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  • The Battle of the Carmens is an informal name given to a figure skating rivalry between East German Katarina Witt and American Debi Thomas during the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary. The competition is so named because both Witt and Thomas independently elected to skate to the music of Bizet's opera Carmen in their respective long programs. Both skaters had performed very well at the 1987 World Figure Skating Championships, so it was expected that the duel for Olympic gold in 1988 would constitute a showdown between these two women. The Battle of the Carmens was one of two such "battles" at the 1988 Winter Olympics, the other being the "Battle of the Brians". However, unlike the Battle of the Brians, the Battle of the Carmens did not result in the 1-2 finish of the rivals. Heading into the long program, which was worth 50% of the total score, Thomas was in first place and Witt was in second place. However, both Thomas and Witt had underwhelming free skates. Witt skated well enough for the gold, but Thomas made significant mistakes and placed 3rd overall in the competition. Canadian Elizabeth Manley won the silver medal over Thomas. Wikipedia

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