A good show of sportsmanship between former Olympians Kristi Yamaguchi and Nancy Kerrigan has the internet laughing and cringing all at once.
As ex-ice skating phenom Kerrigan, 47, closes out the first week of her Dancing With the Stars run, Yamaguchi, who similarly competed for and ultimately won the show’s famed mirror ball trophy in 2008, reached out through Twitter on Monday to wish the newer alum well, but her choice of phrasing accidentally tapped into one of the darkest moments of Nancy’s iconic life.
“So excited for you @NancyAKerrigan,” the 45-year-old Kristi expressed to Nancy, as The Wrap notes.
“Can’t wait to see you grace that ballroom floor, break a leg!”
While commonplace for the sake of most encouragements, those who viewed Yamaguchi’s Twitter message couldn’t help but to attach to the innocuous line to the January 1994 assault of Kerrigan by the husband of her former skating foe, Tanya Harding, who subsequently was banned from the sport for life after ordering the hit on Nancy. Kerrigan, whose knee was broken during the assault, ultimately went on to recover and continued competing until her self-imposed retirement later that year.
In amusement, most who caught the Twitter exchange between Nancy and Kristi were quick to point out the unintended double meaning of the latter’s call-out with several tweets of their own.
“That may or may not have been a good choice of words,” The Wrap reported one Twitter user as saying, which wasn’t as ruthless as another member of the social media site who used part of Kerrigan’s literal outcry immediately after the assault to make fun of the Yamaguchi post.
“[Why, why, why] hasn’t this tweet been deleted? Are you that naive? #BreakALeg”
And then, of course, there were those who simply chose to let photos and GIFs speak on their behalf.
In response to the internet furor, reps for Kristi Yamaguchi relayed through E! News that her intentions with Kerrigan were pure, despite the bad posture of her tweet.
“Kristi loves Nancy and has nothing but respect for her,” it reads.
“No ill will was intended with the tweet, and Nancy herself has received and commented on the well wishes that were sent. Kristi is finding the reactions on social media humorous but unfortunately for those who want it to have been shady, that’s not the case.”
As stated, Kerrigan indeed did respond to Yamaguchi’s message and seemingly didn’t find anything wrong with what was said.
“Thank you so much, Kristi,” Nancy replied that same evening.
“I’m excited to get this started. [Thanks] for the advice you had for me. This [is] a blast!”
In an earlier interview with E!, Kerrigan dove deeper into her long-held desire to compete on Dancing With the Stars, which she claims to be a “huge fan” of.
“I’m thrilled! I mean, I’ve wanted to since the [show first aired],” she explained, “so it’s just scheduling and wondering if my body can hold up because I’ve been falling for 40 years.”
Her professional dance partner, Artem Chigvintsev, went on to match her enthusiasm by expressing how happy he was to be paired with someone like Nancy.
“I’ve mentioned this before, [but] I’ve never had an athlete before in my life as my celebrity partner in the show,” Artem shared.
“I feel like [they] have such a great advantage on Dancing With the Stars because they know how to deal under pressure and they know what it takes to achieve the results.”
With their first score of 28 out of 40, it looks like their off to a good start! Kristi Yamaguchi and the rest of the Dancing With the Stars audience can continue to root Nancy Kerrigan on next Monday, March 27 at 8 p.m./7 c. on ABC.
[Featured Image by Phillip Faraone/Stringer/Getty Images & Mike Stobe/Stringer/Getty Images]