Katarina Witt was a German former figure skater. Witt, who is regarded as one of the finest ladies’ single figure skaters ever, was a two-time Olympic champion.
Her Laureus profile says, “She is best remembered for her overall athleticism, her magnetic charisma, and her beautiful appearance on the ice.”.
Katarina is perhaps best recognized as a former competitive figure skater who won six European Figure Skating Championships, four World Figure Skating Championships, and two Olympic gold medals.
She also acted under the name Kata Simionovna.
Witt was born in Staaken, East Germany, just outside West Berlin, which is today part of Berlin.
Her mother was a physiotherapist and her father was a farmer. She attended school in Karl-Marx-Stadt (now known as Chemnitz), which had reverted to its pre-war name.
There, she went to the Kinder- und Jugendsportschule, a school for child athletes with exceptional ability.
Witt was a player for East Germany’s SC Karl-Marx-Stadt club. In 1977, Müller began coaching her. Witt trained six days a week, spending three hours each day on compulsory figures.
At the 1979 European Championships, she made her debut in a major international competition, finishing 14th.. At the 1981 World Championships, she skated for three gold medals in three events, finishing first in the short program, third in the long program, and second overall.
She fell short of a medal due to low placement in figures. She made her debut on the world stage in 1982, when she earned silver at both the European and World Championships.
She had a strong chance of winning the 1982 World Championships, which she only needed to win the long program to accomplish.
However, she skipped out of three jumps, including the legendary triple flip, which was an incredibly difficult element she was the first woman to complete, and a relatively simple double axel that cost her the long program victory and an overall gold medal.
The competition was won by Elaine Zayak, who posted six triple takes. She won her first European crown in the following season, but finished fourth on the world podium, despite being eighth in compulsory figures owing to a mistake in the uneven bars.
DID YOU KNOW?Katarina Witt began skating at the age of five.
If she had won the long program rather than placing second to Sumners, she would have moved up to silver over both Leistner and Vodorezova.
Many people believe that the best skater was chosen ahead of her in this section, as she skated a triple flip and five triples.
In 1984, she was voted “GDR Female Athlete of the Year” by the readers of the East German newspaper Junge Welt.
With reigning World champion Rosalynn Sumners of the United States in second, Witt won the Olympic title in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia.
The top two standings before the Olympic free skate, which is worth half of the overall score, were occupied by Witt and Sumners. In her free skate program, Witt placed three triple jumps, leaving room for Sumners to take the title.
Sumers reduced two of her jumps and Witt prevailed by a tenth of a point on one scorecard in the long program, reducing Sumners’ lead to three hundredths of a point.
At the age of 18 years and 77 days, Witt became one of the youngest Olympic figure skating champions. Following Witt’s victory at the World Championships with a 0.22-second world best, she won her first World title in dominating fashion (without Sumners) with all three phases of the event.
She said that she planned to continue for some time but did not expect herself to make it to the 1988 Calgary Olympics.
At the 1988 World Championships in Budapest, Hungary, she ended her amateur career with a fourth and final World title.
Did Katarina Witt Ever Get Married
She never did. She was offered to get married three times but she turned them down because it would have stopped her from pursuing her career in the sport of figure skating.
The first proposal came when she was only 17 years old and still had four more years left of competing before turning professional. Her coach, Jutta Muller, strongly encouraged her to turn him down.
The next proposal came in 1983 when she was 21 years old, but again her coach opposed the idea and Katarina agreed with her.
Finally, Marianne Walter of Germany proposed one more time before the 1984 Winter Olympics, which would have been right after winning gold at that very same Olympic games (she won silver).
However, Katarina turned her down one last time.