Nancy kerrigan playboy

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Ice in the soul In the 13 years since Katarina Witt won her second Olympic gold she's been accused of informing for the East German Stasi, been branded a 'Commie goat', posed for Playboy and given Donald Trump the brush-off. But through it all one passion has survived - skating Sunday 4 November Observer Sport Monthly Katarina Witt drains her second large caipirinha - a deceptively sweet-tasting cocktail of sugar-cane rum and lime-juice - and starts to regale me with another indiscreet anecdote: a fly-on-the-wall of her evening in Paris with Robert De Niro back in , on the day he was hauled in for questioning by the French judiciary during a high-class call-girl scandal.

The tale is fascinating enough 'De Niro was absolutely furious, he kept saying he would never come back to France again' but as the East German figure-skating diva speaks - in a rich, heavily accented, Dietrich-like English - my attention drifts away. Somewhat bizarrely, I imagine that we are actors in one of those Sixties Cold War thrillers. The Eastern Bloc spies have located their quarry and now, as they place her under close surveillance, the type-written notes from their secret log begin stuttering melodramatically across the screen.

Time: 1. Subject: important sports-person K. She is fraternising with a British journalist and behaving with Western decadence. She drinks strong liqueur and even smokes a cigar. Her blouse is buttoned inappropriately low at the bosom. Her conversation is dangerously subversive. Recommendation: urgent state action. My strange - and remarkably lifelike - mental movie reel is still whirring as Witt stubs out her slim panatella and draws the De Niro story to a close. Wisely, however, I resist the fleeting temptation to blurt out what I've been thinking.

Okay, Katarina likes a laugh, as the name of her new entertainment company, With Witt, suggests. Earlier in the evening, for example, as I wandered back to the Lepizig hotel - where I was spending three days interviewing and observing the Olympic double gold medal winner during a three-city tour of her Summer Nights on Ice spectacular - she had crawled the kerb in her silver Mercedes convertible, pretending to proposition me as the Stones belted out from the stereo.

But even for Witt, one suspects, making light of her past life behind the Iron Curtain might be a joke too far. Twelve years may have passed since that momentous day in November when she returned from a rare unsupervised trip to Spain - where she was filming an ice version of Carmen - and found herself free. Yet even now, as a feted citizen of the modern united Germany, the ghosts of her past continue to haunt her. In May this year, she learnt that a leading German newspaper planned to take advantage of new open records laws to publish detailed extracts from her old Stasi file: a chillingly intimate 3, dossier kept in Berlin vaults that chronicles her every movement during the Communist era, compiled by the feared East German secret services.

Some might say that Witt has laid herself wide open to such public scrutiny. After all, in her autobiography she herself disclosed one or two juicier titbits contained in the files, which she was allowed to see soon after the Wall came down.

Most memorably, she recalled an entry that was recorded one night when she was alone with a male friend in an East German hotel room. Nor has she always behaved like the stereotypical fairytale ice-princess, on or off the rink. She has upset figure-skating traditionalists by wearing overly revealing outfits one of which popped open to expose her breast and allegedly flirting with men in the audience during her sensual routines.

And three years ago she reputedly earned a million dollars by posing nude for Playboy: a Christmas issue special which featured her doing a naked handstand under a Hawaiian waterfall. Witt, however, clearly does not subscribe to the view that all this means her private life is now fair game for the media. Indeed, she is so determined to suppress the Stasi dossier - codenamed Flop - that she is seeking a court injunction against the German government, permanently preventing publication.

Last year former Chancellor Helmut Kohl began similar proceedings to keep his secret police file closed. First by the East Germans, because they made the files on me; and now by the democratic Germany which wants to give these files out. I'm not afraid of what's written. I have no dead bodies in my basement, I'm not hiding anything. But I feel, why should people know about my life in my early years, my teens and my twenties? Why can't they close it? It's not anybody's business.

By then she was already a budding star of the ruthlessly ambitious state sports programme, which propelled a nation of just 17 million people to the summit of international athletics, above even the United States and the Soviet Union. In the early Nineties, a German newspaper alleged that Witt became a Stasi informer, and claimed to have evidence that she received money from the agency.

She strenuously denies the suggestion, however, and insists she had no idea of the interest that her daily activities aroused. We had to create some form of black humour to survive things in those days. They never actually placed a camera in the bathroom as has been written but of course my privacy was invaded. For instance, letters I had written to boyfriends were opened, copied and kept in the files. He developed a crush on me and started sending letters saying I looked just like the girlfriend. So naturally, when I performed in Tokyo four or five security guys were around me.

It was basically an excuse to be at my side, stay in contact on a regular basis. Witt takes a long, slow slurp of cappuccino and offers a wicked 'wouldn't you like to know? They were listening on the head-set and heard nothing, so they thought sex must be happening. I wrote about it just to show how far they would go. When I read it, sometimes I laughed and sometimes I was in complete shock. In some ways it was like seeing a diary that I had forgotten. They would even describe my mood: if I was happy, if I was grumpy; and I don't know why.

