Manley, Witt reunite on ice for Olympics
VANCOUVER — Some 22 years after the Calgary Olympics, Elizabeth Manley found herself worrying that she would once again finish second to Katarina Witt.
As the former figure skating rivals laced up Sunday for an onice reunion at a downtown outdoor rink, Manley wasn’t sure what to expect from her former rival from Germany.
“ We’re not 20 anymore, so you’ve got to give us credit just for being out here,” said the former Canadian star, who finished second to Witt at the Calgary Games. “I was more concerned — I’m not going to lie to you — I thought she was going to really upstage me today.”
Only the narrowest of margins separated the two when they squared off in ’88, prompting friendly goading from spectators for a rematch.
But all Manley needed was a smile, a wave and a stunning spin to remind the crowd of how her spunky moves made her an unanticipated national hero in Calgary.
“I promised I’d do one spin — I hope I don’t fall,” the 44-year-old Manley joked, a slight tremor in her voice.
And suddenly her leg flexed out gracefully, and her body twirled in a pirouette, arms raising in the air as her whirl got ever faster until she became a blur.
With that, she encouraged the fawning crowd to welcome Witt. Hamming it up, Manley got down on her knees, raising and lowering her arms in teasing homage as the German appeared.
“I don’t skate anymore,” Witt said as Manley hugged her.
Calgary 1988 Olympic gold medallist in figure skating, Katarina Witt, left, of Germany, skates with silver medallist Elizabeth Manley, of Canada, in Vancouver, B.C., Sunday. The pair were reunited after 22 years to promote the Vancouver Winter Olympics which open Friday.