"Katarina Witt - Weltstar aus der DDR" (World Star from the GDR) documentary film

Sylvia

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VIDEO AVAILABLE UNTIL 13/01/2021

Click on the CC button on bottom right of screen for English subtitles (1 hour 29 mins.):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t3fLOCA56mU

Katarina Witt is the most successful female athlete in the history of figure skating with two Olympic victories, four world championship and six European championship titles. She combines East German identity with international flair and is to this day the "most beautiful face of socialism" - and the most internationally known citizen of the former GDR. She has reinvented herself again and again: as an East German ice princess, as an international show star, as an ambassador for sport. To this day, she confidently stands by her GDR origins, which many give her high credit, but which also brought her hostility.

The film "Katarina Witt - World Star from the GDR" by Jobst Knigge follows the path of the girl from Saxony to Hollywood. The result is the portrait of a woman who has achieved more from the confines of the GDR than many before her. But the privileges had a price: Katarina Witt was a beneficiary of the state and at the same time was monitored by the Stasi from childhood. For this film, she opens her files stowed in the basement for the first time in decades.

The more than 3,000 pages deal with training reviews, arguments, competitions. But also: lucrative offers from the west that came to nothing. After the turning point 30 years ago, a public debate about the person Katarina Witt ignited. Only 23 years young, the girl from Karl-Marx-Stadt flees into show business in the USA.

The film follows the world star through changeable decades and accompanies her current everyday life in Chemnitz, Potsdam and Berlin as well as her professional engagement in St. Petersburg and Toronto. The American Olympic champion Brian Boitano, the figure skating world champion and daughter of trainer Jutta Müller Gabriele Seyfert as well as the former GDR state and party leader Egon Krenz have their say.
 

AxelAnnie

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This was fascinating.

Mine switched to German subtitles and German dubbing of people like Brian Boitano. Anyone else have that problem.
 

olympic

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I really want to watch this! I watched the ESPN documentary in 2014 that spoke about the deal brokered between Jutta Mueller and TPTB in the DDR to allow her contracts to skate in the West provided she won Olympic Gold in 1988. It sounds like there is more to tell
 

floskate

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I watched this the other day. The subtitles do change from English to German half-way through as @AxelAnnie says which is a shame but you can get the gist of it. It is fascinating to watch her read her Stasi files. It's crazy to think she was being spied on from 8 years old. I don't think she has ever really discussed the files in this detail before.
 

olympic

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Hey @olympic if you watch this (before the YT video expires on Jan. 13th), I would be interested in hearing your thoughts/impressions.
Watched it and I was properly intrigued.

My thoughts. It was fun to get her take on her competitive years and heretofore undisclosed factoids -

1. 1982 Worlds - I was actually surprised at the Team Witt reaction (Jutta Mueller): She was really pissed off at the missed jumps in Witt's LP that probably would've given her the world title. Mueller's ongoing commentary during Witt's performance was :eek: All these years, I was so focused on Zayak's come-from-behind win that I had forgotten that Witt had an equal shot. I just figured she herself shot up to 2nd from 5th in 1981 that it was considered a win. Witt spoke about Mueller squeezing her leg really hard and smiling through gritted teeth in the K&C. :scream:

2. Mueller - Sounded like a tyrant. I loved the old GDR clips of the training sessions; the looks, body language, manner of speaking suggested she had very little patience and lost her temper. It probably took a strong person to flower under her tutelage.

3. Deal w/ the GDR authorities - I thought Mueller was the driver of that deal but Witt suggests she participated in the deal in this documentary.

4. Trump - Really? UGH

My biggest question has always been how Witt was such a clutch performer and this documentary answered questions - (1) Witt loved an audience. I remember reading biographies on greats such as Peggy and Dorothy that even they were petrified of the audience. They had to develop techniques to block them out. (2) At a young age, she was placed in training groups with people like Annett Poetzsch and Jan Hoffmann. She was not intimidated by them. Rather, her attitude was competitive - I want to be better than them! That is rare. I think her successes were due to her personal character. (3) Mueller's abilities as a coach and ability to calculate what it would take to win. (4) Motivation to achieve the rewards of success that are taken for granted in the West: She did not have those available to her after Sarajevo, so her only choice was to keep pushing and winning to get recognition from her fed. and her government. (5) Let's face it. Her look (along with her abilities) got a lot of attention in the West and forced the GDR to take her seriously, allowing her some extra degree to negotiate. It probably helped her with ISU judges at competitions, too. I want to emphasize in addition to her abilities.
 

Erin

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I watched this the other day. The subtitles do change from English to German half-way through as @AxelAnnie says which is a shame but you can get the gist of it.

If anyone else is watching in the next couple of days and wants the whole thing in English, I was able to get them back to English by going to settings, selecting German as the language for the subtitles and then selecting auto-translate and choosing English.
 
Last edited:

floskate

Vacant
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If anyone else is watching in the next couple of days and wants the whole thing in English, I was able to get them back to English by going to settings, selecting German as the language for the subtitles and then selecting auto-translate and choosing English.
That worked like a charm. Thank you so much!!
 

Foolhardy Ham Lint

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6,052
My biggest question has always been how Witt was such a clutch performer and this documentary answered questions - (1) Witt loved an audience. I remember reading biographies on greats such as Peggy and Dorothy that even they were petrified of the audience. They had to develop techniques to block them out.
For me, the most recent equivalent of Witt would be Canada's Kaetlyn Osmond.

I remember watching Kaetlyn run through her free skate in the practice rink on a late night session at the 2014 World Championships in Saitama. No audience. No other athletes on the ice.

Osmond absolutely sold her short program to the rafters. It was clear that she loved to skate, as well as to perform.

If injuries hadn't hobbled her career, I think she could have achieved even more than she did. I was so thrilled when she finally became a world champion, solidifying all of the tough times and naysayers.
 

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