During the 1994 Olympic Games in Lillehammer, Nancy Kerrigan was attacked by a man with a pipe to the knee. The cameras which had followed her off the ice from practice that day also followed her through a blue curtain to the backstage area and then swung away; moments later, the damage was done. Now, 20 years later, a documentary sheds new light on the women at the center of the biggest scandal to dominate the media in the early ’90s.
The doc, which aired on Sunday and closed out the Sochi Olympics, gave us interviews with Kerrigan and Tonya Harding, the figure skater who competed against Kerrigan that year and who was implicated in the attack, which was carried out by her ex-husband.
“I was done with practice for the day. I got off the ice, went through the curtain and then I was hit. And then that just changed everything,” Kerrigan said. “I remember being at the hospital and I was going to try a jump and I couldn’t even bear weight at all.”
The drama that unfolded following the attack became a tabloid editor’s dream, and many who initially sided with Kerrigan came to view her as a spoiled ice princess after Harding’s story of abuse came out. The media had a field day with the incident and with both women, eventually changing the sport and the way it’s covered–for better or worse–forever.
“This may have changed skating a little bit, but to me, it changed media forever,” said U.S. champion Scott Hamilton.
While Kerrigan says that she doesn’t speak about the attack much–especially around her children–Harding says that she’s apologized as much as she’s going to.
“I have apologized so many times that it’s not worth — I’m sorry — she is not worth my time anymore,” she said.