Thursday, March 13, 2008

Volcano on ice - the icon Katarina Witt

Is there a person you can steel horses with? This German expression indicates someone you can share everything with, that you can share all sides with. Someone that is honest, trustworthy, funny – a little bit of everything. I cannot say whether Katarina Witt is such a person, but certainly she is a phenomenon functioning as a symbol transformed into myth. It was possible because of the right combination of the political climate, historical timing, exploitation of great amount of talent – at the time, when there were all conditions ready.

Katarina has ended her show career on ice one week ago in Hannover, with show in great style in front of audience of eight thousand people. She drew thunderous applause with a final performance as Carmen – the role that accompanied her greatest triumph. She showed a video montage of her career that dated back to when longtime coach Jutta Müller first began to groom the five-year-old for ice skating glory.

Carmen, Olympic games 1988

Thousands of young people spent their youth on ice. Just handful could become the top of glacier. Salvador Dalí once wrote, that you can be a best draughtsman in the world, but if there is no angel standing by you and leading your hand, your artwork will not be good nor attractive nor successful. Maybe here lies the secret of Katarina Witt's myth. How else can we comprehend the difference, when after perfect "athletic" performance of Debi Thomas enters Katarina and whole world suddenly revives, the atmosphere gets charged with energy, beauty, charm not much connected to physical abilities of the skater. It is aureole, shining phenomenon which is filling the stadium and the hearts of fans watching the competition at home. She fascinates, sweeps to agreement, excitement, evoking feelings of closeness. Surely you remember it.

Broadway medley, World championship 1988. Just a few figure skaters can end up their performance with tap dancing sequence.

It is a story of a girl willing to believe in hard toil, give up the pleasures of childhood, one of the million, who could break down the jail and scheme of mediocrity, where the people are imprisoned from the beginning of time. Charm, sensuality, a character of perfectionist, success in dominating the figure skating domain nearly for a decade, unbelievable ability to gain an international sympathy of audience. Embodiment of great self control – which is paradoxically, feared by mass, because it feels threat of getting under control. In spite of this mass acceptes and embraces her.

Gala program, World championship 1987. Tango.

She could endure a life disclosing a pattern, which opens a way out of the trap – for those who see and want to see and those who hear and want to hear. The price paid if you waste the opportunity in early childhood is lifelong wandering on the side line, if not in a blind street. The desire for comfort is imprisoning, there is no escape anymore.

Where have all the flowers gone, Olympic games 1994

The combination of a little dictator in person of Frau Müller, system controlling everything including the first touch of love, which had to end as "responsible" people arranged it, and incredibly stubborn and ambitious girl, who resolved to touch the sky and stars – this all made possible the rise of phenomenon. In addition the incredible ability to come through when she had to, to withstand pressure and skate better than she normally did in practice.

Rare performance from 1978, aged 13.

A bowl of rice and apple instead of good lunch after hard, seven hours training, ban on chocolate, which could be eaten in precious moments behind the back of the coach Frau Müller, long years of discomfort in own body, endless hours of boring training of obligatories. Six times gold on European championship, four times gold on World championship, two consecutive Olympic gold medals. Only one person in history of figure skating could do it.

Video montage in farewell show last Tuesday.

There are several ways you can pay tribute to somebody. I have chosen my own approach. What is the meaning of the toil of that ambitious person? First of all setting of co-ordinates, which enlighten the way wandering mankind is undertaking for centuries.

1 comment:

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