Pötzsch, Anett (1961—)

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Pötzsch, Anett (1961—)

East German skater. Name variations: Anett Potzsch or Poetzsch; frequently misspelled Annet or Annett. Born in Karl-Marx-Stadt (now Chemnitz), East Germany, in 1961.

Was the first East German to win a gold medal in Olympic figure skating (1980); won the World championship (1978, 1980).

The former East Germany produced an enormous number of medal-winning athletes for such a small country. In an effort to prove that the Communist system was superior, no expense was spared on athletes. Anett Pötzsch was the first East German figure skater to break into the international spotlight, charming crowds with her polished routines. Once chosen as an athlete for her country, Pötzsch spent hours on the ice, with all expenditures paid by the state. In 1976, Pötzsch won the East German title, as she would in 1977, 1978, and 1979. She was also a threetime European champion and a two-time World champion, in 1978 and 1980, alternating with American skater Linda Fratianne who won in 1977 and 1979. In the 1980 Olympics at Lake Placid, the East-West battle between sports stars was intense. Once again, Fratianne was Pötzsch's main competitor. To the strains of Louis Armstrong's "Hello, Dolly," a decidedly "capitalistic" piece of music, the East German skater entered the arena in a feather boa. Pötzsch won the gold by a narrow margin, the first East German skater to do so.

Karin Loewen Loewen , Athens, Georgia