Tonya Harding describes herself as a victim of the 1994 attack on Nancy Kerrigan


It’s been twenty years since one of the biggest sports scandals of all time. Olympic skater Nancy Kerrigan was kneecapped by a man hired by rival Tonya Harding’s ex husband, Jeff Gillooly, just prior to the US Figure Skating Championships and six weeks before the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer. Harding claimed that she was not in on the attack, however she admitted that she knew of her ex’s plan and had failed to go to authorities ahead of time. Both women went on to compete in Lillehammer, with Harding failing miserably and Kerrigan earning silver. Harding later plead guilty to not notifying officials of the plot. She was put on probation, stripped of her titles and banned from competitive skating and coaching for life.

In a new interview with ESPN films, Harding talks about the events twenty years ago. From the sound bites I’ve seen, Harding sounds like she considers herself a victim, of both her ex husband and the media frenzy surrounding the attack. She may be, which I’ll get to in a moment. Harding also looks less than sober to me, although that could just be due to years of hard living and garish makeup. Here’s more, and there’s a video above:

On how the media pressure affected her
“Trying to train in front of everyone was so much mania,” Harding, now 43, said in an interview with for ESPN Films’ “The Price of Gold.” “Every time I’d jump they would all flash, I would fall on my face and hurt myself a couple of times. It just started becoming really impossible just to even concentrate on anything.”

“I just couldn’t believe what was being said and stuff,” Harding said. “I never met or talked to-didn’t even know the other person involved,” she said.

“You just get hit by everything all at once and you just want to crawl in a closet and say go away and leave me alone because you just don’t know what is going on,” she added.

On how she was singled out by officials
Harding took issue with her former sport where the judges played favorites and “if it’s not their way it’s the highway.”

“There was one year that I had a bright pink color [outfit] that I made myself. It was really pretty. One of the judges came up to me afterwards and said, ‘You know what? If you wear anything like that again at a U.S. Championships, you will never do another one.’ And I told them where to go. I said, ‘Well, you know what, if you can come up with $5,000 for a costume for me then I won’t have to make it, but until then stay out of my face,’”

[From GMA.Yahoo.com]

I would love to see a more apologetic, self-aware Harding, although I understand somewhat why she has this mentality. In her 2008 biography, Harding claimed that after she learned of her ex’s plan to take Kerrigan out of the competition, her ex raped her at gunpoint, along with two other men, to keep her silent. I saw Harding tell this story in an interview, and she looked visibly shaken. Her story was believable to me. She’s still not a sympathetic character, but after I heard her story I saw the scandal in a whole new light.

USA Today has profiles of both women and details of their lives now. Kerrigan lives in Boston with her husband and three children. She has “built a successful life of endorsements, corporate appearances and skating shows.

Harding’s “wedding night” sex tape with Gillooly was released in 1994. In the early ‘aughts she was a competitive “celebrity” boxer, trading on her infamy. She had a series of run-ins with the law spanning years and involving drunk driving, domestic incidents, and paranoid delusions. She now lives in Oregon with her third husband and their two and a half year-old son. USA Today quotes her as saying “It’s hard times for everybody money-wise until this economy turns around.

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220 Responses to “Tonya Harding describes herself as a victim of the 1994 attack on Nancy Kerrigan”

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  1. ThunderGoddess says:

    What a disgusting and irresponsible woman. I never bought her act, in twenty years.

    • Aura says:

      This is article on the Kerrigan/Harding incident, and the role gender and sexual politics played is excellent, well balanced and informative. Highly recommend.
      http://tinyurl.com/o3bgllk

      • bettyrose says:

        Thank you for sharing this. Before the incident, I really liked Tonya Harding. As the curvy blue collar girl competing against the slender rich girl, there really were a lot of layers to this dynamic. And as I said below, Tonya was just sweeter and more gracious to her fans than Nancy was. The worse part of the whole affair was that it became tacky to express our dislike of Nancy Kerrigan, who really wallowed in victimhood.

      • Sal says:

        bettyrose, on the contrary, if you read below it is apparent that Nancy was far more gracious to her fans and always very humble and sweet. And again, you prove my point that its all about prejudice and jealousy of the beautiful ‘rich’ (proof?) girl. I think there is a lot to say for the feminist dynamic when people such as yourself lie about Nancy and her fans and even admit you went for Tonya because she was a less attractive poor girl. There is only one layer to the dynamic: fellow women feeling jealous of, and threatened by the beautiful Nancy Kerrigan and choosing to side with the less attractive ‘blue collar’ girl – because she is less of a threat to them. It says a lot about women in general, when we are that jealous of beautiful and successful people. Oh, and if anyone wallowed in victimhood, it was Tonya Harding, not Nancy. Nancy never asked for any sympathy. But Tonya played the ‘poor, unattractive, rough around the edges me’ card.

      • TheOriginalKitten says:

        I don’t get it. So because Nancy (allegedly) didn’t kiss her fans’ asses and Tonya did, that gives Tonya the right to have an extensive and violent criminal record?
        Personally, I would be ok with a celeb I admired not signing an autograph, but if she/he orchestrated a violent attack someone, I think I’d stop being fan. That’s just me though.

      • bettyrose says:

        My comments were based on personal experience meeting both of them, but I just assume that anyone who uses the “jealousy” argument in this site is a troll. We get it: women can’t have valid opinions; we’re all just petty gold diggers in fierce competition with one another. FWIW, Tonya was more physically attractive being cute and curvy.

      • ya says:

        Great article…. the media treated both Tonya and Nancy horribly in those days… but beyond that, Tonya was often so shunned by the figure skating establishment because of her background, her looks, and her style of skating.

        She was one of the first women to consistently compete a triple axel and it’s really too bad that that has been lost in all of the drama.

      • Sal says:

        One short quick meeting after a gruelling performance doesn’t a personal experience make. It is common knowledge, even remarked upon by psychologists and a couple of sociologists that women do get very catty and jealous when around beautiful women. That’s not being a troll, its simply a fact of life, and perhaps it too close to the bone with you. And of course, its part of the fact of life that women are jealous when you say Tonya was more physically attractive being “cute and curvy”. Sounds a lot like you are trying to talk yourself into believing it, to me. Regardless, the facts are women feel really threatened by beautiful women – its an undeniable fact of life, people assume if you have the fortune – or misfortune; to be beautiful, then you are stuck up. Its pre-judging in self-defence. What I find more beautiful is Nancy’s lack of claiming the victim. She never milked it, never asked for any sympathy. She conducted herself very graciously. She worked hard to prove herself after the attack, and EARNED her way back on the team. Tonya on the other hand has played her poor childhood almost as hard as Michael Jackson did and wants to use her self-imposed ‘victimhood’ as an excuse for her part in this.

      • bettyrose says:

        Sal, why are you here if your only goal is to insult women? Your intellectually questionable arguments and limited view of female psychology indicate you are younger, somewhat inexperienced with women, and a troll. Please let the adults talk now.

      • bettyrose, you may have forgotten that Kerrigan’s family wasn’t rich. She has a patrician appearance, but her father was a welder who drove the ice resurfacer at the rink in order to afford her skating lessons.

        Now, I do think you have a point about style and appearance; the skating world favors competitors who have a leaner body type and a more balletic skating style over those who appear more athletic. But Nancy Kerrigan’s background wasn’t luxurious.

      • msw says:

        Sal, GTFO with your misogynistic bullshit and your stereotyping of 50% of the global population.

      • Bitca says:

        Thanks so much for linking to this excellent & insightful article (cool magazine, BTW). The author does a great job of stripping away the shallow, reductive mass public & media perceptions of the time to tell a story people prefer not to hear—the sad, complicated truth & its context–which in this case is very ugly in many different ways.

        I had no idea Tonya came from such an abusive, bleak background; the press was too focused on portraying the “knee-capping plot” within a ready-made evil Lady Mac frame, & Kerrigan as a flawless Princess Snow White (until she was dethroned for crankily whingeing to Mickey Mouse).

      • Abby says:

        this is a really good article–thanks for sharing!

      • aang says:

        @Sal~ I had a MALE friend who would say Naaaaancy while flicking his head like a horse becuase that’s what he thought she looked like. Nice? No. But I don’t think it was because he was jealous of her looks. Take your fake psychology and crawl back under the bridge.

      • Sojourner says:

        I really want to read this article but I can’t get onto the page! Weird … maybe the site is overloaded.

      • Hakura says:

        @Sal – So Nancy is an angel, sent by God as a gift to all mankind, to dance on the ice & be worshipped, as we unattractive, ungraceful, pathetic & catty peasant women look on in disgusted jealousy, plotting conspiracies to bring her downfall.

        You’re obviously a rabid fangirl (I assume you’re a girl, but also a complete misogynist jackass. What about Saint Nancy? Is she exempt from the ugly, hateful, & apparently ‘automatic’ behavior you attribute to all women?)

        BettyRose mentioned that she met both ladies. She didn’t say under what circumstances (where, when, how), & yet you (apparently also clairvoyant) procede to tell her what her ‘experience’ was, only to belittle & dismiss it, as you have no intention of listening to *anyone* (other than the voices in your head). It’s totally *sad* that you think there’s only one ‘standard’ of beauty, & anyone who disagrees or expresses a different opinion is *wrong*, lying, & jealous.

        We don’t take kindly to rude, dismissive, judgmental douchebags, who’s only purpose in commenting is to insult an entire GENDER with BS, & tell us all that our opinions are LIES made up bc we’re jealous, pathetic, & ugly.

        Get bent. This is the adult’s table. The ball-pit is that way –>

      • Sloane Wyatt says:

        @Hakura

        *Applauding Wiiildly*

        @sal, you need help.

      • K says:

        @Sal, I was at uni with a model. She was sweet, kind and unassuming and had loads of women friends. The guys, on the other hand, were vile about her behind her back; constantly called her stuck up and insinuated she was only admitted because of her looks. There were a few other girls with better than approachably-pretty looks who got a smaller scale amount of sniffiness, too.

        Your analysis isn’t only highly controversial and subject to confirmation bias if you talk to any psychologist – it also flies in the face of my own experiences. The people most hostile to the most beautiful girl I’ve ever known personally were the boys (who assumed they’d never have a hope in hell with her?) not the girls, who appreciated she was a really decent person.

      • ncmagnolia says:

        I don’t get it.

        This article really enrages me. After what was done to Nancy Kerrigan, we’re supposed to feel sorry for Tonya Harding based on…WHAT? Class warfare?

        Alrighty, then. Trash is as trash does. How’ya like that comment, since you’re portraying Harding as the poor, villified blue collar gal? *gag me* Kerrigan is damned lucky she had a leg left to skate upon.

      • Suki2 says:

        Fantastic article thank you!

