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  1. #1
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    Katarina Witt-What did you really think about her?

    Fierce competitor? Mediocre skater? I'm new to watching skating - I remember seeing a couple skating clips in the past but yesterday was the first time I saw her in an interview clip.

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    As a kid in the 80's I LOVED her. There were many better skaters out there at the same time but none of them could put it together the way she could when it really mattered and everything was on the line. Amazing competitor and her beauty and charisma were undeniable.

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    I think the first time I saw any Olympic skating was during the Harding scandal. We had just moved to OR and she trained at the local mall so it was something everyone was watching.

    Last year, I saw a clip on "worst skating music" of Katarina doing a routine to The Muppets and thought she was fun to watch, but the interview I saw yesterday made her...not very likable as a person.

    I was surprised how that will color my view of Katarina now.

  4. #4
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    She was the bomb, basically. Like an ice dancer, but skating singles.... very few ladiezzz skaters have ever been so diverse, interesting, and captivating. She could interpret anything. She had an awesome and funny personality too - not PC, but never mean. I love her blog.

    eta: I just saw your above post... what was the interview that made you think she was not likeable?

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    I was too young, so, of course, I was amazed by her palmare. Plus everybody was saying she was THE skater.
    Actually, I'm not fond of her skating, but I admire her for her presence and the fact that she can sell anything with charisma.

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    She was a fierce competitor and generally the best the 6.0 figures factor placement competition format would allow. She was helped a lot by her looks when other conditions were not so favorable, such as a NHK 1987, when she was less competitive than Trenary would've been at 1991 Worlds but still won.
    Last edited by bardtoob; 05-18-2012 at 07:55 PM.

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    I actually preferred her pro performances to her eligible programs, which I found sort of boring, but it might be because they're dated. I can't really comment on her personality as I haven't seen many interviews with her..

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    Agree with bardtoob. Probably the strongest mental competitor we've had in ladies figure skating from the 80's onto now. Far from the most talented in free skating.

    She was also very engaging and amusing in her interviews, especially later in her eligible career and of course in her pro career. Very likable.

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    A steely, determined, competitor and champion.

    Would she have been as successful, though, if she hadn't been so attractive?
    Even as an amateur, her programs were constructed to "highlight" that; and conceal any weaknesses.

    I enjoyed her skating much more during her pro career.
    Last edited by skatesindreams; 05-18-2012 at 09:13 PM.

  10. #10
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    I can't wait to get to the library to read bios/autobios this weekend. The interview was just a clip - basically she said she knew her Carmen was better - better music cut, better costume. And skaters remarked how she would skate to their music, cut close to them.

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    When I mention figure skating to people who are not much into it, Katharina Witt is the one name they remember.
    I adored her athleticism and her jumps most of all.
    She was strong in competition, she had really strong nerves.

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    I was 7 in 1984 and 11 (obviously) in 1988. I remember watching the 1988 ladies competition, but I really don't have a memory of who I wanted to win or what I thought of it.

    I remember my dad talked a lot about her !

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    A fierce competitor for sure. But I thought her skakating, both technically and presentation-wise, was not even mediocre. She was a triumph of the perception of style over substance. Her competitive programs and costumes were cheesy even by 1980's standards. Ugh just ugh.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheGirlCanSkate View Post
    I can't wait to get to the library to read bios/autobios this weekend.
    It's a very catty autobiography, no pun intended. She criticizes everyone, to the point of wondering (in print) why a certain US skater is flat-chested at her age. I didn't really enjoy it, but it was an enlightening book.

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    Way overrated. If she were not pretty, she never would have achieved what she did.

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    Let's just say that, back in the 1980's, when I thought of her, or referred to her, I substituted extremely vulgar substitutes for the first syllable of her first name and for her entire last name. Not proud of that, but true.

    I warmed up to her when she made her Olympic reinstatement comeback in 1994. She seemed humbled to be part of the experience, especially compared to her seemingly cutthroat earlier competitive days.
    "Skating fans are not a patient bunch." Dragonlady

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    Funny this thread came up because I was watching her free from Cincinnati Worlds in 1987 again last night. Just amazing musicality and storytelling that drew you in.

    Some people go on and on about how she won competitions based on her looks (as if all other the female figure skaters were ugly in comparison ) to which I say "Bullshit". Witt was an unbelievable competitor. Same Worlds she skated last in the home country of her biggest rival who had just skated a pretty much perfect programme right before her and then she goes out, skates clean and lands a triple loop for the first time. F.I.E.R.C.E.
    To think that fun is simple fun, while earnest things are earnest, proves all too plain that neither one thou truthfully discernest.

  18. #18
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    I stopped following the sport after lake placid and didn't pick it up again until Lillehammer, so I missed the big Witt years live. I loved her in 94 and always enjoyed her pro programs and heard so much about how she was all that back in the day, so when I finally got to see the 80s on YouTube, I was shocked, SHOCKED at how gd awful it all was... The music, the costumes, the posture, the posturing, ugh... Totally laughable.

    Since, I've come to think of her as one of the most charismatic skaters of all time. Like baiul or bobeck, she could probably wet herself and we'd all think it was the most glorious loss of bladder control we ever saw! Lol

    However, she was the pupil of frau mutter, so it was all packaged as tacky and classless as possible. that woman really had the worst taste ever in all of skating.

    I think her competitor chaps are way overhyped. She was often nervous and never ever seemed to skate a totally clean lp. I think that "better" skaters often made more mistakes is irrelivent. It was the early days of triples and mistakes for the ladies were routine, and Witt often did softball LPs with lowish tech content even for back then. Like Sasha, she was consistently very good, not superp during big comps.

  19. #19
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    Witt was a product of Frau Mueller's school of coaching.

    The style, the technique, even the musical and costuming choices, were identical to previous and post champions such as Gabi Seyfert, Sonja Morgenstern, Annette Poetsch, Simone Lang, and Evelynn Grossmann.

    What Katarina brought to the table was her flirtatious personality and winning looks.

    Otherwise, the skating itself was athletic but not particularly ground - breaking.

    I did love her Caravans short program that Witt skated in 1986, however.

  20. #20
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    I couldn't stand her back in her amateur days. I saw a interview with her before an event (the 1988 Olys I think) where she came across as such a self-entitled bitch. The interviewer asked her about East Germany, and if she thought it was fair that just because she was an athlete, she was able to jump ahead in line, if you will, and get a new car, when other regular citizens had to wait for such things. Witt seemed really entitled that she deserved it more than other regular East Germans. That plus never loving her skating, and another interview where she was confronted about the skating to other people's music thing and she looked like she was lying through her teeth "oh, I wasn't trying to intimidate, I was just enjoying their music" . . . I'm not a fan.

    However, I will agree 100% that the only other competitor who was as fierce was Henie. Witt knew how to bring it when she needed to bring it, and was not against using all the tools in her toolbox (ie: her looks) to win.
    In my spare time, I like to interview figure skating legends.

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