To have the feeling they were in complete control. It was their job. But at the same you realised you had been observed, violated. I was in an early version of the Big Brother TV show, except that in Big Brother you a contract to say they can watch you for 24 hours a day. A self-confessed 'tease', she stole her first kiss at nine years old, with a boy she met at a sports training camp, and was rarely short of male attention thereafter. But her first serious relationship, with rock drummer Ingo Pohlitz - whom she met at 18 years old, shortly after winning her first Olympic gold in Sarajevo - so concerned the authorities that they determined to end the affair.

You can tell that they tried to break us apart. For instance, Inghol had to do his national service, and instead of sending him to the barracks close to me, they sent him to the most northerly part of the country so that it would take all of his two days leave just to travel to see me.

Because they felt, you know - a musician, rock 'n' roll, sex and drugs - seeing fairytale princess? There's just no way we can allow it. And, really, he was just the sweetest of guys. I met him at a festival where they had figure-skating and music at the same time, and we were sort of on and off together for seven years.

We are still best-friends even now. Decry it at every opportunity. Curiously, however, she has never felt so inclined. On the contrary, she steadfastly refused to the universal whoop for joy that rang out when the Wall crumbled, and has remained remarkably loyal to the totalitarian East, and its values, ever since. For several years after her stance brought widespread opprobrium.

The mass-selling tabloid Bildt, Germany's equivalent of the Sun, branded her a 'Commie Goat', and even more sober-minded commentators were baffled by her attitude. Yet her position remains the same. You have to give people time to adjust to the new system. It was very hurtful, very painful for me. I was 22 years old and all I had done was be a figure-skater and brought joy to an audience, and all of a sudden I was afraid to walk down the street in case I was attacked for my views.

I just feel like, everybody loves to do that - go into the past and talk about how difficult it was, and how we had to starve, and how much work we had to do,' she says, shaking her head sadly. You remember the good times. Somewhere or other everyone has to suffer in life.

I hate saying how many sacrifices we had to make. I'm still loyal to the old regime. Not the system, but I haven't forgotten where I came from. I'm loyal to the people who have supported me, to the people who prepared me to be successful. You depend on a team. I have never forgotten that. Like a Dynasty or Dallas soap opera. That's what people were comparing capitalism with. It made me unpopular, but now, after a lot of years, people say they respect that I didn't just turn in the direction that was popular at the time.

I will never turn round and say I lived in a horrible country and had a horrible time because the success I have today would never have been possible if I had grown up in the West. All the groundwork was laid in East Germany. Born in December in Berlin, and raised in the grim, industrial city of Karl Marx Stadt now Chemnitz , her father was the poorly paid manager of an agricultural co-operative and her mother was a physiotherapist.

They lived in a tiny apartment where she shared a bedroom with her older brother Axel, a promising footballer until a hip injury stopped him playing. Their flat happened to be close to the main ice-rink and by five years old Katarina was captivated by the sport. At the time the government was striving to produce the next generation of champion figure-skaters, so she had little difficulty in enrolling for free tuition. She denies, though, that she was somehow 'genetically selected' for the sports programme, as has been reported. Neither of her parents, who met at a folk dancing club, were particularly athletic, she says, but to her skating came as naturally as walking.

That may sound unfair, but you have to understand that the state couldn't afford to pay for kids who just wanted to do the sport for the sake of it. Of course, it was very sad in some ways. You never had the chance to be a recreational figure-skater. Everything was driven towards landing up on the top of the winner's podium. Muller, a former champion roller-skater commandeered to oversee the state ice-skating programme, was notorious for her relentlessly harsh training methods.

But only Witt really knows how tough she could be. There was never one day when we took it easy. I was always pushing for the limit. She was telling me to do the same jump 10, times, and of course sometimes she screamed and used words that you don't want to hear. Later, however, when the caipirinha has lubricated her tongue, she recalls some of her choicer insults. You develop a woman's figure, but you can't go on the ice and be fat - it looks horrible and it has no aesthetic merit. So Frau Muller would put me on a strict diet.

The sad thing for me is that it was always extreme. I would almost eat nothing, which was wrong. In the morning, maybe a piece of bread. At lunchtime, just rice and an apple, and nothing in the evening. Sometimes I would have to run with the track athletes. Fifteen laps, and always at noon, when the sun was hottest. At 35, she is considerably more voluptuous now than in her medal-winning heyday, but she remains remarkably well-toned.

At least, she says, she was not plied with steroids like so many other top East German sports stars. Not because anyone was concerned about her health or the ethics of taking performance-enhancing drugs. It was simply felt that they would not benefit female figure-skaters, who needed to retain their femininity to appeal to the judge's eye. We thought our country's sport was clean. All those wounding personal insults. How she must hate old Rosa Klebb now, I venture. No, no, she reproaches me, I misunderstand. She has the utmost respect for Muller.

The Western athletes just weren't getting the same attention. I'm thankful for how the system worked, for how sophisticated we were trained. Now you see kids who just go on the ice and try to jump. It's a waste of time.

You need to get your body into shape. With a free will, you don't push yourself to the limit. She even knitted me mittens. She only wanted the best for me, and she got that.

Nancy kerrigan playboy

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