    • Dinah says:

      Indeed. That she would subsequently choose BOXING as her means of income after this fall from grace says quite a bit to me about what makes Tonya Tonya.

      • mellie says:

        I believe it’s been said more than once that Nancy Kerrigan wasn’t exactly rolling in the dough…her dad worked two jobs to pay for her skating lessons, so everyone needs to quit acting like she was born with a silver spoon in her mouth. She had class…period. Tonya had none.

    • Trillion says:

      @sal: You know what’s irritating? That the default setting for humankind is “man”. When a woman does something, it seems to set the tone for the entire gender. Men don’t get jealous of each other? You think this is a “female” thing? Are you serious?

  2. OlyB says:

    I’ve always felt sympathetic to Tonya. I was casually acquainted with her while she was training for the Olympics; her choreographer was my gymnastics coach. Tonya came from an incredibly abusive and “trashy” family; she was an astonishing athlete and a profoundly hard worker. She wasn’t ashamed of her background and I think her coaches did her a great disservice by not helping her navigate the public relations aspect of her career.

    • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

      It’s hard for me to feel sympathy for her because she has never said, to my knowledge, that Nancy was the bigger victim of this situation. She doesn’t seem to acknowledge that Nancy suffered at all.

      But I do see that she was disliked by the judges because she didn’t have the ladylike demeanor of Nancy C (except when she didn’t win the gold and acted like a brat), or the typical body of a skater (she was chunky and looked more like a wrestler), or the money and taste level to wear prettier outfits. Her bottom was always hanging out of her costume when the skirt flew up. She couldn’t really help any of this, and she was a good athlete, but I think it cost her points, and I’m not sure that’s fair. It seems snobby to me, but I guess skating can be a snobby sport.

      As I said, though, I never really warmed to her because she should have told the authorities. I didn’t know about the rape, and that it truly horrific. I wish she had reported that as well as the plot.

    • Christin says:

      Tonya was a hardscrabble girl trying to compete among the princesses. I recall hearing about her homemade pink skating outfit that was criticized by an official. I wish she would acknowledge that Nancy was unfairly attacked.

      This whole thing was a mess. And Nancy (though clearly the victim) had so much goodwill yet tarnished her own image within a year or so of this happening. I sympathized with Nancy in terms of the attack, but never really liked her. Something about her seemed fake.

      • Ok says:

        Christin — I know what you mean about not warming up to Nancy Kerrigan.

        I know this is an article about Tonya and I should be commenting on Tonya. I guess i always perceived Tonya as a true competitor type of person. And she would rely on out-skating her opponent rather than resort to dirty, underhanded sabotage.

        But Kerrigan has had some nasty cracks in her facade (f**king her married manager who is now her hubby. And pleading to the courts to allow her brother to just get probation after he murdered their father).
        But those things never really seemed to cause her to fall out of the publics good graces.

        Who knows. Maybe circumstances have been a lot more difficult for BOTH women than the public will ever realize.

      • Christin says:

        @Ok – I agree with your points. I was preparing to duck for cover by bringing Nancy into the discussion, but that was just my gut feeling at the time.

        For all her faults and rough edges, Tonya did seem like a tough competitor.

      • Renee says:

        Yeah, she (Kerrigan) seemed incredibly entitled. When I was a kid I saw things much more in black and white and thought that Harding was trashy and tacky and was in on the plot and that Nancy was innocent and better looking, although my opinion of her did change when she was in that Disney parade. Now seeing Harding I feel kind of bad, I can see how classist and “looks-ist” my opinion of her was and how it hard it would have been having to deal with people’s judgment and condemnation on a grand scale, especially because it seems as though she had to deal with this pre-incident. Of course, I don’t think she was necessarily innocent in the matter either, it’s just that I have a bit more sympathy (especially in light of learning that she was raped by her ex-husband) and a nuanced attitude towards her now than I did then.

      • Suzy from Ontario says:

        I am not condoning what she did in any way, and I do think she should’ve been more apologetic and acknowledged NK as the true victim, although like many I never particular liked NK and I suspect she was a real b*tch to someone like TH …someone she likely didn’t consider her equal (I could be wrong but I get a bit of a Mean Girls vibe from her and it isn’t hard to imagine her being snobby and cruel to someone like TH). That said, however, she was still the victim of a very mean attack and even if TH was threated at gunpoint by her husband and threatened with talking, if she had gone to the authorities and told them that and about the planned attack, they would have protected her (plus the publicity probably would have been huge and that would’ve kept her safe since all eyes would’ve been on him. In hindsight, going to the authorities beforehand to “foil” the plot, so to speak, even in the face of a death threat probably would have made her come out looking like a hero and the public would’ve been rooting for her at the Olympics and rallied around her.)

        I think they took it too far by banning her from coaching for life. She spent most of her life training for this sport and it costs a lot of money (I know, I skated competitively for 10 years). To deny her the opportunity to earn a living by teaching skating seems excessively cruel on top of being stripped of her medals and banned from the sport itself.

        Figure skating is a very unfair sport in a lot of ways. The best skaters do not necessarily win. The judges are notoriously political and petty and hate anything different. In general they tend to have a very rigid view of what they want to see and that includes everything from the overall “look” of the skaters to every detail of their costumes. That’s why one judge can give a mark of 6.0 and another give a 9.0 …so subjective, which while understandable to some degree, should not dominate the marks and sport the way it does and has in the past. The skating skill itself should count most heavily and often it does not.

      • Audrey says:

        I grew up in the same town as Nancy (stoneham, ma). She was actually really sweet

        We’d see her out eating at restaurants (I was a kid at the time). She was always willing to chat and take photos and do autographs. She was never rude or snobby. She was really sweet and seemed normal and shy.

        Her family drama is sketchy but I think she’s just a normal woman trying to live a normal life

      • Sal says:

        I could believe that, Audrey. NK did not seem snobby or mean-girlish in ANY way. I didn’t get that vibe. At all. I honestly feel that those on here ascribing those things are doing so for 2 reasons: one, she is (or was, I haven’t looked at her in awhile) beautiful and people are jealous of beautiful people, especially women and they assume, as a defence mechanism, that the beautiful woman is a snob. Two, they want to cheer on the underdog, the lesser attractive and poorer person. I feel the above are a form of prejudice, ergo it is pre-judging a person based on their looks and assuming they must be snobby. Its just such ignorant nonsense and comes from a place of insecurity. I have no negative or positive opinion on Harding, though I do feel for her with regards to her upbringing and her ex. But I always got a shy, sweet and awkward feeling from NK, completely harmless and down to earth and sweet, nothing snobby at all.

      • holly hobby says:

        Nancy Kerrigan took the victimhood to town but a lot of people don’t remember how she met her hubby, Jerry Soloman. Jerry came into the picture after the attack and was a part of her team. Jerry was married and had a family. Jerry left his wife and it was all over the papers at the time that the first Mrs. Soloman accused Nancy of busting up her marriage.

        Nope she isn’t a saint and there were rumors that she was a brat (mean to her blue collar dad and blind mother – why people thought she was wealthy is beyond me. Her family was blue collar). Nancy rode that “my poor blind mother thing” to death before the “whack heard around the world.”

        I don’t like either of them.

      • Hakura says:

        @Audrey – I agree, that being shy & introverted, is all too often assumed to be arrogance/snobby. I was *painfully shy* until around 10th grade, it totally interfered with my life, & caused people to think I was stuck up. Lack of eye contact can make you seem disinterested or bored, not knowing what to say can seem like you’re ignoring someone, tone of voice being awkward can send an emotional message you don’t intend.

        Not to mention awkwardness in facial expression & other body language, tension, a frown or blank look, all kinds of sucky misunderstandings that can hurt interactions with others.

      • TheOriginalKitten says:

        Wow..differing opinons guys. Let’s just keep our cool and leave the personal insults out of it.

        Take the “jealousy” component out of her argument and I very much agree with Sal.

        While both extremely talented athletes, I think Harding appeals to people more than Kerrigan because she’s easier to relate to. She’s a very basic person, not particularly intelligent, articulate or attractive and obviously very fallible. At the peak of her fame, Harding was obsessed with the attention and very gracious to her fans. Conversely, Kerrigan is an introvert, not particularly likable (I think just shy/awkward), very wasp-y in appearance, but still somehow well-spoken.
        Kerrigan never wanted the fame and attention, and it shows when she interacts with the public.

        People painted NK as a “princess” because of two reasons: 1) the media loved the “Princess” storyline and 2) people just assumed she was a snob because of her appearance and demeanor. I truly believe this.

        I call it The G Dubs Bush Effect. Americans like people whom they perceive to be more down-to-earth and “average” as in someone they’d “like to have a beer with” (gag). Staying with the Bush comparison, this effect is why John Kerry was never likable to people-he seemed to elitist, too stuffy and not “common” enough. Plus to be fair, he wasn’t exactly the most charismatic dude. But would he have been a good president? We’ll never know because he just wasn’t engaging or appealing enough as person to be a successful presidential candidate.

        My point is that people tend to gauge the character of public figures by how they look and how they behave in interviews. Harding was a commonplace, garden-variety woman and as result, approachable and sympathetic in a lot of ways, and Kerrigan was perceived by many to be the opposite- secretive, slightly reclusive, arrogant and phony.

        Truthfully, I’m not sure why Kerrigan’s character is being massacred on this thread. Whether she was shy, slightly reclusive and uncomfortable in front on the camera is completely irrelevant. No one deserves what was done to her, period, end of story.

      • Hakura says:

        @OKitten – No disrespect, but when someone is rude on top of insulting, the gloves come off. Perhaps has it been another day, I would’ve been more passive aggressive with my reply, but it just pissed me off.

        That aside, I don’t think many of the comments including negative opinions about NK mean to come across as though she deserved the attack, or that Harding wasn’t totally wrong. Just admitting that they didn’t relate well to NK back then. What one sees from afar (thinking someone is stuck up, as opposed to shy/introverted) is most often the only thing they have to go on when forming an opinion.

      • Steve says:

        @ Sal, you are a complete idiot, and troll as Rose stated earlier. Being a man, I know that men constantly size each other up and are just as jealous as women if not MORE! They will fist fight and kill each other 10 more readily than a woman. Proof, 30 male jails in my state verses ONE female. Who is jealous now?

    • TheOriginalKitten says:

      I don’t have a lot of sympathy for Harding…eh, maybe a little because she never struck me as very bright.

      To me, Kerrigan came across as an introvert-always awkward and uncomfortable in interviews, but not a bad person. I think she wanted to skate competitively, but didn’t want the infamy and attention that came from the Harding incident. I’m not sure she had the tools to deal with that. Also, Kerrigan came from a very troubled family herself-recall that her brother was convicted for the 2010 murder of her father.

