Witt says she declined to spy for E. Germany's secret police

February 17, 1992

Katarina Witt, who twice won the figure skating gold medal for East Germany, said she was asked to spy for the Stasi, the East German secret police. She declined, she said.

"They asked me to spy and I would get all my endorsement contracts," Witt said yesterday. "They were worth a couple of million dollars. I turned it down."

Witt, who is a commentator for CBS-TV in Albertville, said she felt sympathy for bobsledder Harald Czudaj, an eastern German who admitted before the Winter Games began that he had informed on his teammates for the Stasi. His participation in the upcoming four-man bobsled was in briefly in doubt because of that revelation.

"I suffer for him in a way," Witt said. "The guy probably prepared all his life for the Olympics. Being an athlete, there were certain things you had to deal with in East Germany to be successful. It's like anyone in America doing what they have to do to survive. Your boss asks you to do something. You don't want to, but you do it because it's your job.

There is a cathartic movement among united sports teams in Germany to weed out former Stasi spies. Witt said she thought the hunt for informants was unfortunate.

"It makes me upset," she said. "I think it's not fair. There's no human feelings anymore."

"I think you have to make a difference if someone spied and other athletes suffered and someone who informed for his own good," she said. "The others didn't suffer. His teammates are with him because he didn't hurt them. East Germany couldn't do without the Stasi. They were everywhere."

Daddy's girl

American skier Eva Twardokens' father was an Olympic fencer for Poland before defecting to the United States in 1958, and at times his daughter's career has suffered from the intense pressure he has put on her to be an Olympic medalist.

Asked last week if being in the Olympics is her dream or her father's, Twardokens said: "It's mine. He just hurts when I hurt."

But does she pray when he does? Her father made news last week for asking Jean-Claude Killy's childhood priest to pray for a Twardokens' medal in the giant slalom.

Seeing stars

German ski jumper Heiko Hunger challenged the stars -- and lost.

"My horoscope said I shouldn't take any risks," he said after he crashed on his first jump from the high hill and withdrew.

Do the skiers use roller-blades?

The Mexican bobsled team trains by pushing shopping cartthrough the streets of Dallas.

The quote

"Imagine what it would be like if Tokyo won the World Series." Paul Major, U.S. women's ski coach, on the impact of the North Americans winning the gold and silver in the downhill.

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