Katarina Witt Speaker Profile
Katarina Witt Biography
Katarina Witt was born December 3, 1965 and is a German figure skater and model. In Germany she was commonly 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 four times (in 1984, 1985, 1987 and 1988), and six consecutive European Championships (19831988). She won silver medals at both the 1982 and 1986 World Figure Skating Championships. Her competitive record makes her one of the most successful figure skaters of all time.
In 1988, Witt won her sixth consecutive European Championship, equalling the achievement of Sonja Henie as the most successful Ladies Skater at the European Championships. While Witt's and Henie's number of European titles have been surpassed since by Irina Slutskaya, she retains the record of most consecutive European titles, sharing it with Henie.
Both Witt and Thomas were favoured contenders in the 1988 Olympic Games. 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 four 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 three of her planned five triple jumps. Canadian skater Elizabeth Manley won the long program, but Witt retained her Olympic title based on her overall scores (she had finished ahead of Manley in both the compulsory figures and the short program). Witt became only the second woman in figure skating history (after Sonja Henie) to defend her Olympic title. To honour her and her win in Calgary North Korea issued miniature sheets with three large pictures of Witt on the ice.
Witt is known for her beauty and sex appeal as well as for her athleticism. Time magazine called her the most beautiful face of socialism.
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