      • Kiddo says:

        Wow. Never heard that before. What was the motive?

      • Christin says:

        Both young women were portrayed to the extreme by the media. It was a lot to live up to for Nancy, and Tonya has tried to paint herself as a victim.

        Tonya wanted everyone to know how poor she was, and Nancy did apparently have her own family issues plus the affair with her married manager/agent (who is now her husband) that came to light the same year of the attack.

      • marina says:

        He didn’t really murder the father. The father died of a heart attack after having a heated argument with her brother and they prosecuted him for murder because it was a high profile case.

      • TheOriginalKitten says:

        @Kiddo-it was a huge story here in Massachusetts.
        ..and I just realized I should have said her brother was ACQUITTED for manslaughter after the same jury convicted him of assault and battery of the 70-year-old father. They ruled that the father died of cardiac dysrhythmia that started before Mark Kerrigan put his hands around his father’s neck.

        Still, it was all pretty shady….I guess they had just gotten into an altercation, which was not unusual for that family. Mark was a very troubled man by most people’s accounts.

      • Audrey says:

        As I posted above, I agree with you about Nancy

        I grew up in stoneham and we ran into her around town a few times (at the groubd round, etc.)

        She was always very nice but shy and reserved. I think a lot of times being shy or introverted is mistaken as being snobby. It’s happened to me personally

      • Montréalise says:

        @kiddo – the brother, Mark Kerrigan, has a long history of alcohol abuse, and has been in trouble with the law (DUI, assault) in connection with that. He was living in his parents’ basement when he got into an argument with his father over his use of the phone (not surprisingly, he had been drinking that evening). Mark put his hands around his father’s neck and squeezed hard enough to crush his larynx; the physical and mental stress of being choked caused his father to have a massive heart attack and he died. The coroner ruled that the heart attack, not the choking, caused his death. Nancy Kerrigan did not want Mark to be prosecuted, arguing that their father had a pre-existing heart condition and therefore died of natural causes. The prosecution went ahead anyway and he was subsequently acquitted of manslaughter but convicted of assault and battery.

    • kibbles says:

      Count me in as someone who feels bad for Harding. I was a small kid at the time so maybe some things were skewed for me, but I also did not warm up to Kerrigan even as a child looking at the news about this entire scandal. As I got older, I became even more sympathetic towards Harding because I understood that she had a hard life and her “trashy” upbringing assisted in the media and public piling on her regardless of the real story of whether or not she was raped and abused by her ex-husband. It is apparent from the way she looks now that she has not had a good life since this incident and has probably paid more than enough for her past sins. I hope she can find peace with her current family and stay out of anymore trouble.

    • Lucinda says:

      I lived in the Portland area before and after all this happened. In the years following, Tanya was involved in several skirmishes with the police being called regularly. Stuff that made local news but not national. Even the rape story was called into question based on years of her playing the victim card. We knew she came from a rough background which is why Oregon was so proud of her accomplishments. But the attack and years to follow really did reveal a lot about her character. She’s a hustler as much as a victim. The fact that she never apologized to Kerrigan and continues to pull the victim card speaks volumes. She is her own worst enemy.

      • gg says:

        This. Anyone with so many mugshots – well, the common denominator is them.

      • Nina W says:

        I have to agree, though I feel badly for both women. Harding has a long history of trouble and I have a hard time understanding her failure to go to the police over the plot and alleged rape. She wants to be seen as a tough competitor but she doesn’t have the guts to stand up and fight for what’s right, even to protect herself? Her story kept changing too and that just makes me doubt everything she said. She undermined her own credibility and that’s hard to recover from. Also I don’t get why so many people dislike NK, she was a good athlete who worked hard and she did not deserve what happened to her. Imagine having your Olympic dreams, years of work, attacked like that, it was nuts and very wrong.

    • ReignbowGirl says:

      I came here to say a similar thing. I was a competitive figure skater when I was younger, and Tonya and her mother used to buy ice time at my rink during the summer. Without making outright accusations, I can say there was always a distinct odour of alcohol around her mother, and we were afraid on behalf of Tonya for the abuse that was doled out from the boards by her mother. I can’t imagine what it was like at home behind closed doors. That she later went on to make the poor choices she did was not surprising, just very, very sad.

    • JuJuJen says:

      How can you feel sympathetic to a person that knew of a plan to bust her competitor’s kneecap, risking that other INNOCENT person’s chances of ever skating again and maybe even ruining her life just so she has a better chance of winning gold? That doesn’t deserve sympathy and no matter where or how you grew up, there comes a time in everyone’s life where you grow up and you start taking responsibility for the choices you make and the way you behave. No! Tonya knew what was going on, she got caught, she got kicked out of the figures skating club and she deserved everything that happened after the fact.

      • GeeMoney says:

        Her sympathy for Tonya comes from knowing how she grew up, and I don’t think anything is wrong with that. Plus, she knew her a bit. Imagine if it was someone you knew who committed a crime and you knew about horrors they experienced in their home… geez. I doubt that anyone on this blog who has sympathy for Tonya condones what she did. I know I don’t. But on some level, the girl is a product of her environment. And that’s sad.

      • TheOriginalKitten says:

        @JuJuJen-I’d like to bring resurrect this thread and contrast it with the next Chris Brown post.

        By his own admissions, Brown grew up watching his stepfather beat the pulp out of his mother. His stepfather attempted suicide and ended up blinding himself, but continued to terrify his family.
        Brown claims to have lost his virginity at age 8 to a woman more than twice his age, so essentially he was raped (or molested-both terms work).

        Yet no one gives him a free pass for beating Rihanna. I know I certainly don’t, but I try to remain consistent because I detest hypocrisy and double standards.

        This is a list of Harding’s offenses and run-ins with the law:

        *On May 25, 1995, it was reported that she claimed she was being stalked by someone driving a white Lincoln Town Car, resulting in a car chase involving her, her ex-husband Gillooly, and the police.

        *On February 12, 1997, Harding claimed that she was abducted at knife-point outside her home by a bushy-haired man who forced her to drive to a rural area, where she rammed her truck into a tree and escaped by running into the woods. Police found no evidence of an abduction. This alleged incident happened on the opening weekend of the 1997 U.S. Figure Skating Championships.

        *On October 16, 1997, she reported that her truck had been stolen from a shopping mall parking lot.

        *On January 6, 2000, Harding was in the news again after she lost control of her truck on an icy road and landed in a ditch. Her then boyfriend, Darren Silver, allegedly made threats against a press photographer.[55]

        *On February 24, 2000, Harding was ordered by a Clark County judge to avoid alcohol and her former boyfriend, Darren Silver, after being booked on fourth-degree Domestic Violence assault charges for punching and throwing a hubcap at him at their Camas, Washington residence.

        *On April 20, 2002, she was involved in another accident with her truck. She was cited for drunk driving and a violation of her probation agreement from her 2000 conviction.

        *On October 23, 2005, Harding, apparently under the influence of alcohol again, was involved in a fight at her home in Vancouver, Washington with Christopher Nolan, a man she described as her boyfriend. Initially, she made a 911 call claiming to have been assaulted in her home by two masked men. For his part, Nolan claimed that she attacked him after having too much to drink. In the end, he was charged with assault and ordered to stay away from her and to avoid alcohol.

        *On March 11, 2007, the Clark County sheriff’s office responded to two calls related to her. The first call was from Harding, at 5 a.m. She told the officer who responded that she had observed five armed intruders trying to steal her vehicle and hide rifles on her property. The responding officer’s report described her as “agitated” and her story as “very implausible,” and recorded her frustration that others could not see the people she saw. He could find no evidence to back up her claims. The second call, four hours later, at 9 a.m., was from a friend who had agreed to let her visit. Her host told police that although she was not violent, she was “tweaking out, seeing animals,” and she was worried about her children’s safety. She requested police return her to her home. Police reported that the officer who returned to her home inspected her house, to reassure her, and advised her to seek medical help. Linda Lewis, her longtime agent, attributed her behavior to a bad reaction to legitimate prescription drugs.

        Does anyone think this is just a coincidence? I mean, at what point do you admit that someone could be courting danger through irresponsible actions and bad behavior? Maybe she’s a victim of a terrible childhood, but that doesn’t give her a free pass to put the lives of others in danger. If she had killed someone in one of her various car accidents, would people still be so forgiving?

        It sucks too because I’ve spent a lot of time on the Brown threads saying that the criticisms of his violent behavior isn’t a race or gender-based bias. I’m starting to rethink my position.

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        I’m no Tonya defender, but I believe her story is that she learned who was responsible after the attack happened, not before, so she couldn’t have prevented it. She still should have come forward to help solve the crime, but says her ex-husband raped her and intimidated her into silence. That’s my understanding, anyway.

      • JuJuJen says:

        @OriginalKitten: my comment was actually a response to someone who said they sympathized with Tonya (It just didn’t end up in the right spot, lol) – I don’t sympathize with her at all and all of your incidents just makes my point :-) These all happened after the 1994 Olympics, when she had Kerrigan attacked. She made her choices. Seems to me after enough bad ones, you would turn your life around. It can be done – I did it.

      • Lucinda says:

        @Original Kitten, THANK YOU . I didn’t want to go look up her extensive history. As I stated upthread, she has a history of run-ins with the police. Lots of crazy stories. Always the victim. Locally reported only so most don’t know her long history. That is why I don’t believe most of what she says. I really believe she is a pathological liar who knows her rough background will get her a lot of sympathy. She’s damaged, no doubt. But at some point, you have to ask when do we start holding her responsible for her actions?

        Also, someone mentioned they thought the ban on coaching was unfair. I agree with that. I think she is a villain AND a victim.

      • TheOriginalKitten says:

        @JuJu en-oh I know! I was responding to your comment as an “add on” to yours.Sadly, this is not the first time someone thought I was arguing. I need to start adding a “plus one” first! Anyway, sorry if my comment was confusing, I was trying to back you up. Fail.

    • Josephine says:

      I liked her as well. I think the media did a disservice to both women, painting one as a saint and one as a sinner, one as a beauty, one as a plain at best girl.

  3. Esmom says:

    She may or may not have been victimized by her ex but to call herself the victim without even acknowledging/apologizing for being associated with the harm that was done to Kerrigan, she’s pretty classless. The whole thing was just so gross and crazy.

  4. Hakura says:

    I was so young (8 years old) when this scandal happened, that the ‘image’ I always remember of Tonya is a photo of her at the end of one of her big routines, huge accomplished smile, & arms up holding the pose.

    Having to compare *that* with current footage… Almost made me tear up (& I’m not even emotionally invested in having known her story). Girlfriend looks *rough*, & it’s all just incredibly sad =(

  5. blue marie says:

    I have never been able to work up an ounce of sympathy for this woman.. As a side note I can’t believe I just now realized who they were talking about in that episode of Family Guy..

