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Thread: Katarina Witt espnW documentary coming in Summer 2013

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    Celebrating the Excellence of #VirtueMoir golden411's Avatar
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    Katarina Witt espnW documentary coming in Summer 2013

    Early programming note for Katarina Witt espnW documentary coming in Summer 2013:

    "The Diplomat" -- Directed by Jennifer Arnold and Senain Kheshgi

    Film summary (from espnW):

    At the height of the Cold War, Katarina Witt became one of East Germany's most famous athletes. Trained in an ice rink that gave rise to socialist heroes, Witt dominated her field by winning six European skating titles, five world championships** and back-to-back Olympic gold medals, becoming arguably the world's best figure skater.

    Known as "the most beautiful face of socialism," her success gave her a unique status in East Germany. It also triggered constant surveillance by the Stasi, East Germany's notorious secret police force. This film chronicles how Witt fought for her future in socialist East Germany, faced the great changes that occurred after the fall of the Berlin wall and ultimately ended up both a beneficiary and victim of the East German regime.

    It is one of the films in espnW's Nine for IX documentary series airing Jul 2 - Aug 27. The films will air over consecutive Tuesday evenings at 8 pm ET.

    http://espn.go.com/espnw/nine-for-ix...ector-diplomat
    http://espnmediazone.com/us/press-re...e-nine-for-ix/

    The wonderful Robin Roberts is an executive producer of the series.

    (BTW, Witt is not the only woman covered in the series who has no apparent connection to Title IX.)

    ETA:
    ** Thanks to skateluvr and Olympia for noting below that espnW's summary has an error. Witt won four world golds (plus two world silvers). Thanks to Silver1998 as well.
    http://www.isu.org/vsite/vfile/page/...-0-file,00.pdf
    Last edited by golden411; 02-22-2013 at 05:35 PM.

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    Wicked Yankee Girl dorispulaski's Avatar
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    I'll be looking forward to this Thank you for telling us about it.

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    Custom Title skateluvr's Avatar
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    I didn't realize it was 5 world titles A beautiful sexy, smart lady who was invincible in her day. While Kwan is similar in drive, Witt really was alone at the tip. MK had people beat her at her best, Tara, Irina, Sarah. Witt was a better competitor than skater I felt, but there was not much she couldn't do. We seem to have forgotten her. I wonder where ahe ranks in the sport. Number two after /Henie? How do we assess a century of women in evolving sport-in flux.

    Your thoughts on KW's true place in history 30 years later?

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    Custom Title FSGMT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skateluvr View Post
    I didn't realize it was 5 world titles A beautiful sexy, smart lady who was invincible in her day. While Kwan is similar in drive, Witt really was alone at the tip. MK had people beat her at her best, Tara, Irina, Sarah. Witt was a better competitor than skater I felt, but there was not much she couldn't do. We seem to have forgotten her. I wonder where ahe ranks in the sport. Number two after /Henie? How do we assess a century of women in evolving sport-in flux.

    Your thoughts on KW's true place in history 30 years later?
    I think that she's second behind Henie: Sonja was unbeatable for 10 years, so this is really something extraordinary, then Witt should be second because she is the only other lady to win two OGMs and she was also a great artist on the ice, even if her jumps were not the best in the world; MK should be in third place, because she didn't win that famous OGM and she wasn't really superior to the others technically nor artistically (even if she is my favourite), like KW, she was the best competitor...

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    That documentary looks wonderful! Thanks so much for the alert.

    I had remembered that Witt won only 4 worlds, and Wiki verifies that. The only "fivers" that I can think of are Kwan and Carol Heiss, iirc. And then of course Sonja Henie has 10. Untouchable forever after, I'd imagine.

    But this is minor. Witt did win those two golds, and no one else has so far, though there's always the possibility of YuNa! Witt did indeed dominate her time, largely because of her competitive spirit. I think she edged out Sumners, but one could safely say that she psyched out Debi Thomas. Debi just fell apart in her long, whereas her short was a model of glorious skating. Witt never crumbled, though her skating was not head and shoulders above everyone else's in technical power or artistry. She deserves her spot as Number 2 after Henie, with no bad reflection on Michelle at all. I don't love Witt more than Michelle, but I do admire her. And I like her immensely as a person. She clearly loved being a skater, and what with the change in political life and her move to America, she was a splendid contributor to the artistic peak of Stars on Ice for years. She also seems to have been a wonderful citizen of the skating community during her pro years, enjoying the company of other skaters, looking out for them (remember that she picked up both skaters in the 1994 practice session crash at the Olympics) and not being a diva at all. Of all the skaters I've watched through the years, she's one of the ones I'd most enjoy chatting with face to face.

    She truly was one of the best competitors ever in the sport. I'm always happy to see her, and I hope she's doing well. Does anyone know details of her current life?

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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Herma Szabo also has five world championships in singles, and two in pairs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Olympia View Post
    She truly was one of the best competitors ever in the sport. I'm always happy to see her, and I hope she's doing well. Does anyone know details of her current life?
    She's always busy with something. She starred in a made for tv movie recently, and as a spokeswoman is promoting Weight Watchers over here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by skateluvr View Post
    I didn't realize it was 5 world titles ...
    Quote Originally Posted by Olympia View Post
    I had remembered that Witt won only 4 worlds ...

