Nancy Kerrigan Not Stymied by Tonya Harding Attack

Kimberly RipleyLife

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Nancy Kerrigan certainly hasn't forgotten her attack at the Winter Olympics in 1994, when Tonya Harding's now ex-husband hired a hit man to beat her on the knee--but the act definitely hasn't stymied the skater, mom, wife and daughter. Her life has moved forward throughout the past 20 years, and while at times she has endured unimaginable pain, including the loss of her father and the incarceration of her brother, she has emerged intact, fulfilled and still a skater.

Tonya Harding, on the other hand, blames the attack, the people responsible for it and the media for ruining her life. She doesn't skate any more, and even tried her hand at boxing in an attempt to earn a living. She denies any wrongdoing in the crime against Nancy Kerrigan--even two decades later.

It's certainly interesting how these two women--once both possible contenders for Olympic gold--have been changed by a crime that took place 20 years ago.

“It’s amazing it was 20 years ago, it almost feels like a whole different person. It’s not something I think of daily, except when you're asked about it. But it’s part of my life and hopefully people will remember me more for the skating...and not being just a victim in an attack,” Kerrigan said Monday during an interview with a Boston TV station.

Tonya Harding claims she lost everything as a result of the attack. She was convicted of conspiring to hinder prosecution of the attackers and sentenced to three years probation, lots of community service and a very hefty fine.

It was January 6, 1994 when Nancy Kerrigan was hit on the knee with something akin to a police baton. The attack took place back stage at the U.S. figure skating National Championships--the winners of which would go on to compete in the Olympics in Lillehammer. Both women competed at the Lillehammer Olympics, with Kerrigan winning a silver medal. Tonya Harding came in 8th.

Tonya Harding went on to make a sex tape with then-husband Jeff Gillooly--the man who contracted the hit man to attack Kerrigan. She later wrote a book saying Gillooly raped her at gun point.

Nancy Kerrigan wasn't completely free from scandal in her years following Lillehammer. She started dating her agent, Jerry Solomon, shortly after the attack. Solomon was a married man at the time. He and Kerrigan wound up marrying after his divorce, and remain married to this day. The couple has three children.

Do you think socio-economics played into Nancy Kerrigan surviving her attack and Tonya Harding sinking to unthinkable lows? After all, Harding was from Detroit and Kerrigan was raised in a solid middle class Massachusetts family. Or was Harding simply prone to hanging out with unsavory people and making poor choices--some that continued long after the attack?

Regardless of the answers to these questions, it's definitely interesting to see where each of these women is 20 year after this heinous crime.

Image via Wikimedia

Kimberly Ripley
Kimberly Ripley is a freelance writer and published author from Portsmouth, New Hampshire. A wife, mom of five and 'Nana' to Lilly and Aiden, she loves cooking for her big family and watching HGTV in her spare time. Kim is guilty of starting way more home design projects than she can finish. Visit her at Twitter and Facebook.