    • TheOriginalKitten says:

      I’m surprised at all the comments on here defending Harding. I have no issue with people offering her sympathy for her troubled childhood, but I think the demonizing of Kerrigan in defense of Harding is incredibly unfair.

      The camera caught Kerrigan saying “this is so corny” while on a Disney float and she’s suddenly a “terrible, stuck-up phony” but Harding who has always been a defensive and unapologetic jerk, who hired someone to end a competitor’s career through physical assault, who was booked on 4th degree domestic violence charges for punching and throwing a hubcap at her boyfriend, who’s had several car accidents and was cited for drunk driving and made a gross sex tape, is suddenly being heralded as “the underdog”. These are all things that we’ve condemned Lohan, Halle Berry, Kardashian and Emma Roberts for, but for some reason Harding is just a “poor victim”?

      Not only is Harding guilty of all of the above incidents, but the woman has never shown even an ounce or remorse for what she did. We punish celebs all the time for not “owning” up to their mistakes and apologizing, so I honestly have no idea why Harding would get a free pass.
      Then again, celeb gossip has never made much sense to me–always a popularity contest. I guess the bad girl wins this round.

      • gg says:

        I loved the SNL episode soon after the Disney comment. Nancy was hosting SNL and in her monologue said, “What I REALLY said was ‘this is the HORNIEST thing I’ve ever done’”. Score on the comedy.

      • TheOriginalKitten says:

        Ha ha..that’s hilarious.
        I don’t think I ever saw that. I was only 15 at the time of the kneecapping incident.

      • Josephine says:

        Not to be too techincal, but there was no evidence that she hired the guy who hit Kerrigan, and no evidence that she ever met him. She admitted to knowing that her ex-husband was planning the hit, and she failed to stop it.

        And she was trashed horribly when it happened. People not only condemned her, but took great, great glee in calling her white-trash, ugly, and all sorts of other things. For those of us who live through it, I think people’s views have merely softened. Hers was a story of abuse and absolutely no guidance. Even before the incident people loved to hate her, to put her down and talk about Kerrigan as a princess. She played the villian in the media’s eyes before anything even happened. So I think with some distance, people have a more complex view of her.

      • TheOriginalKitten says:

        I was 15-I remember it well, even if I didn’t personally live through the ordeal like Kerrigan did.

        To me, what you’re describing is a mob mentality where the public loves to demonize a celeb only to canonize her later, after the memories have faded.
        It’s common practice in the world of celeb gossip, but it never ceases to irritate me.

        Additionally, I don’t think Kerrigan was ever a princess nor do I think she wanted to be portrayed as one. I would be less irritated if people blamed the media for their contrived image of Kerrigan instead of acting like she was some “stuck-up monster” that deserved to have her career and livelihood potentially sabotaged because she’s a “big ol’ meanie who thinks she’s too good”.

        This is all very ‘Murica to me.
        *sigh*

      • jane16 says:

        Kitten, well said, agree 100%. I remember that fiasco very well. Frankly, I thought that Harding was given a lot of rope at that time, especially during the Olympics, and that Kerrigan (although the public was rooting for her) was judged more critically than Baiul, who made mistakes that she did not receive point reductions for. Kerrigan was graceful and athletic and flawless. A lot of us thought the judges went easier on Baiul because they didn’t want to look like they were showing favoritism to Kerrigan because of the attack.

      • Lucinda says:

        @Josephine, actually there was evidence that she was part of a meeting planning the incident. They found a napkin with notes in her handwriting. Up to that point, she claimed only that her ex had asked her Kerrigan’s training schedule. But she did know before the incident happened and she was involved in the planning.

        @Jane16, I recently read that is it widely agreed Kerrigan would have won any other year. It all came down to one judge who scored in Baiul’s favor.

      • stinky says:

        Jane16 for the win. you called it. i cant believe how much older i am than all of you!! but yes you called it exactly right. and ‘kitten’, thank you for speaking up among the insanity that is ‘”Team Harding”. GOOD LORD and WTF. Someone actually refers to Harding upthread as “cute & curvy” ….. i really can’t believe my eyes. The chick was/is a brute. This has been the most strange Celebitchy thread i’ve ever read, and i gotta stop now. I cant even deal.

      • Nina W says:

        I’m with you Kitten, I remember this incident so well, to me it went against everything athletic competition is supposed to be about and I think that was part of everyone’s bad reaction to Harding. She tarnished a sport. I was brought up to participate in sports with a spirit of fair play and camaraderie and it was a lot of fun. It’s a sad thing when that gets swamped by blind ambition and sheer stupidity.

  6. Tapioca says:

    The only things I remember from the Olympic event itself was Tonya breaking a shoelace just before going on, and the look of disgust on Nancy Kerrigan’s face when she was beaten into second by some Russian(?) embryo. It’s a shame the Internet meme wasn’t around back then, or she’d be the original Mckayla Maroney!

  7. gg says:

    It would help her greatly if she would acknowledge Nancy’s suffering. Tonya has been nothing but defensive and that takes away serious sympathy points. I saw a show where she was supposedly going to apologize publicly to Nancy. They hyped up the show and then put on some wimpy, supersoft reporter and Tonya sort of sidestepped to Nancy saying she wishes that hadn’t happened to her. All of Tonya’s words were defensive and she refuses to humbly acknowledge that her own drama also played a part. And now she was raped at gunpoint. Sounds like a late edition fabrication to me. She needs to quit playing the victim card with regard to the attack.

    I do have some sympathy for her but she has been the maker of her own demise and it sounds an awful lot like substance abuse.

    One more thing: Dark red lippie is not your friend. Hardly anybody can wear it well. Tonya is not one of them, it makes her look ten times harder.

  8. megs283 says:

    ESPN’s doc on Kerrigan and Harding is part of their 30 for 30 series…I am not into sports at all – but the 30 for 30 movies are always extremely gripping. I can’t wait to see this one – it airs in mid-January.

  9. Sloane Wyatt says:

    I went back and read the above link of the original story of Tanya’s horrific attack by her thug of a husband, and I believe her. Her account of what happened during her multiple sexual assaults was unadorned, and I don’t think anyone is that good of an actress.

    Tanya’s vicious beatings she endured from her mother also had the ring of truth for me. After all the domestic abuse she suffered as a child, the likely continuing spousal rapes, a ‘sex tape’, and her main chance lost to her forever, it’s amazing to me that she’s still alive.

    Is it any wonder she has no sympathy to spare Nancy? It seems like Tanya doesn’t have any room left in her battered psyche to spare for her erstwhile rival.

    Tanya Harding reminds me a lot of Linda Lovelace.

    • Frida_K says:

      Ah, Sloane. You have a good heart and your commentary is always so thoughtful.

      Thank you for sharing this insight. Its kindness warms my heart on this cold morning.

    • Nicolette says:

      Agree. Nancy Kerrigan, for whatever reason, always got on my nerves. Too prissy, too privileged, too conceited, too many Vera Wang skating outfits, I don’t know what it was but I kinda rooted for the underdog in Tanya. Not saying that the attack on Nancy was right by any means, but Tanya came from a much different world, and not a pretty one. The skating world seems to be quite unfair in that those with money are the ones that truly have a shot. It’s an expensive sport from coaches, to ice time, to all those costumes. That Tanya was making her own outfits while Nancy was putting Wang on the map was just one example of the difference between the two.

      That said, I cannot believe it’s been 20 years already.

      • TheOriginalKitten says:

        What?
        Kerrigan grew up modestly and her family struggled greatly to financially support her dream of skating, with her dad working 3 jobs at one point, taking out loans, and basically busting his ass to keep her in skating competitions. She grew up in Stoneham, a very blue collar and squarely middle class town. You make it seem like she came from a wealthy family in Beverly Hills. Her dad was a welder, not a rich businessman—hardly a Kardashian.

        If you don’t like Kerrigan because she annoys you “for some reason” that’s fine, it’s all fair in celeb gossip, but let’s not make up a false narrative of Kerrigan being some rich, privileged elitist who led a charmed life versus poor, abused Harding.
        Both women grew up with hardships. It’s how they each handled those hardships that defines where they are now.

      • Merritt says:

        @TheOriginalKitten

        I’ve never understood why people think Nancy came from a rich background. She might have had better connections than Tonya but she also had a better work/training ethic. The thing Nancy truly had above Tonya, was a supportive family and real friends.

        I don’t know if it is even fair to say that prior to Nationals in 1994 is Nancy was on much better ground with USFA than Tonya. They were pretty angry that she had a meltdown at 1993 worlds and cost the US the third spot in the Ladies event for the Olympics.

      • Apples says:

        Here to second everything TheOriginalKitten said about Stoneham. Actually, the entirety of her statement.

      • Bridgett says:

        I would guess that the Kerrigan hate and Harding sympathy is coming from the fact that ultimately, Kerrigan ended up the ‘winner’ in this whole scandal. At the time, figure skating was not a marquee sport, and the attack and ensuing scandal did an incredible job of increasing the public interest in the Lillehammer figure skating competition. Ironically, had the attack not happened Kerrigan’s medal (even had it been gold) wouldn’t have been nearly as big of a deal and she would definitely not become nearly as famous. She’s made a lot of money over the years as a result of that fame.

      • Lindy79 says:

        I get that you might not like Kerrigan for whatever reasons but the simple fact is that Harding was involved (be it before or after the fact) in the attack on a fellow competitor that could have potentially ended their career. I don’t really care how much of an “underdog” she was, it’s a disgusting act.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=asB_rf2UCmA

        This interview is really interesting, when it gets to the 25minute mark, her comments about the attack are really telling. She claims to have had no clue what happened, then goes on to talk about how afraid she was someone would hurt her or someone while she was “right there”, and how it affected her jumps and will lose her what she has worked for.
        Its all “me me me me”, no mention of how horrible it was.

      • TheOriginalKitten says:

        Thanks, guys. I was starting to feel like the only one who finds Harding pretty reprehensible.

        @Bridgett: “I would guess that the Kerrigan hate and Harding sympathy is coming from the fact that ultimately, Kerrigan ended up the ‘winner’ in this whole scandal.”

        I agree with your analysis and I also agree that without the kneecapping incident, Kerrigan wouldn’t have had nearly the amount of notoriety and maybe not the career. The thing is, I don’t think Kerrigan ever wanted the fame. I think she was a passionate skater who wasn’t ready to deal with the spotlight that she was forced into. She wanted to be a career skater, not a celebrity.

        @Lindy-Yes. Thank you!!

