Tonya Harding: 'I knew something was up' prior to Nancy Kerrigan attack

Saturday, 13 Jan, 2018

They took their Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan fandom to a whole new level.

"I, Tonya" is amusing when it wants to be, poignant when it needs to be, and surprisingly effective in harnessing these deeper themes to a character who might otherwise be dismissed as a lightweight laughingstock.

And she chose to toss away that relationship for the sake of absurd demands threatening press members who dare go digging into her past while the sun is shining.

So who is Tonya Harding-world famous athlete, '90s pop culture boogiewoman, and imperfect victim-at end of film's two-hour-plus run time?

Harding's "do-over" statements come after Kerrigan told The Boston Globe that she has "nothing to say" about I, Tonya, the buzzy biopic that depicts Harding's life and the events that led up to the infamous 1994 kneecapping that almost ended Kerrigan's career.

To follow up on the success of I, Tonya, ABC's new Truth and Lies: The Tonya Harding Story special attempted to get behind the real Harding with all-new interviews. Harding's first ex-husband, Jeff Gillooly, pleaded guilty to orchestrating the attack, though Harding has long denied any involvement.

Tonya Harding is most remembered for the Nancy Kerrigan leg clubbing incident during the 1994 Winter Olympics where authorities determined her ex-boyfriend conspired to carry out the attack
Tonya Harding: 'I knew something was up' prior to Nancy Kerrigan attack

Though she side-stepped questions about apologizing to Kerrigan, Harding did admit to finding it hard to witness the aftermath of her competitor's attack.

Business Insider asked Rogers before the movie opened in December if he was motivated at all to get to the bottom of what Harding knew before writing the script. "But I think the victim in all this wasn't you".

Harding responded: "You wouldn't let me finish". "Why would I throw a steak knife at anybody?" she said.

How much she was involved and whether she knew about the plot before or after the fact will likely never be known. That "wildly contradictory" claim that starts the film defines the whole thing, and we therefore approach what we're told with a healthy dose of skepticism. The film includes a scene in which Allison Janney, 58, who plays Golden, throws a steak knife at Harding, played by actress Margot Robbie, 27. "Absolutely, positively you (have) got to show them right from wrong".

The 2017 movie I, Tonya, a biopic about the life and downfall of the disgraced figure skater, is one of the most award-nominated and critically-acclaimed movies of the year. As a writer for the National Sports Daily, I covered the 1991 national championships when Harding landed a triple axel, and in 1993 I became lead sports columnist for the Oregonian. Remember when Harding's rival, Nancy Kerrigan, was smashed on the knee with a metal club by someone hired by Harding's ex-husband, Jeff Gillooly? "I was a liar to everybody but still, 23 years later, finally everybody can just eat crow". I am sad as I write this but at the same time I'm happy that I had such an adventure with the movie [I, Tonya] and with recreating a new positive image for her in the public eye.

"I think that many people are the victims of abuse every single day, and can't stand up for themselves", Harding said. "Tonya herself called us trailer trash".