Katarina Witt Biography

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     Katarina Witt was born in Karl-Marx-Stadt, in former East Germany, on December 3, 1965. Witt began skating at the age of five and her inherent ability was evident immediately. At the Sport Club in Karl-Marx-Stadt, young Katarina went to school while she learned to skate under the tutelage of Bernd Egert. When she was nine, Witt was placed under the coaching direction of one of Germany's most prominent skating coaches, Jutta Müller. She eventually started spending four hours a day on the ice, sacrificing leisure time and family life to the sport she grew to love. Under Müller's coaching, Witt's talents expanded, and at age 11 she landed her first triple jump. At age 14, she finished tenth in the 1980 world championships, and after winning two European titles, she burst into international stardom by taking the gold medal at the 1984 Winter Olympic Games in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia (now in Bosnia and Herzegovina). Witt dominated the figure skating world for the next several years, winning the world titles in 1984, 1985, 1987, and 1988. At the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, Alberta, she became the first figure skater since Sonja Henie (in 1932) to win a second Olympic gold medal. She turned professional in the summer of 1988 and could not participate in the 1992 Winter Olympics; Witt maintained her place in the public eye as a CBS television commentator for the figure skating competition. When professional skaters were admitted into Olympic competition, she returned to skate in the 1994 Olympic Games at Lillehammer, Norway. Although Witt did not place very high, she was a sentimental favorite of the crowd. Witt's skating was admired for its athletic prowess, but her greatest strength was her free skating. She had a charismatic appeal to crowd and judges alike, and her grace, elegance, and flirtatious manner won her international acclaim. 

     Katarina has enjoyed continued success as a professional, touring North America with several figure skating shows including 'Skating I & II" in which she starred with Brian Boitano. She made her skating debut with "Discover Card Stars on Ice" in April 1994 and joined the cast full time for the 1994-95 season. Witt will be a cast member for the first half of the 1997-98 season of "Discover Stars on Ice."

      In recent years, Witt has become a media fixture lending her talents to television, motion pictures and sports commentary. In 1990, she won an Emmy Award for her starring performance in the title role of HBO's "Carmen on Ice". She also starred in the CBC-TV special "Women in Red", which was broadcast in 1991 throughout Europe and Canada. Witt and HBO co-produced a modern adaptation of the classic "Cinderella", called "Ice Princess". She had a cameo in the movies "Jerry Maguire", and currently "Ronin". Witt has also made appearances on HBO's show called "Arliss", and as a caller on "Frasier". She now draws more attention as she currently graces the cover of the December 1998 issue of Playboy with a ten-page pictorial inside. In the near future, Katarina Witt will be returning the ice.

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