      • Nicolette says:

        @Lindy 79, did I say I approved of the attack on Nancy? Show me where I said that because what I said was it was not right by any means. It was a disgusting act as you put it, and no where did I condone it. And my not liking Nancy is my opinion as you have yours right?

      • Lindy79 says:

        I don’t recall saying you approved, so likewise if you can point out where i said that, please do.

        My point was that a lot of people who defend Tonya seem to be unable to do so without bringing Nancy into it and trying to knock her or paint her as some over privileged silver spoon kid almost as a way to support their argument. Like in some way, it explains what happened, coupled with the horrible background Tonya had. I don’t really have any feelings about Nancy Kerrigan other than, yes she seemed to have the America’s Sweetheart of skating forced onto her and seemed uncomfortable with it.

    • Lucinda says:

      Sloane, I have no doubt she was terribly victimized. I do believe that. But she also seeks drama and plays the victim card. Yes, it is a result of her upbringing. But long ago she was old enough to seek counseling and move on. She didn’t. She kept seeking the media light to tell everyone how she was the victim. She has some real issues, no doubt. But I don’t think she is a very nice person either.

    • Esmom says:

      I hear you. But I think sometimes making amends, despite your own hardships, can be cathartic. My m-i-l has had it tough — and has also had many very good, happy, successful years — but at age 75+ she cannot do anything but feel sorry for herself. She always paints herself as the victim and I feel like until she gets past that and acknowledges some of the ways she herself has been in the wrong, she will never be truly at peace. It’s sad to see a life wasted like that.

    • Nerd Alert says:

      I’m with you, Sloane. I think some people have a really hard time putting themselves in her shoes because all the negative press came before the explanations. I know a lot of people think she’s lying, but I saw what you saw. I think she’s telling the truth about her horrible past, and for people to not believe it or take it into consideration has to be heartbreaking. I grew up low-class, and her childhood stories resonate with a lot of what I saw growing up. I can’t imagine someone from my neighborhood making it to the Olympics.

      For me? The ex-husband raping her at gunpoint removes her guilt in the Kerrigan case, if true. I don’t think she needs to admit wrongdoing, and I think it does excuse her silence. Being raped at gunpoint by the person who is supposed to be your partner in life is an incredibly effective intimidation tactic, and you have to add to that the mentality of an abused woman. I cannot say for sure, but if I were in her shoes I would feel like a victim of her ex-husband as well, and I would be incredibly bitter–sparing no sympathy, as you say. I’d rather be kneecapped than raped and beaten repeatedly.

      • dagdag says:

        @Nerd Alert

        …….I’d rather be kneecapped than raped and beaten repeatedly. ….

        This is the most strange sentence in reference to defending Tonya Harding ref Nancy Kerrigan. And I have no problems putting myself in her shoes, my childhood shoes may have been tighter than hers.
        Not Kerrigan´s fault.

      • Sloane Wyatt says:

        @ dagdag,

        Nerd Alert is not saying anything is Nancy’s fault. She’s simply stating with vividly dramatic licensed shorthand that Nancy had it easier than Tonya.

        Even from their initial competition, Nancy Kerrigan’s image and appearance contrasted sharply with Tonya Harding’s homemade shabby costumes and girl on the other side of the tracks demeanor. With her married coach being her secret lover/eventual husband instead of a criminal rapist ex-husband, with her sponsors and lucrative deals vs. heckling and sneers from the less than enamored judges, with her Princess narrative and the public fairytale rather than the Trash from The Trailer Park (what do you expect from a girl like that) ugly stepsister archetype, Nancy to this day leads more of a ‘charmed’ life than Tonya’s rap sheeted throwaway existence.

      • Nerd Alert says:

        Thank you, Sloane. It appears that dagdag only read the last line of my comment.

        I was boiling it down to the crimes committed by Goolily against both of these women. He was behind the kneecapping after all, but he personally tormented Tonya, brutally and repeatedly, for his own gain. From where I stand, you don’t really have to know anything about Nancy Kerrigan to know Tonya was victimized far worse by this man. He is the monster, not Tonya. In my mind, she receives an unfair share of the blame for what happened to Nancy.

        I would bet that most people on this forum have never been submitted to unlawful duress or coercion, but I have, only to a much lesser degree than Tonya. It changes the way you see these things. I might have taken a “Tonya the Terrible” stance myself had my own history been different, but my opinion stands.

      • Lucinda says:

        Assuming the rape story is true. I hate to be that person who questions a story like that, but she has such a long history of fabrication that I find it hard to believe. I think she starts to believe her own lies. If a person believes what they are saying, even if it is a lie, it becomes very difficult to discern the truth. I know someone like this, very close to me, who will believe her own lies. Hell, that person has nearly convinced me at times when I was witness to the actual event!

      • Nerd Alert says:

        Lucinda, you are very right about that, and TH is a person whose stories one should be skeptical of. I have been operating under the assumption that the rape story is true based on what I’ve read about Jeff, not Tonya.

        What I know about Tonya is that she is psychologically damaged and is a perpetual victim in her own mind. To me it seems entirely possible that would be the sort of person who would be a liar like the one you know. It’s completely plausible she made the whole thing up and believes it. I don’t blindly believe everything she says, and I do think she was in on the planning.

        It’s also entirely plausible to me that Gillooly raped and intimidated Tonya into going along with the plot after she expressed doubts and wanted to stop the plan. His criminal record is longer than hers and is filled with assaults and restraining orders. It isn’t just Tonya who’s been afraid of this man. I think she had second thoughts and didn’t want to go through with it, and he coerced her via rape at gunpoint. There is no one more culpable than him, and yet the stories are always about Tonya V. Nancy.

        Then I think she felt guilty and angry and as a psychologically damaged woman, tried to lie and excuse her way out of it, but she just ends up looking worse, and the press likes it much better with her as the villain. She still can’t come to terms with what happened, as paranormalgirl said below, and I think that along with your theory and Sloane’s paint a more accurate picture than “Tonya’s a white trash devil who feels no remorse,” which is the popular assertion.

  10. Maureen says:

    I don’t condone anything that happened to Nancy, and I never knew about the alleged rape, but I always felt that Tonya was — in a way — a victim of never being accepted as being equal to Nancy — not culturally or socially or looks-wise. I always felt like she was doomed to be second to Nancy no matter what she did. That shit messes with a person’s mind.

  11. Amy says:

    Deadspin did a piece recently on Gillooly and what he’s up to these days.

  12. Aims says:

    Tonya used to live a mile from my high school. She’s a local girl. She’s had some legal problems through out the years. Mostly dui issues. I remember going to the mall and seeing her skate. As a mater of fact, she was convicted for the Nancy situation at the court house a few miles from where I live now. Weird.

  13. Merritt says:

    I don’t doubt that her ex husband abused her. But that doesn’t change her role in the attack. She knew what was going to happen and did nothing.

    Skating is political, but that is not what slowed her career prior to the attack. It is well documented that she was not maintaining a good training schedule, she was unprepared for events, she smoked despite having asthma, etc. Of course she is trying to rewrite history now.

  14. msw says:

    I think they’re both victims. she may be full of crap, but harding has alleged in the past that her ex husband was abusive and she was scared to go to the police. that kind of stuff doesn’t get a lot of press in elite sports like figure skating, but if she were just a regular citizen, I don’t think people would have such a hard time finding it possible.

    She’s dead on with her comments about the powers that be in figure skating. it’s an extremely political sport. Tanya never fit in with the world figure skating. They always preferred the Nancy types, not the backwater redneck who was really just too good to fade away quietly. I do wonder how many of her career problems and how much of her chaotic personal life was of her own doing. I am actually pretty impressed with what she managed to accomplish, if the rumors about all the abuse she endured are anywhere close to true. she has her weaknesses to be sure, but I have a lot of sympathy for her and admire her strength.

  15. GeeMoney says:

    The sad thing in this was that Tonya Harding was a really good ice skater. She had the potential to be a major competitor at the 94 Olympics. It’s sad that it all got thrown away on a sad attempt to hurt Kerrigan so she could possibly win a medal.

    Not to mention, I felt really bad for her when I read about how she grew up. Doesn’t excuse what happened, but she must of had a hell of time growing up in the household that she did.

  16. Suze says:

    Just looking at the photos you can tell she is a haunted person. I’m glad she got to be a mom, that seems to be the saving grace in her life. I just wish she had found some measure of peace in maturity, but it doesn’t look like its happening for her.

    That Harding/Kerrigan unholy scandal was a lot more complicated than it seemed. No clear cut victims or vilians, really

    • jane16 says:

      Its clearcut that Kerrigan is the victim here. She had nothing to do with Hardings messed up childhood or bad choices (the creep she married) and was injured solely for the purpose of removing her from competition and leaving a spot for Harding to skate into. Kerrigan was better than Harding, triple axle notwithstanding, and with her out of the way, there was a possibility that Harding could win a medal. So, Kerrigan: victim. Harding: one of the villains. Its interesting to think of how Hardings whole life might have turned out differently if she had done the right thing and reported that there was a plan to attack Kerrigan. She might have ended up being a hero, and might have subsequently skated better. We’ll never know.

  17. Lammie says:

    I will never forgive Tonya Harding for the Olympics. Her histrionics over her busted skate lace happened right before Canadian champion Josee Chouinard was to skate. Josee always had nerve issues, but her program that year was a beautiful program choreographed to An American in Paris, which she skated beautifully at the Canadian Championships. Tonya’s drama affected her greatly, and she skated poorly at the Olympics. I know most people focus on the main players in this drama, but I always remember Josee.

    • GeeMoney says:

      That says more about Chouinard not being a focused skater than it does about how the Tonya Harding scandal was a distraction for her. Not that I don’t have sympathy for Chouinard, but she could have pulled it together, focused herself and skated a good program.

      Kerrigan pulled herself together… so why couldn’t Josee?

      • Lammie says:

        Well, if I recall correctly, Tonya’s skate lace drama meant that the timing was off for when Josee would go out on the ice. Skaters get a certain amount of time, and after the delay, the organizers were rushing Josee out onto the ice, even though she was supposed to get the regular time. You are right, she didn’t deal well with her nerves at the best of times, but when she was “on” she was a beautiful skater, and that was my favourite program of hers. I am just sad she didn’t get to do her best, partly because of the the Harding drama.

    • vv says:

      I completely forgot about the busted lace! Poor Joee. Although I seem to recall Josee was rather inconsistent. She could be fantastic one event and then falling all over the ice it seemed the next.

      • Lady D says:

        It was Josee’s mother that died just before her 2010 Olympic performance right? I remember her looking up to the sky crying and talking to her mother after her performance. It was rather heartbreaking.

      • littlestar says:

        Lady D, that’s Joannie Rochette you are thinking of (Josee had long since retired from competitive skating), who went on to win the bronze in Vancouver. It was definitely an incredibly moving performance.

