Nancy Kerrigan used to skate with Officer Garrett Swasey, the Colorado Springs police officer killed during the shooting at the Planned Parenthood facility in that city on Friday.
The Olympic figure skater and Garrett Swasey were close–like a brother and sister.
— ExtraTV (@extratv) November 29, 2015
Kerrigan recalled a moment when she was skating at the United States Championship when, just as the crowd hushed before her routine, a voice cried out, “Go Yuck!”
“I called him ‘Ugh’, he called me ‘Yuck,’ We were always teasing each other like a brother and sister,” Nancy Kerrigan said in an interview with the Boston Herald. “It was him yelling that day and I could feel the energy and excitement of him rooting for me. It made me laugh. Instead of listening to music, I found that humor helped, it was good for me and it helped push me to do better.
“I always felt, for years and years, that he was definitely a big part of that,” Kerrigan added. “I am very thankful for having him in my life.”
Nancy Kerrigan grew up in Stoneham and won two Olympic medals–a bronze in Albertville, France in 1992 and a silver in Lillehammer, Norway in 1994. She and Garrett Swasey skated together as kids in Stoneham and hung out outside the skating rink, too.
“His dad picked me up at school every day to take me to the rink,” Kerrigan said. “We were together an awful lot as children. I would ride my bike to his house and we’d hang out at the pool. We were together all the time, whether were skating or not.”
Garrett Swasey was a “determined and passionate” skater, Nancy Kerrigan told the newspaper. He started off as a singles skater, but found real success in ice dancing, making three appearances at the U.S. Championships. The two-time Olympian said the thing that stood out about Garrett Swasey was his smile.
“I don’t ever remember him ever being in a bad mood,” Nancy Kerrigan said. “He was always ready to listen, to be there, to help, to encourage somebody else. He was just a really good friend, very loyal and kind. He had a big, giant, smile all the time, even when we were teasing each other like brothers and sisters do.”
Nancy Kerrigan and Garrett Swasey lost touch, as childhood friends so often do. He moved to Colorado and his parents even moved out there a few years back.
— Boston Herald (@bostonherald) November 29, 2015
“But that feeling that he is like a little brother, that doesn’t go away,” she said. “I am not surprised with the way he was living his life, as police officer helping others. It makes total sense, he was always like that.”
It’s clear as stories emerge about Officer Garrett Swasey that many people–including Nancy Kerrigan–will miss this man. He made a huge impact on a great many lives.