It was on this day 20 years ago that Nancy Kerrigan’s life and skating career were changed forever. Nancy was leaving a practice session at the rink when she was assaulted by rival, Tonya Harding’s ex husband’s friend. Kerrigan had been preparing for the national championships and Winter Olympics prior to the assault.
The man hit Kerrigan in the knee with a police baton, injuring her and preventing her from competing at her normal level. Tonya Harding ended up winning the national championships and claimed that she had no knowledge of the attack and was not involved in her ex’s plans to injure Kerrigan.
Both Kerrigan and Harding went on to compete in the Winter Olympics. Although Kerrigan’s knee was not completely healed and still bruised, she ended up taking home a silver medal. Harding took home an unimpressive eighth place and a ruined reputation. After the excitement of the Olympics ended, Harding continued to spiral downward and lost most of her fans as a result of the attack.
To this day, many people think of Tonya Harding as a jealous monster who hired someone to take out her competition. Kerrigan however, says that she tries to put the assault behind her.
“I really don’t look back unless someone asks me to look back, and then I have to,” Kerrigan said. “Otherwise, why would I? I was attacked.”
Harding also prefers not to look back on the past. “It was 20 years ago and I don’t remember lots and lots of it,” Harding said about the incident. “I know it was a horrible time for everyone involved. It was a bad streak, going through all the crud, and I was able to rise above it. I think Nancy and I have good lives now.”
In the end, Harding pleaded guilty to felony hindering of the prosecution and was ordered to pay $160,000 in fines. She also lost her title and was banned from women’s figure skating.
Kerrigan now lives in Boston with her husband and kids and has put the 1994 attack far behind her.
Image via Wikimedia Commons.