Sunday, February 25, 2018
Sports

NBC looks back at Nancy Kerrigan, Tonya Harding

It might be the most famous moment in Winter Olympics history.

It's certainly the most infamous.

It was more shocking than the "Miracle on Ice'' at Lake Placid in 1980. More spectacular than Franz Klammer's harrowing run in the downhill at Innsbruck in 1976. More dramatic than anything involving Bonnie Blair, Shaun White or Peggy Fleming.

Hard to believe, but it has been 20 years since Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding were teammates on the 1994 U.S. figure skating team, just weeks after Kerrigan was the victim of a bizarre attack planned by associates of Harding, including her husband at the time.

Tonight at 7, NBC is scheduled to air Nancy & Tonya, a one-hour documentary hosted by Mary Carillo.

In the documentary, broadcaster and former skater Scott Hamilton perfectly summed up what this story has meant.

"This may have changed skating a little bit,'' Hamilton said, "but to me it changed media forever."

Kerrigan has rarely spoken publicly about the events of early 1994, but both Kerrigan and Harding were interviewed for the special.

Kerrigan was attacked coming off the ice after practice on Jan. 6, 1994. A man named Shane Stant, allegedly hired by Harding's ex-husband and her bodyguard, struck Kerrigan on the leg with a lead pipe, forcing her to withdraw from the U.S. Figure Skating Championships and paving the way for Harding to win.

"I got off the ice and went through the curtain and then I was hit,'' Kerrigan said. "And then that just changed everything. Someone hit me with something. I just saw a black kind of pole or something coming down."

At the time, Kerrigan made no connection between Harding and the attack.

"I had people asking me, 'Do you think she had anything to do with it?' '' Kerrigan said. "And I, my reaction to that was, 'That's ridiculous.' To me, this had to have been some random act."

To this day, Harding denies having any role.

Kerrigan won the silver medal at the 1994 Olympics, while Harding did not medal.

These days, Harding, 43, is married with one child.

"I have a wonderful life,'' she said. "You can look at it half cup full, half cup empty — whichever way you want to look at it. But, you know what? You make mistakes. You move on. You learn from it."

Kerrigan, 44, is married with three children.

"Life has moved on,'' she said. "Right now I'm very busy being mom, and I have a lot of responsibility doing that. I'm putting three kids, eventually, out into the world."

Worst timing

Speaking of the Nancy Kerrigan attack, I was scheduled to interview Kerrigan for an Olympic preview story back in 1994. I was in Detroit for the 1994 U.S. Figure Skating Championships and was told the best way to get a few minutes with Kerrigan was to stop her coming off the ice on Jan. 6. But two days before the interview, I came down with pneumonia.

My boss at the time ordered me home.

"But what about the Kerrigan interview?'' I said.

"Don't worry about it,'' I was told. "Hey, what are you really going to miss?''

The day I was scheduled to interview Kerrigan as she came off the ice was the day she was attacked. Turns out I only missed, arguably, one of the biggest sports stories ever.

Three things that popped into my head

1. Bucs receiver Mike Williams is accused of doing $50,000 in property damage to a house he was renting. Think about it, $50,000. Seems like you would have to try to cause that much damage.

2. As Sports Illustrated points out, doesn't the skeleton on the new Bucs logo look like Skeletor?

3. Did anyone in sports have a worse week than Danny Granger? He was traded from the East-leading Pacers to the lottery-bound 76ers. That's like ordering a medium-rare steak and getting a burnt track shoe.

tom jones' two cents

tom jones' two cents

Comments
Florida boosts NCAA resume by beating No. 12 Auburn 72-66

Florida boosts NCAA resume by beating No. 12 Auburn 72-66

GAINESVILLE — KeVaughn Allen finally got the message. It took a scoreless game and long chats with coach Mike White and two teammates to sink in.Allen bounced back from his worst game in more than three years with 24 points, including a 60-foot...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Winter Olympics: Sunday’s viewing schedule

Winter Olympics: Sunday’s viewing schedule

TV Sunday5 a.m.–7 p.m. NBCSNHockey (M) — Gold-medal game, athletes from Russia vs. Germany (replay)1968 — A 90-minute documentary, narrated by four-time gold medalist and 23-time Grand Slam singles tennis champion Serena Willia...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Chad Reed sets Supercross mark; Eli Tomac wins 450SX main event

Chad Reed sets Supercross mark; Eli Tomac wins 450SX main event

By JIM TOMLINTimes CorrespondentTAMPA — Chad Reed is having a down season by his standards. At Saturday's Monster Energy Supercross event at Raymond James Stadium, his home track, he needed a second chance just to make the main event.But the Da...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Ondrej Palat skating, likely mid-March return

Ondrej Palat skating, likely mid-March return

MONTREAL — It is an encouraging sign for the Lightning that wing Ondrej Palat (right) is back on the ice, even if he is doing just light skating.Palat is arguably the team's best two-way forward, someone who plays in all situations, so Tampa Ba...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Lightning tops Canadiens in shootout, looks ahead to trade deadline

Lightning tops Canadiens in shootout, looks ahead to trade deadline

MONTREAL — There's no guarantee general manager Steve Yzerman will be able to pull off a big move by Monday's trade deadline, though indications are the Lightning and Senators are working hard on a potential Erik Karlsson blockbuster.And the Li...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Tulane avenges USF’s only conference win

TAMPA — Samir Sehic had 17 points and seven rebounds off the bench and Melvin Frazier added 16 points and five assists to lead Tulane over USF 79-68 on Saturday to snap a six-game losing streak.Caleb Daniels added 13 points and Jordan Cornish 1...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Winter Olympics: Norway sets Winter Games medal mark

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea — Surpassing its own lofty expectations, Norway has delivered the greatest performance in the history of the Winter Games, winning a total of 38 medals, 13 of them gold. A nation of only 5 million people has crushed all comer...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Sunday’s sports on TV/radio

TODAYAutosMonster Energy Cup: Folds of Honor QuickTrip 5001 p.m.Fox;102.5-FMNHRA: Arizona Nationals (taped)6 p.m.FS1Baseball, spring trainingRays at Twins1 p.m.Fox Sun; 620-AMYankees at Phillies1 p.m.MLBBowlingPBA: Players Championship1:30 p.m.ESPNCo...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Inside the Rays’ plan to prove the tanking truthers wrong

Inside the Rays’ plan to prove the tanking truthers wrong

PORT CHARLOTTE – The Rays know tanking."We tanked in 2006 and '07, if you want to call it that," principal owner Stuart Sternberg said. "We were the original tankers. Or tankees. It seems to be all the fad now."In losing 101 and 96 games in the...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Winter Olympics: Ester Ledecka first woman to win two golds in different sports at one Games

Winter Olympics: Ester Ledecka first woman to win two golds in different sports at one Games

BONGPYEONG, South Korea — Don’t ask Ester Ledecka if she is the best athlete at the Olympics. She’ll stare through her polarized goggles and recoil at what she considers a preposterous notion."Uh, what?" she responded Saturday.No, seriously."I don’t ...
Updated: 3 hours ago