        From what I recall of Josee Chouinard, she was a good skater but I don’t think she had a chance at ever winning a medal at the Olympics. There were too many skaters who were better than her. However, I always had a soft spot for her too growing up :) .

        I don’t feel like I can even comment on the whole Harding/Kerrigan scandal, I was in Grade 4 when it happened – the only think I remember was how huge it was, all over the media!

  18. Kitten says:

    Sometimes I think the real victim of the drama was Michelle Kwan, who as young as she was at that time, was at the peak of her skating abilities, and had to take the third place sub spot for Tanya, who was a hot mess, and Nancy, who I felt got the spot out if sympathy. Why would you send a kneecapped athlete to the Olympics? Was the medal that worth it?

    • LNG says:

      Nancy had to earn her spot by skating for the committee just before the Olympics to prove that she was in top shape and was able to compete. She did extensive rehab and was able to earn her spot because of it. She skated what are widely considered the two best performances of her career at the Olympics and lost gold by 1/10th of a point. She won the short program over Oksana. So i’d say she earned her spot and proved she deserved it given her results at the olympics. And if i remember correctly, many of Nancy’s rivals agreed to her being placed on the team.

      Tonya is the one who should have been dropped from the Olympic team, but she started a 25 million dollar lawsuit against the olympic committee and they decided not to drop her rather than to fight about it in court.

  19. NerdMomma says:

    I’ve never doubted that Tonya was a victim in this mess. Her EX husband, not her husband, did this. Alarm bells. Why didn’t she go to authorities? Maybe because she was terrified of her crazy abusive ex-husband? Even when I was a kid, I could sense this- maybe because I grew up in an abusive home. She got away from that man through divorce, but she couldn’t get him out of her life. I have tremendous sympathy and wish for her life to be peaceful.

    As for Nancy, she recovered and got the silver, and was America’s princess for a few months. I don’t think Tonya needs to acknowledge that what happened to Nancy was wrong- pretty sure that’s understood by all.

    Someone above said that the media portrayed both women in extreme ways. I think it’s true that both were victims of the media in this way. Nancy had to live up to the nation’s expectations, and Tonya was viewed as a dirty competitor and an attacker.

    • Lucinda says:

      She was still living with him at the time. She had divorced him but didn’t leave. Tanya needs to acknowledge it because it shows she accepts her role in the part and she did have a role. It was more than her knowing. She was there when they were planning, taking notes. The police found the note and that’s what got her in trouble.

    • Merritt says:

      @NerdMomma

      Being an abuse victim doesn’t negate her role in the attack. There was strong evidence that she was instrumental in the planning. Evidence that was found in the dumpster of a restaurant at the time, had her handwriting detailing where Nancy trained, etc. Her statements to the FBI were inconsistent. There was also strong evidence that she called in a threat to a qualifying competition prior to the Nationals, in order to get a bye to Nationals.

      The only reason that she accepted the plea, was that it gave her a the ability to continue to deny her role.

  20. lovegossipbutnotL&E says:

    Please. I grew up in a little town called Aloha, Oregon. We were never incorporated but were basically part of Beaverton where she grew up. I am the same age as her. Do not feel sympathy for her. She is a manipulative liar and can make the tears work when needed. Beleive me, she does not deserve anyone’s sympathy. Trust me! I remember when this happened and she would do the talk shows and whine how she “put Oregon on the map” (good thing to be proud of) and compare herself to Mike Tyson, saying why should he be able to go back to boxing after his “scandal” but she can’t go back to professional skating. Difference? SHE accepted that as part of her plea. He did not. Ugh! She is the most annoying “woman” to come out of Oregon!!!!! :O

  21. lovegossipbutnotL&E says:

    Please. I grew up in a little town called Aloha, Oregon. We were never incorporated but were basically part of Beaverton where she grew up. I am the same age as her. Do not feel sympathy for her. She is a manipulative liar and can make the tears work when needed. Beleive me, she does not deserve anyone’s sympathy. Trust me! I remember when this happened and she would do the talk shows and whine how she “put Oregon on the map” (good thing to be proud of) !nd compare herself to Mike Tyson, saying why shr he be able to go back to boxing after his “scandal” but she can’t go back to professional skaiting. Difference? SHE accepted that as part of her plea. He did not. Ugh! She is the most annoying “woman” to come out of Oregon!!!!! :O
    P.S., her husband may have abused her, I don’t know, but BELEVE me, she could probably give back and I’m sure she was not the innocent one she wants everyone to think!!!!

    • delia says:

      I totally agree with you and cannot believe the some of the comments that I am reading here denigrating Kerrigan and oozing with sympathy for Harding. Having an abusive boyfriend/husband/ex-husband, while unfortunate, does not absolve one of criminal complicity. If it did the there would be no women’s prisons.

      I was an adult in 1994. I also was a lifelong fan of figure skating.
      I even remember the days of school figures. Is Olympic figure skating political and dependent upon appearance and presence as well as technical prowess? Yes. Always was and always will be. Is competitive figure skating prohibitively expensive for most people? Sure was for me.

      I will save my sympathies for Nancy Kerrigan. I cannot imagine how difficult it must have been for her to continue training and
      competing after a surprise assault specifically designed to cripple her. I am glad that she won the Silver. I also enjoyed Oksana’s gutsy performance to win the Gold. Harding can take her lame excuses, shameful lack of remorse and perpetual whining and go kick rocks. If you want to see someone who really got screwed by stereotyping, try Suriya Bonali.

      • Scarlet Vixen says:

        @Delia: I absolutely 100% agree with everything you said. I’m pretty disgusted with how many people are giving TH a free pass to pretty much be a dispicable person her entire life because she had a rough childhood, while practically blaming NK for being attacked because she looked like a brat. What in the hell kind of ridiculous logic is that? NK also had a difficult family life, and chose to move past it and make the most of herself. And even if she WAS born rich AND pretty, that absolutely DOES NOT excuse what happened to her OR Harding’s culpability.

        I was 14yrs old when the attack occured and was completely obsessed with figure skating (still am) and followed the entire drama. Even then I recognized how media loves to portray real people as characters and skew facts to add drama. Harding is not and never was the poor vicitim she’s been working for 20yrs now. And Kerrigan was never the whiny princess from the good side of the tracks.

        Thankyou for also reminded me about Suriya Bonali. She and her 1-piece catsuits DID NOT gel well with the skating federation, did they? But damn, was she a powerful skater! I miss the good old days of skating when skaters were so dynamic and had their own style. The new point system and lengthy list of required elements has sorta homogenized the skating field.

      • jane16 says:

        Excellent point about Suriya! God, I loved watching her.

  22. dorothy says:

    She alone made the choice to do what she did. No sympathy here, just irritation that she is now presenting herself as the victim.

  23. vv says:

    As much as I recall the entire drama and event of the knee capping, one thing that always struck me about this entire affair…was how poorly Kerrigan presented herself on the podium afterward when she won silver. As someone who grew up playing competitive sports I remember how appalled I was by her lack of good sportsmanship. (although Harding took the cake for that as well, she is no gem).

    You could read it on her face plain as day “yeah whatever, this is bullshit.”

    That said I was always a big Oksana fan.

  24. LAK says:

    That’s a face for radio!!!

    Not to mention exceedingly hard faced.

  25. Amy says:

    I think this sums it up better than anything I – or most of us – could write. Thank you, Loudon Wainwright III
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3RG6X2n-THM

  26. Whoop says:

    Wow. She looks like a 65 year old retired woman trying to hang on to her youth. She did not age well.

  27. jc126 says:

    I’ve always believed she knew about the attack all along, before it happened.

  28. Kristen says:

    When I first saw this story on GMA, I thought Tonya Harding was Stevie Nicks.

  29. Algernon says:

    I did competitive showjumping for over 10 years and based on that experience, I’m sure Tonya Harding faced a lot of biased judges, meangirl competitors, and cruelty. I wouldn’t be surprised if the plan to attack Nancy Kerrigan was born of the feeling that everything was skewed against her (and everything probably *was* skewed against her) and something needed to be done to even the playing field. That said, nothing, not even abuse, excuses her from her role in the attack. She is culpable as an accomplice, at least. I am sorry for her awful-sounding childhood and nightmarish personal life situation, but there is right, and there is wrong, and planning a malicious attack meant to injure, possibly even cripple, another human being is just wrong.

  30. bettyrose says:

    I met both of them shortly before this happened. Tonya was unbelievably sweet and so thrilled to have fans. Nancy was pretty much indifferent to us. No one deserves what happened to her, but I will never believe that Tonya had a cruel side to her. On some level I will always have a fondness for Tonya and think of Nancy as a spoiled princess.

  31. Mindizzy! says:

    Omg I’m getting olllllld, if I showed this to my 17 year old cousin she’d have no idea who any of these people are. Lol :/

  32. videli says:

    Some see in Harding a victim, I see a sociopath. Impulsive, unstable, remorseless, and manipulative. I wish her child well.

  33. TheOriginalKitten says:

    Gah! I give up.
    Definitely one of the most disappointing C/B comment threads in my five years of commenting here.

    Feels like a lot of people gave up on logic, reason, objectivity and basic fairness in favor of high school cattiness. Definite bummer.

    • Katija says:

      Oh, I agree with you. I said in a comment below – Kerrigan was always a victim of her own looks. She *LOOKS* like she could be an East Coast heiress, so she was painted to be this rich princess, when in reality, she was just as broke and dysfunctional as Tanya. Unfortunately, people took Tanya’s side because they could identify with wanting to see the little rich privileged girl in their own life “get what’s coming to her.” Disgusting. I might get attacked for this, but Kerrigan was labeled as a spoiled little beeyotch because of her own looks. One comment that got her in trouble was saying “What’s the point? She’ll just cry it off again anyways!” when they delayed a medal ceremony so a Russian skater could fix her makeup. That comment is actually sort of funny and wasn’t meant to be heard publicly, but instead, her darkly funny joke became new “evidence” that she was a “spoiled brat.”

      • TheOriginalKitten says:

        I read your comment and I couldn’t agree more with you and Sal. People’s opinion about Kerrigan is based false narrative sold to the public by the media.

        The most glaringly obvious misconception on this board is the overwhelming comments about Kerrigan’s “privileged” childhood.

        I’m betting a lot of these people have never been to Stoneham, particularly in the 70s and 80s. It is not a wealthy town in any way, shape or form.

      • Katija says:

        Oh, absolutely. People in Middle America hear “Massachusetts” or “Connecticut” and assume big money. In reality, after getting older and seeing more of our country, I’ve realized that there are towns in the Bible Belt that are predominantly McMansions and towns on the East Coast that are utter slums. Nancy was NOT privileged until she went out and made her own fortune.

