SI: You turn 40 on Dec. 3. Any big birthday plans?
Witt: That is not very nice of you [laughs]. But the thing now is the people who are turning 40 are actually 30.
SI: Forty is the new 30?
Witt: That's exactly right. That's how I feel. I'm throwing a party in Berlin, but I'm not making a huge deal out of it.
SI: What female skaters should we watch in Turin?
Witt: Sasha Cohen and Michelle Kwan will be interesting, especially since it's Michelle's third attempt to win the gold. Of course, Irina Slutskaya and Elena Sokolova of Russia. And look for Carolina Kostner, because she's from Italy. She is a beautiful skater with a lot of speed and strength.
SI: Any athlete in another sport who reminds you of you?
Witt: Maria Sharapova. She is a great tennis player, and she says that being a tennis player is all she wants to do. She knows she needs the time to practice and play, as opposed to the modeling and the other stuff. And she's right. You should never forget that every single hour you take away from your training, it takes away from your success.
SI: You were in Playboy in 1998. How many people have said to you, "Katarina, I really enjoyed the interview that accompanied that 10-page spread"?
Witt: Not one [laughs]. Nobody ever told me they liked the story.
SI: How important is sex appeal on the ice?
Witt: It is very important, and I would like to see it more in competition. These are all young, attractive men and women. They should not always be so dramatic and so serious.
• For more from Katarina Witt, go to SI.com/scorecard.
CATHRIN MUELLER/BONGARTS/GETTY IMAGES (WITT)