KATARINA WITT Biography - Famous Sports men and women


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Name: Katarina Witt                                                                     
Born: 3 December 1965                                                                   
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.                                                                     
She won two Olympic gold medals for East Germany, first in the 1984 Sarajevo           
Olympics and the second in 1988 at the Calgary Olympics. She won the World             
Championships in 1984, 1985, 1987, and 1988, and six consecutive European               
Championships (1983–1988). Her competitive record makes her one of the most           
successful figure skaters of all time.                                                 
Katarina Witt was born in Staaken in then-East Germany, just outside of West           
Berlin, which is today part of Berlin. She went to school in Karl-Marx-Stadt (which     
today has reverted to its pre-war name of Chemnitz). There she attended a               
special school for sports-talented children, named Kinder- und Jugendsportschule.       
She represented the club SC Karl-Marx-Stadt for the GDR (East Germany). Jutta           
Müller began coaching her in 1977.                                                     
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.       
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. Later she continued         
at Holiday on Ice in the United States and in Western Europe.                           
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 1994, she made a comeback to the competitive skating scene. She was again           
coached by Jutta Müller and qualified for the 1994 Winter Olympics in                 
Lillehammer, where she finished 7th. Her appearance in the Olympics was more           
about celebrating the joy of freedom in East Germany than in hopes of winning a         
medal. Much-noted was her free program to the music “Sag mir wo die Blumen sind”   
(an arrangement of the Pete Seeger folksong "Where Have All the Flowers Gone"),         
considered remarkable for its artistic impression, including a peace message for       
the people of Sarajevo (the site of her first Olympic victory). She received the       
Golden Camera for her Olympic comeback. In the same year she published her             
autobiography Meine Jahre zwischen Pflicht und Kür (My Years between                   
Compulsories and Freestyle).                                                           
In 1995, she was inducted into the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame.                   
In 1996, she had a cameo role in the movie Jerry Maguire.                               
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.) Many         
were surprised by the inclusion of full-frontal nudity in the Witt pictorial.           
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..                               
In 1999, she was voted "Favorite Female Athlete in the United States," as well         
as "Favorite Female Skater of the Century."[citation needed]                           
Witt has been known for her beauty and sex appeal as well as for her athleticism.       
Time magazine called her “the most beautiful face of socialism.” At the peak of     
her career, she was thought by some to resemble Brooke Shields, both of whom           
were in their late teens / early 20s at the time.                                       
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.                                                 
In November 2005, she published a novel, Only with Passion, in which she offers         
advice to a fictional young skater based on her many years of skating. Since           
October 2006, she has her own TV-show at the German TV-station ProSieben Stars         
auf Eis (Stars on Ice).                                                                 
On 7 July, 2007, Witt presented at the German leg of Live Earth in Hamburg.