      • TheOriginalKitten says:

        Exactly…but Tonya had a rough childhood so that excuses her 8 run-ins with law enforcement?
        I posted a list of her incidents in a comment above, taken straight from her wiki page. The situations involve a lot of unsubstantiated claims on her part, so I’m at a loss as to why so many people would automatically believe every incident she claims happened. While a troubled childhood might shed light on the reason for her bad behavior, it doesn’t change the very simple fact that Harding is not a very good person.

        A lot of people have troubled childhoods, both my parents had horrific ones that would make even Tonya cry. Neither of my parents have ever been arrested, or gotten a DUI, or been accused of orchestrating an assault on another person.

      • Katija says:

        When it comes down to it, if there is a person who can watch the “Why, why, why?!” video and think, “well, Tanya is a victim in all of this too” – that’s not a person who I would want to associate with, let’s just say that.

    • blue marie says:

      Right? I’m reading these comments and just don’t get it. I will never believe she didn’t help orchestrate it.

      • TheOriginalKitten says:

        Harding took a deal and pled guilty to conspiring to hinder prosecution so she would never have to answer the question of what she knew and when she knew it in a court of law. Smart move on her part, but I have no idea how this somehow absolves her of being complicit in the crime, but people seem to making that leap.

        A lot of revisionist history here…

      • gg says:

        I followed the skating and the legal issues and findings very closely and I was an adult working in a law office at the time. I started out being a fan of both of them, and assumed Tonya wasn’t guilty, UNTIL I saw it being played out. Reasonable suspicion and Tonya changing stories made it pretty obvious she was a part of it. She acted shady as hell. I was very disappointed because I was actually rooting for both of them. Just because it might have been Jeff’s idea and she found out later, but BEFORE the attack, does not mean she knew nothing and was not guilty. And when she appeared at the bench, palpably relieved she wasn’t going to jail and she said she was “sorry she interfered”, obviously relieved she got off having to admit to anything further. Reminded me of that Jon Lovitz character on SNL, yeah, I “INTERFERED” …. yeah, yeah, dats da ticket!

        Then there’s her behavior ever since with all the police calls and drama nonstop. She perpetuated her own violence and drama if you look at all the police calls.

        Having said all that, I think it’s wonderful she has finally turned her life around. But I ain’t buying the victim thing. She could still come clean, but she won’t.

    • Lucinda says:

      Yes! I think most of us who are fed up live in Oregon and have had the “pleasure” of watching Harding end up in the news every so often for her legal problems. I think we also remember more details, many which came out after the Olympics and people weren’t watching as closely. Most national coverage has focused on Tanya’s latest victim story.

  34. homegrrrral says:

    As a girl who was loved and hit, I became a woman who chose a man who loved and nearly hit. I ran barefoot out of the house with our baby. My story is far less salient because I stay away from drugs and alcohol, but I still recreated childhood patterns.

    I’ve been in a 5yr legal battle with my x and feel I’m viewed as the TH of our small community. I’m WT so I must be at fault compared with my raised to be a Prince x sociopath.

    So I feel for TH and understand how abuse perpetuates abuse, with prejudice adding fuel to the fire.

    May we all have more compassion.

    • Nerd Alert says:

      Unfortunately, it seems people only have compassion for abuse victims when they have perfect records. They forget what abuse, physical and emotional, does to the victim and once they cross a certain line they are unforgivable.

      Good luck to you–I hope you win your battles and keep him away from your baby.

    • Algernon says:

      There’s a difference between having compassion for someone and absolving that person of culpability in a criminal offense because they’ve had bad things happen to them. Tonya Harding, whatever else happened to her, had some role in the planning of a violent physical assault that could have permanently crippled another human being. There’s really no excuse for that. I said in another comment that I can understand her feeling like the world was against her, because it probably was, frankly, but that still doesn’t excuse planning to violently assault another person, risking permanent injury.

    • Sloane Wyatt says:

      Keep up the good fight, homegrrrral!

      I admire you keeping a clear head on your shoulders in the midst of overcoming your heavy past and rough present. I believe you’re rescuing yourself and your child. I hope you continue to find the resources to help you process this horrific experience and come out the other side stronger, happier, and even more resilient than you already are. Good luck in your journey.

    • Lucinda says:

      All she has to do is say she is sorry. That’s all people want. I’m willing to bet you have apologized for things you have done, even if done under the duress of an abusive past. No one is looking for perfect. Just even a whiff of remorse. Sadly there is none to be found.

  35. Katija says:

    You guys need to Google Nancy’s backstory. Nancy is NO pampered little rich princess – her family had very little money and just as much dysfunction as the Hardings. Unfortunately – well, fortunately, in some ways – Nancy Kerrigan looks like she could be a Kennedy. She has a very distinguished, upper class look about her. Because of this, she was painted as the “rich princess” who was the reason that poor little abusive family Tonya Harding never had a chance. However, what she looks like and what she really is are two very different things. Let’s not forget that Tanya Harding had her a-hole husband ASSAULT this girl. I can’t believe anything would villain Nancy because of her supposed “rich girl” image.

  36. GirlyGirl says:

    Time sure took a sledgehammer to her eh?

  37. Skye says:

    Without getting into the particulars of the kneecapping incident, or her criminal actions since then, one thought always jumps out at me, re TH: an article I read once that mentioned “white trash” as “the last acceptable racial slur.” I just think about what it must have been like for a young girl from Tonya Harding’s background to grow up and compete in the relatively elite world of figure-skating – a sport in which beauty and perceived elegance/”class” are as important as athleticism – -and my heart hurts for her. I’m not excusing her actions or saying Kerrigan deserved any ill will. But think about the scorn and ridicule TH faced for being “white trash” before the kneecapping ever happened. It doesn’t excuse, but it DOES lend context.

    • Katija says:

      I’m sorry, but I call BS. Tanya was not called white trash because of her upbringing, she was called white trash because of her behavior. Look at Britney Spears. At her prime, no one called her white trash merely because she was born poor. We called her white trash when she started wandering in and out of gas station bathrooms barefoot and began neglecting basic hygiene.

      • Katija says:

        I will concede that perhaps before the attack there may have been some “lookism” – with Nancy being favored because she was so beautiful and Tanya being dismissed as average and pudgy by the standards of the sport – but I do not think that Tanya being labeled as “white trash” is the fault of anyone besides Tanya herself.

  38. reba says:

    In first reply to first comment, @Aura says:
    “This is article on the Kerrigan/Harding incident, and the role gender and sexual politics played is excellent, well balanced and informative. Highly recommend.
    http://tinyurl.com/o3bgllk
    Thanks Aura. I just read that article, it is indeed excellent. It shows the role played by the press in painting people in one light or another depending on circumstances. And how they spew misinformation. For example, in the video above I find it shocking that the reporter still intimates, basically, that Tonya Harding hired someone to commit the assault and that Nancy Kerrigan’s knee was hit – when the facts are that Harding’s husband hired the (bumbling) hit man and Kerrigan’s thigh was injured.

    I’m not saying I give Tonya a pass (I don’t), I am just saying the above article is informative and interesting and brings some balance to the picture while showing us a little bit of what female celebrities are exposed to if they don’t behave like proper ladies.

  39. paranormalgirl says:

    Looking at this from the psychiatric angle: Harding was and always will be the perennial victim. She was first the victim of her mother, then her husband, then of herself. While her abusive relationship MAY somewhat lessen her culpability at the time, it doesn’t excuse the fact that she has had 20 years to accept her role and 20 years to understand her guilt and she has done nothing of the sort. She continues to explain it and excuse it away. And she will always be haunted and unsettled until she comes clean in her own head.

    • Nerd Alert says:

      You make a very, very good point. I wish I was clear-minded enough to make it myself. While I am a Tonya sympathizer to a certain degree, your point is very important. She has had a long time to come to terms with the awful attack on Nancy and hasn’t. You’re right–she was born a victim and will probably die one in her own mind.

      I appreciate how intelligent and well-stated this comment is, acknowledging her guilt without turning her into some evil monster that hurt poor Nancy for the sole purpose of personal gain. (Though I’m not anti-Nancy! I’m anti-Goolily.)

    • TheOriginalKitten says:

      I was hoping you’d weigh in, paranormalgirl. Always appreciate and respect your professional opinion, even if we don’t always agree on all things gossip-related :)

      • AnotherMaureen says:

        Abuse is a damn tricky thing. Poor Tonya and poor Nancy. Victims both. I remember when this happened and I too lived in Oregon and it was huge news. Tonya Harding’s mother was famous(infamous?) for being a loud mouthed nasty alcoholic piece of work. Tonya was disparaged for her looks, her costumes, her used skates, the whole nine. She was very likely treated like trash on the circuit. She had a shitty upbringing and, surprise, wasn’t able to overcome it. That makes me feel sad for her that she decided to hurt others like she had been hurt.

        Nancy Kerrigan may not have been rich but she had a seemingly supportive family. What happened to her was wrong, shocking and horrifying. It’s sad that she too got shit on for being less than gracious after losing the gold(which she should have won. Oksana fell.) Oksana had already established a reputation for crying at the drop of a hat so I can kind of excuse Nancy’s remarks. I would probably say something like that too.

        There is so much context and the only thing black and white is this never should have occurred. We can would, could, should it to death but Tonya is still suffering the consequences of her behavior. She will never live it down, she will always be reviled, she will possibly never see another side because she was put on the defensive and will likely stay there. She was/is an alcoholic so that never helps matters when it comes to clear thinking either.

    • Sloane Wyatt says:

      Yes, Paranormal Girl, I do agree Tonya is now the architect of her own unhappiness. You’re right that she’s seemingly missed time’s opportunity to become at peace with herself; Tonya has become stuck. Although I feel I understand why she is the way she is, her stunted capacity makes her someone I feel compassion for rather than any desire to have her, or people like her, in my own life.

      I feel sad for all people who, for one reason or another, never had the influences, life experiences, casual role models, and/or the resulting wherewithal to grow outward instead of inward.

      At some point, you have to rescue yourself. Once you are your own hero, you can then reach out, share all the love you’ve cultivated, and imbue your life with meaning. Some never get it.

    • Lucinda says:

      Yes, exactly. You can perpetuate the abuse or you can seek help. Even if it took her time, it’s been 20 years. She has decided not to seek help and face her demons.

