Tonya Harding is complaining that 20 years of media attention since the attack on Nancy Kerrigan has ruined her life.
You may recall that her former husband was convicted of assaulting Kerrigan and damaging her knee, in an effort to prevent her competing against Harding.
Kerrigan was widely expected to win a medal at the Winter Olympics in 1994. After the attack, attention was focused on Harding, who denied any involvement in the plot designed to increase her own odds of getting Olympic gold.
Tonya Harding, now 43, said in an interview with ESPN films “The Price of Gold”
“Every time I’d jump they would all flash, I would fall on my face and hurt myself a couple of times. It just started becoming really impossible just to even concentrate on anything.”
I just couldn’t believe what was being said and stuff. I never met or talked to–didn’t even know the other person involved.
You just get hit by everything all at once and you just want to crawl in a closet and say go away and leave me alone because you just don’t know what is going on.”
Six weeks before the 1994 Winter Olympics, Nancy Kerrigan was a favorite to win the United States Figure Skating Championships in Detroit — the final pre-Olympic tournament.
But two days before the competition she was attacked with a police baton and her right knee was smashed. She was unable to compete and Tonya Harding won the event.
Both Harding and Kerrigan were selected to represent the U.S. at the Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway.
Just prior to the winter games, Harding’s ex-husband, Jeff Gillooly, and three other men pleaded guilty to the attack on Kerrigan. There were growing suspicions that Harding knew of the plan before the incident, but she strenuously denied the allegations.
Harding was allowed to remain on the team as Kerrigan worked hard to recover from her injury. However, Harding performed badly at the Olympics, while Kerrigan won a silver medal.
Two months after the attack, Harding pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of hindering the prosecution. She claimed she only learned of the planned attack later but failed to report it. She was banned from competitive skating for life.
Tonya Harding subsequently took up boxing, but did not achieve much success. She remarried in 2010 and has a 2-year-old son.
She says she attempted to apologize to Kerrigan for her husband’s action, but received no response.
Today, Tonya Harding looks back with a mixture of sorrow and anger, and says that Kerrigan was not the only victim as she feels that she lost everything.