    Does anyone know details of her current life?
    Nothing gets by our GS fact-checkers.

    Thanks for noticing that espnW made an error (and I have added a footnote in the OP).

    Witt earned six World medals:
    - gold x 4 (1984-85; 1987-88)
    - silver x 2 (1982 and 1986, when Elaine Zayak and Debi Thomas, respectively, won gold). ETA: Thanks, Silver1998.
    Source:
    http://www.isu.org/vsite/vfile/page/...-0-file,00.pdf

    Some links as FYIs for Olympia:
    Witt's website (English-language version) http://en.katarina-witt.de/
    https://twitter.com/Katarina_Witt

    ETA:
    The bio on Witt's website correctly says that she became World Champion four times. Too bad that espnW hadn't simply gotten its information there.
    Last edited by golden411; 02-22-2013 at 05:42 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    Herma Szabo also has five world championships in singles, and two in pairs.
    Thanks, Math. Wow, that's impressive, world championships in two disciplines. I see in Wiki that she also won the 1924 Olympics in singles, and that she came from a skating family. In those days, it wasn't so easy to be a second-generation skating champion because skating was such a young sport.

    Hmmm. She's the one who was defeated by Sonja Henie partly because there were three Norwegian judges, which disillusioned Szabo and caused her to retire from skating. So maybe Henie wasn't the only splendid skater of her time. If Szabo had continued, maybe there would have been an interesting rivalry. Either way, there's no discounting the fact that both Henie and Szabo were way out in front of almost anyone else, partly because very few girls had the opportunity to train for any sport at such a high level for long enough to make their way into world-class competition.

    I'm glad to have all the information about Witt. She's someone I always wish well and enjoy seeing out there.

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    Rinkside
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    Katarina also won a World silver in 1982 behind Elaine Zayak. It was the beginning of quite an impressive run! I respect Katarina immensely as a competitor. By 1988, others were catching up and surpassing her technically, but she delivered when it counted. She had nerves of steel! She also had a fiery, exciting competitive flare that came through beautifully in her performances. She was certainly never boring to watch back in those days.

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    Quote Originally Posted by skateluvr View Post
    I didn't realize it was 5 world titles A beautiful sexy, smart lady who was invincible in her day. While Kwan is similar in drive, Witt really was alone at the tip. MK had people beat her at her best, Tara, Irina, Sarah. Witt was a better competitor than skater I felt, but there was not much she couldn't do. We seem to have forgotten her. I wonder where ahe ranks in the sport. Number two after /Henie? How do we assess a century of women in evolving sport-in flux.

    Your thoughts on KW's true place in history 30 years later?
    I think Katarina won 4 world titles, not 5. Am I wrong?

    ETA: I just read the corrections--4, not 5. Katarina has the best competitive record after Henie. Does that make her the best (or second-best) skater ever? I don't think so. But I do remember watching her in the Olympics back in the day. She was a great performer as well as a great competitor.
    Last edited by jenaj; 02-22-2013 at 01:44 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jenaj View Post
    ETA: I just read the corrections--4, not 5. Katarina has the best competitive record after Henie. Does that make her the best (or second-best) skater ever? I don't think so. But I do remember watching her in the Olympics back in the day. She was a great performer as well as a great competitor.
    You just brought up an important distinction. Having the best competitive record doesn't always mean being the best skater. Kurt Browning never won an Olympic medal of any color, in three tries, and he is one of the best male skaters ever, both technically and artistically. And then there's Midori Ito, who stands head and shoulders above most other women in certain important categories, and she has one World gold and one Olympic silver. Janet Lynn and Toller Cranston are two skaters who are arguably among the greats—both genuine pathfinders as well as strong technical and artistic skaters—and neither ever won a World gold or an Olympic gold. It's interesting that when we come up with our various lists of best ladies skaters ever, whether it's in terms of jumps or skating skills or whatever, Witt is rarely on the list unless we're considering medal counts. Nothing against her, but in terms of skaters I remember with gooseflesh or amazement, she doesn't break the top five.

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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Olympia View Post
    I see in Wiki that [Herma Szabo] also won the 1924 Olympics in singles, and that she came from a skating family. In those days, it wasn't so easy to be a second-generation skating champion because skating was such a young sport.
    Here is Szabo at the 1924 Olympics, together with Sonia Henie, age 11.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7HByUOyu0u0

    Just to show how far the sport has come, here is Mao Asada, age 10.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9qmv-Y4UWP4

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    Custom Title plushyfan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Olympia View Post
    It's interesting that when we come up with our various lists of best ladies skaters ever, whether it's in terms of jumps or skating skills or whatever, Witt is rarely on the list unless we're considering medal counts. Nothing against her, but in terms of skaters I remember with gooseflesh or amazement, she doesn't break the top five.
    Don't get me wrong. Witt rarely on the list, because it's a North-Am forum.

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    Custom Title plushyfan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    Here is Szabo at the 1924 Olympics, together with Sonia Henie, age 11.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7HByUOyu0u0

    Just to show how far the sport has come, here is Mao Asada, age 10.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9qmv-Y4UWP4
    Huge difference!!!

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