    • d says:

      @paranormalgirl: I read thru all the comments while formulating my own, but yours is pretty much in line with what I was thinking, so kudos. I feel somewhat sympathetic for the person she could have been. TH WAS talented imo, but didn’t have those other variables as a youngster to develop as a mature human being, never mind a consistent top-performing athlete. You need to be mentally and emotionally tough in that world, AND you need a lot of positive guidance and support, and I doubt
      Harding was really equipped as well as she could have been. Not to excuse her though.
      And, since someone else brought up Chris Brown, I view Harding similarly, in that I feel sad for the kid who had talent, but none of the proper support systems to be an emotionally strong person capable of overcoming obstacles, never mind being an Olympic-level athlete. Obviously her actions are intolerable and wrong, but I think even if the attack on Kerrigan never happened, I don’t Harding would have continued as a high-performance athlete anyway. As someone else pointed out, sometimes you have to rescue yourself, and Harding, as hard as she thinks she may have tried to overcome her obstacles, has been shown to consistently make choices that do not work in her favour over the long run (e.g., lousy training, etc.). Rescuing yourself imo means making tough choices, being accountable and responsible to yourself, and a bunch of other things, whereas she’s most seemed self-indulgent. I get that her life was tough, and being self-indulgent is sometimes a way to numb yourself to the horrors of crappy life and the fear of having to work really hard to overcome that…but those are things that I don’t think Harding has figured out, if she ever will. I think she only ever had enough to get to where she did as an athlete, but not enough within herself, nor anything positive enough from the people around her to make the right choices, especially to overcome the obstacles against her, some of which WERE unfair. But some people can do this, some people can’t. That’s why life is full of stories like hers.
      I still feel sad for her. I don’t like her, don’t condone her involvement and what have you, but I still feel sad for the woman who clearly isn’t really a happy person. Partly because I really do think she knew more of what she’s ever admitted to and that weighs on her, even if she’ll never admit it. For her to show remorse, she’ll have to admit to her culpability, to herself, at the very least. Even if she was abused and raped, and hasd all kinds of crappy things happen in her life, and was no doubt in a terrible state of mind before, during, and after this whole thing, she still needs to move beyond considering herself only as a victim. And that is a choice, hard as that may sound.
      Enough has been said about Kerrigan; I have nothing to add.
      And yes, Surya Bonaly! I remember her! She was so amazing to watch.

  40. MinnFinn says:

    Tonya believing she was a victim indicates to me that she is still entrenched in substance abuse.

  41. CF says:

    I dont claim to be a fan of either girl, Sal, but who says Kerrigan is the more attractive of the two? Not by a long shot was she the more attractive one back then.

  42. TheOriginalKitten says:

    Last comment (promise!): excusing or condoning violent or criminal behavior because of a troubled childhood is problematic for a lot of reasons. It doesn’t mean you can’t have sympathy for the perpetrator of such crimes, but saying that a person is not responsible for his/her behavior as an adult because that person was mistreated as a child is beneficial to neither the criminal or the victim.

    People are not defined solely by their experiences as children, humans are a complex makeup of life experiences and sheer genetics. There’s a reason why some people are able to overcome and triumph during hardships while others implode and collapse. At some point you have to put the onus on the person who is unable to effectively handle the hurdles that life throws us. Tonya never HAD to do a lot of the violent things that she has-she could have taken a different path but she chose not to.

    I’m curious to see if many of the commenters here will grant the same level of understanding and sympathy to other celebrities who were victims of an abusive childhood.

    • bettyrose says:

      Original Kitten – I generally like your posts, and I’m a little stunned by some of what you’ve said here, so I do want to respond one last time. First, when I met the two women discussed here, I was 18. It was the early 90s and my mother bought me – as a gift for my 18th birthday – tickets to a reception for figure skating fans following the tour of world champions. I did not meet these women following a competitive performance. Please let me offer the reminder that this was a decade before Fox News came into existence and long before W. Bush was president. In fact, his father was in office at that time, and his father never pretended to be “folksy” so the whole “culture wars” BS wasn’t even a thing then.

      For some time prior, I had disliked Nancy Kerrigan – not because I thought she was wealthy, or I was threatened by the liberal elite (I was, in fact, living in the major coastal city I had grown up in and was a couple of months away from going to college). I disliked Nancy Kerrigan because I couldn’t stand her musical choices in the post-competition skates (when skaters get to choose their own music), and I found her to be smug in interviews (which is why I called her a “princess.” It wasn’t about money but I’d take that comment back now, if I could). Yes, for an 18 year old who does not skate competitively, that was enough. I liked Tonya Harding, though I knew nothing of her background or criminal history, because I enjoyed her skating. I became a confirmed fan of hers after meeting her at this reception and being impressed with how sweet she was and flattered by fan attention (off topic, I met several male figure skaters at this reception, as well, and left that night feeling madly in love with one particular Russian skater).

      The vitriol in this entire thread has been obscene, but the class warfare analogies are unfair. The early 90s were not a time obsessed with pitting the working class against the educated. Those of us who engaged in Tonya vs. Nancy drama back then – especially fanciful teen girls – simply identified with one over the other based on musical selections and costume choices. In any case, Original Kitten, I really do enjoy your posts most of the time, so I look forward to much more of that in the future. :)

    • paranormalgirl says:

      exactly O-Kitten – you either rise above or fall below. In my practice, I work with both kinds of people and to see someone rise like a phoenix out of the ashes of a horrific childhood is an amazing thing.

  43. Renee says:

    In 1991 TH won the US Ladies title, defeating both Kristi Yamaguchi (who won Olympic gold the following year) and NK. So I call BS on the skating establishment denying Tonya her due. Tonya is a manipulative liar. I could see that 20 years ago and I see it now. As for Bonali, another “victim.” Truth was that she was an amazing athlete but a minimally talented artist. That–not bias–is what cost her World and Olympic titles.

    • Janet says:

      Bonaly was more a gymnast on skates than a figure skater. She was also an enormous crowd-pleaser and great fun to watch. So were Kristi Yamaguchi, and, when her head wasn’t messed up, Tonya Harding. So-called “lyrical” skaters with their repertoire of safe moves like Kerrigan and Michelle Kwan left me cold.

  44. Ravensdaughter says:

    She looks kind of out of it to me, too. Her rape story may well be true–a sad, sorry mess indeed, although I still don’t find her sympathetic…

  45. Janet says:

    I never could stand Kerrigan. She came across like a snotty entitled brat. She went into the Olympics acting like she OWNED the gold medal before she even hit the ice. As for Harding, the attack on Kerrigan was despicable, but I felt sad for her that way before the attack, the press treated her like trailer trash who had no business being in such a refined sport as figure skating. Her cheap-looking, tacky costumes and her atrociously applied make-up and ratty hair (while Kerrigan was competing in a $12,000 dress designed by Vera Wang) didn’t help her image any. Of the two, Harding was definitely the better athlete, but all the negative attention and pressure following the attack on Kerrigan did her in at the games.

  46. Alexis says:

    Everyone keeps saying that NK was the true victim, and she absolutely was – from a pr standpoint. I say that because, assuming TH’s story about the rape is true, then she is as much if not more of a victim. Personally, I would rather be kneecapped than raped at gunpoint by someone who is supposed to love me and 2 other men. If that happened to her, i think it is perfectly understandable that she was too traumatized and scared to go to the authorities. The TH/NK narrative is super compelling with the competition aspect of it, but imagine if you had a friend in an abusive relationship whose husband told her he was going to assault someone and then raped your friend, at gunpoint and with two other people, to keep her quiet about it. How would you feel about this if it were your friend? I definitely think TH should have better handled the pr surrounding the NK attack. But, again assuming her story is true, I don’t think it is fair to say she was a lesser victim.

  47. taxi says:

    Nothing in TH’s past or present, as she states it, indicates that she’ll parent well. I feel very sorry for her child & expect a troubled life for this 3rd generation in the lineage.

  48. Christin says:

    The 20th anniversary of skate-gate or whatever we can call it has been observed and soon will be put aside to revisit another pre-social media infamous event anniversary from 1994 — OJ, Nicole and Ron (where two people lost their lives).

  49. BackstageBitchy says:

    Thanks, @OriginalKitten, for that list of Harding’s many legal incidents. It looks to me like she has a clear history of making up dramatic, implausible stories involving violence and victimization to explain and excuse the trouble she gets into. Which makes me seriously question the “my husband and a bunch of people raped me to keep me quiet” story. Many people on here have mentioned that as though it were a matter of fact, but I haven’t seen anything other than Tonya’s say-so that might legitimize that claim. To me, if she made that up, ( like she made up the abduction by the bushy haired man to explain her crashing into a tree, and made up or conjured up the men storming her house with guns, etc) then she deserves even more scorn than has already been heaped on her. Regardless of who was prettier, thinner, more likeable, had a poorer upbringing or even was a better skater, Tonya contributed to a violent attack on another person who had nothing to with her, never apologized, used her sad upbringing to excuse a long long list of bad and borderline criminal behaviors, and continued to act in an angry, violent and entitled manner far into her adulthood. Plus she may have made up a violent rape out of whole cloth as an excuse to get out of taking responsibility for her involvement in the NK attack. That to me is inexcusable. I’m surprised to see so many defenders on here. It’s one thing to support and feel sorry for the underdog. It’s another to take the word of a known liar with a history if making up physical assaults as the gospel when I comes to the rape excuse. If she made that up too, That’s just disgusting. And a disservice to people who ARE victimized and intimidated by real rapes all over the world.

    • gg says:

      Exactly why I can’t believe anything Harding says. She can bring the crocodile tears and she can take older incidents and use them as excuses by placing them in another context. Whine, whine, poor me.

      I hope she grows up sometime and I hope her family stays well.

  50. shannon says:

    i’m with the haters. Harding is a drama queen and has risked a lot for attention over the years. why she would want to throw away an opportunity to hang with the best of the best is beyond me. and even snarkier, good grief she has NOT aged well.

  51. JenniferJustice says:

    It is a fallacy that Nancy Kerrigan came from a wealthy family. Quite the contrary, she came from a blue collar family. Her father worked two jobs to support her skating. The Kerrigan’s, at least back then, seemed to be a good, healthy family – but they were not rich by any means. Harding came from a broken home. So, if we’re going to give her a handicap, let’s be accurate and just say Kerrigan had a tight and probably more supportive family. Harding gets no sympathy from me. Lots of kids come from broken homes or had hard childhoods. I only give kudos to those that rise above it and prove to have bettered themselves and given their kids everythign they never had in the way of love, support, guidance, security and structure. Hardings, though, is of the type to use it as an excuse to do wrong, wish ill on others out of jealousy, and has a false sense of entitlement. As far as skating goes, Kerrigan was definitely the better skater. They were both up for that position in the Olympics, but everybody knew back then, it would be Kerrigan for her grace and flow. Harding was athletic and made landed that triple axle – but she was not graceful. Strong, but not graceful.

  52. Flower says:

    Good lord, that face would trip a duck.

  53. Mkp says:

    And what’s the excuse for Nancy sleeping with another woman’s husband?