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Interview with Katerina Witt, Figure Skating Olympic and World Champion

MotivaGoal recently had the opportunity to interview one of the world's most recognizable athletes, Katerina Witt

Katerina won two Olympic Gold Medals (1984 - Sarajevo and 1988 - Calgary) as well as being a four-time World Figure Skating Champion.
Recently, she attended the Barcelona Global Sports Forum where she participated in a panel entitled ¨Women who make a difference in sport¨.

During the discussion that included other top female athletes such as
Mia Hamm and Pernilla Wiberg, the group discussed their experiences and the challenges that women face in modern day sport. 

Currently, Katerina is the bid head for the Munich 2018 Winter Olympic

At the press room, MotivaGoal was able to speak with Katerina about different issues including sports motivation, leadership and goal achievement. 

Below you will find the interview with a true champion, Katerina Witt:

Diego Valdés - MotivaGoal - Hi Katerina, thank you for speaking with us.  To be a successful athlete you must have the skill but also the mental side of sport is important. Can you talk to us about how you motivated yourself before a big competition?

Katerina Witt - I think you can only be mentally strong if you know you´ve done everything. This is one thing about being an athlete, you cannot all of a sudden pull some kind of strings in a competition.  In figure skating, you cannot deliver a triple jump that you haven´t done in practice.  You must know that you have the tools to deliver your best performance.  And then the strength of the head has to come in.
That´s why we have the saying that a lot of times you have many ¨world champions¨ in practice but it's something different if you can go out there into the competition and deliver, and I think that was one of my strengths.  I really was able to go out there, and the more pressure I had, the better it was for me.  So if I had no inch left to go anywhere, and I knew I had to do actually more than in practice, and then I was able to deliver.  
I think its something that in my time it was either you had it or you didn´t.  I think now these days there is much more science looking into it where you can really learn about your strengths and I think that is a good sign. But still, at the end it takes a special mind to be really a champion.  There are certain things that you are able to learn, but certain things you just have to bring with you. That is really what separates you from being a world class athlete or being a champion...

Diego Valdés - MotivaGoal - You talked about the evolution of psychological sports training for athletes.  Recently MotivaGoal interviewed Franando Llorente, Football World Cup Champion with Spain, and he talked about visualizing in his mind important plays prior to his matches.  Did you ever use visualization techniques yourself before important competitions?

Katerina Witt - I was vizualising my movements, my jumps,because  in skating, even though it is about beauty and about great performance its a sport and you have to land your triples, so yes, I would visualize those.  I think these days you use it as visualizing something happy afterwards, but I was more technically visualizing how those jumps should look.  At the end it's all about muscle memory and you must have trained enough that automatically your body does what it should do, even under pressure.  I think it was different times, these days I think it is a little spiritual as well, but I think everyone has to find their own way to make it work.

Diego Valdés - MotivaGoal - One final question, what advice would you give young atletes coming up?

Katerina Witt - First of all I think it is great, growing up as an athlete you can only gain from it because you learn so much through sport even if you never make it to the top, still I think there are so many things you learn from sports, by meeting other peers, learn about fairness, about respect, I think there are certain things you need for the rest of your life which you really learn through sports. 

If you love something enough, you don't give up anyway.  So I can just give the suggestion, "you just have to love what you do" . It's not what someone else is telling you, you have to tell yourself ¨I want to, this is really my goal¨.

Thank you so much Katerina for speaking with MotivaGoal.  Good luck with the 2018 Munich Olympic bid.

Diego Valdes - MotivaGoal and Katerina Witt at the GSF

Check out previous MotivaGoal interviews with:

Jonah Lomu:

Borrowed images from: / /

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