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Thread: Katarina Witt espnW documentary coming Tue Aug 6

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    Missing Tdizzle and SDiggity golden411's Avatar
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    Katarina Witt espnW documentary coming Tue Aug 6

    While it's on my mind again:

    Tue Aug 6 is the air date for "The Diplomat," the espnW documentary about Katarina Witt.

    The previous thread with early information about the doc now lives in the GS archives:

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    Missing Tdizzle and SDiggity golden411's Avatar
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    Nine For IX: Exclusive Clip From 'The Diplomat'

    "In an exclusive clip from the Nine for IX film "The Diplomat," the East German Stasi files are made public and Katarina Witt sees that she had been spied on by close friends since she was 7 years old. "The Diplomat" premieres August 6 on ESPN 8 p.m. ET."

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    Nine For IX: Exclusive Clip From 'The Diplomat' [preview clip #2]

    "In an exclusive clip from the Nine for IX film "The Diplomat," Katarina Witt trains to be a champion as a young girl in East Germany. "The Diplomat" premieres Aug. 6 on ESPN (8 p.m. ET)."

    This second clip includes vintage video of young Kati training under Frau Mueller, e.g., as they work with a harness. 1:19 in length.

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    I wonder how the athletes for this series were chosen. Katarina is a fascinating topic naturally, but for a US media outlet, I would imagine a documentary on some of the events which triggered explosive popularity for women's skating (like one of the obvious choices - Nancy v. Tonya) might have been a choice which would have generated broader interest amongst US viewers. Don't get me wrong. I think Katarina's story is remarkable and she is a great choice for a documentary etc (particularly should it include the issues she had to address as an athlete vis a vis Stasi etc. at the time). Just puzzled - a bit - by ESPN's choice.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lcd View Post
    I wonder how the athletes for this series were chosen. Katarina is a fascinating topic naturally, but for a US media outlet, I would imagine a documentary on some of the events which triggered explosive popularity for women's skating (like one of the obvious choices - Nancy v. Tonya) might have been a choice which would have generated broader interest amongst US viewers. Don't get me wrong. I think Katarina's story is remarkable and she is a great choice for a documentary etc (particularly should it include the issues she had to address as an athlete vis a vis Stasi etc. at the time). Just puzzled - a bit - by ESPN's choice.
    ESPN does have a documentary re Kerrigan/Harding in the works for Nov 5.
    (Note: it is not part of this espnW Nine for IX series on women and sports, which does not focus solely on athletes, BTW. Other topics include: legendary coach Pat Summitt; and female sports journalists.)

    GS has a thread devoted to the Kerrigan/Harding documentary coming up on ESPN (and the thread has expanded to include discussion of another one that NBC will air during Sochi coverage):

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    I knew Katarina only slightly during her competitive career as media access to her was tightly controlled by the Stasi. But we did share a cab ride in London during a pro appearance in the 90s (she generously paid) and had a quite wonderful conversation, which ultimately changed my mind about who she really was - not just a product of the East German athletic system. She is still quite beautiful and I look forward to watching this documentary.

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    Custom Title skateluvr's Avatar
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    I MISSED IT! couldn't find more than clips on rspn.com. any links? ty.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KKonas View Post
    I knew Katarina only slightly during her competitive career as media access to her was tightly controlled by the Stasi. But we did share a cab ride in London during a pro appearance in the 90s (she generously paid) and had a quite wonderful conversation, which ultimately changed my mind about who she really was - not just a product of the East German athletic system. She is still quite beautiful and I look forward to watching this documentary.
    It's always so great to have you share your experiences with us! They give such insight into the skaters' personalities.

    I remember one situation, seen from the distance of a fan but still rather revealing, that changed my view of Witt. In the 1994 Olympics, when Oksana and Tania Szewchenko collided with each other, I saw news photographs of each girl being helped up from the ice. In both photos the person helping them up was Witt.

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    Wicked Yankee Girl dorispulaski's Avatar
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    It was an interesting show. On ESPN at Nine for IX "The Diplomat" if there ever is a rebroadcast. The show included interviews with Ingo Steuer, who was reporting on Katerina for the Stasi; that was the saddest part of the show. Apparently, at 17 they had him sign some paper to do spy (in general) on acquaintances or else go to jail. He was tearing up talking about it.

    There were 3,500 pieces of paper in Katerina's file

    They also had Brian Boitano, and the head of the GDR Minister of Sport (who went to jail for over 6 years after the GDR fell, for things like this spying program), the lady who is now in charge of the Stasi archive. They also had Frau Jutta Müller and her daughter Gabriele Seyfert. There were some quick skating clips, the best one being of Katarina as a very young skater, skating in a kind of peaked knit cap (in a show?).

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    It's heartbreaking. Often in order to survive in such a society, you had to give in and take part. I can't fault Steuer for his actions. And for what? Millions of reports on things like people going into a public restroom, with date, time, and length of stay, and not enough workers to read such mountains of trivial paper. It was probably done just to instill a feeling of paranoia and vulnerability in everyone. If the walls have ears, you're not going to want to do anything questionable, ever. An entire country living like a re-enactment of Animal Farm for fifty years, plus of course the fifteen years before that when they were under Hitler. No wonder they changed the name of the city back to Chemnitz from Karl-Marx-Stadt the minute they had the chance—and Chemnitz isn't even a German name, I don't think.

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    The Diplomat is re-airing

    If you look here, http://espn.go.com/espnw/w-in-action...ector-diplomat it's re-airing on Aug 26th.

    According to Tivo this episode will also re-air
    8/11 4am ESPN2
    8/12 2:30am ESPNCL

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    Love Kati and the story (thanks KKonas) what an intriguing life for an intriguing lady at an utmost intriguing time. The epitome of Girl Power before there was even a Spice girl song. One of the original glamorzon of the 80s. She was an innovator for the sport in many ways beyond the ice. Sport and Diplomacy before there was a Michelle heading for Washington, before Yuna presenting at the UN and for PyeongChang.

    Can't wait to see the documentary.

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    There are SO MANY directions that this documentary could have taken. So while it was slightly "disappointing" to not see more skating per se, I think it was fascinating and very well done. The focus on her as an athlete representing East Germany, at that pivotal time from a historical standpoint, not just for her as an individual or athlete, but for the world, was well done. The heart felt comments from Ingo Steuer were also helpful perspective. Brian Boitano also has many thoughtful things to say. Would recommend.

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    I found the inclusion of the very brief interview snippet from Debi Thomas to be kind of gratuitous. I can actually SEE IT that the producers/directors asked Debi if she would be willing to sit on camera for some Q&A for this documentary. Debi says "ummm.... okay ... sure. Enough time has passed. We're all big girls now. I admire her for plenty so I'll do it." She sits down for an hour and answer a dozen plus questions. Says all sorts of interesting things. The loquacious Dr. Thomas is known for her ability to share her thoughts (not at a loss for words, that one).

    And then, it hits the editing board and BOOM. A pre-commercial snippet about what a great competitor Witt was. ***?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Olympia View Post
    It's heartbreaking. Often in order to survive in such a society, you had to give in and take part. I can't fault Steuer for his actions.
    Well, I can. That sounds like the excuse the nazis used.... Besides, Ingo Steuer was not the only skater athlete in East-Germany, surely not others behaved like he did or we would have heard from it? Steuer´s unexcusable fault is that he was really productive in his informer work!

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