ESPN Films Nine for IX The Diplomat: Complete Preview for Series' 6th Story

Patrick ClarkeCorrespondent IAugust 6, 2013

DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA - JULY 04:  Chair of the Munich 2018 Bid Committee and two-time Olympic champion Katarina Witt smiles as she speaks to the media during a press conference on July 4, 2011 in Durban, South Africa. The annual general meeting of the members of the International Olympic Committee held in Durban will decide on Wednesday, July 6, 2011, which of the three candidate cities, Munich, Annecy and PyeongChang, will host the 2018 Olympic Winter Games.  (Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)
Jasper Juinen/Getty Images

ESPN Films' Nine for IX documentary series will continue for the sixth week in a row on Tuesday with the premiere of The Diplomat, a one-hour film that will tell the story of Olympic figure skating champion Katarina Witt.

Witt developed into a star on the ice in East Germany in the 1980s, during the peak of the Cold War. She would win numerous European and world titles while solidifying her greatness with back-to-back gold-medal runs at the Winter Olympics, per ESPN Stats & Info:

But unlike similar champions in other parts of the world, Witt's success was met with a much different reaction in East Germany, both positive and negative.

Here we'll take a look at what viewers can expect from The Diplomat.


When: Tuesday, Aug. 6, at 8 p.m. ET

Watch: ESPN


What to Expect

Tuesday's film will focus on an underrated Olympic champion many are unfamiliar with, Katarina Witt, who won gold medals in figure skating at the 1984 and 1988 Winter Olympics while representing socialist East Germany.

Directed by Jennifer Arnold and Senain Kheshgi, this documentary will chronicle Witt's rise to stardom while also taking a look at the many benefits and challenges she experienced as an East German during a very important time in history.

In addition to her Olympic success, Witt's list of achievements in the sport of figure skating includes six consecutive European championships from 1983 to 1988 and four world championships (1984-85, 1987-88).

Arnold and Kheshgi will tell Witt's story, highlighting her success in the rink as well as how her life was affected by her East German roots before and after the fall of the Berlin Wall in late 1989.

The film will talk about how Witt was forced to live under routine surveillance by the Stasi, East Germany's secret police, and how her achievements in figure skating helped elevate her to a rarely-seen status in her native land.

According to, both directors have made it a point of emphasis to tell both sides of the story in their previous works, and therefore viewers can expect a well-rounded and in-depth documentary. 

Arnold and Kheshgi admitted that their goal is to tell Witt's story while at the same time shedding some light on the relationship between sports and politics. For those who were around or grew up during the 1980s, this film should be of particular interest as it takes a look back at a critical time in history with a rare lens.


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