva Ladies' singles
Gold 1985 Tokyo Ladies' singles
Gold 1984 Ottawa Ladies' singles
Silver 1982 Copenhagen Ladies' singles

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