Katarina Witt

When the 1984 Winter Olympics rolled around, we were all in for Team USA. Well…almost all in.

We cheered for Bill Johnson and the Mahre brothers and Scott Hamilton, waving the red-white-and-blue as high and proudly as anyone.

But when it came to women’s figure skating—— charge us with treason, because we couldn’t help rooting for a dynamo from East Germany. And the communist who skated away with our hearts? Katarina Witt.

She debuted in 1978 and made the podium for the first time in 1982, earning silver at both the European and World championships. But Witt entered all of our collective consciousnesses in Sarajevo, 1984. We didn’t necessarily have anything against American contenders Rosalynn Sumners, Tiffany Chin, and Elaine Zayak, but there was just something so breathtaking and mesmerizing about Witt that we couldn’t take our eyes off her.

And the fact that her free-skate was set to two songs by George Gershwin (one of America’s greatest composers) and Nat King Cole’s “Mona Lisa” didn’t hurt. It wasn’t a perfect performance, but it was enough to win…by one-tenth of a point.

Then, when the 1988 games in Calgary rolled around, Witt picked up right where she’d left off. Coincidentally both she and her main US rival Debi Thomas skated to music from Carmen, but Witt outshone Thomas by a mile, landing four triple jumps while her rival crashed and burned.

With that, Witt became only the 2nd woman ever (alongside Sonia Henie) to repeat as Olympic Gold Medalist, and no one else has done it since.

Call us traitors and commies if you’d like, but dammit we couldn’t help it. We rooted for Team USA all-day everyday throughout both Olympic Games in the 80s…except for women’s figure skating, because—— well…

We ♥ Katarina Witt.

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~ by weheart80s on May 31, 2017.

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