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Olympia 2014: Nancy Kerrigan 1994: Beauty and the Beast

Olympia 2014: Nancy Kerrigan 1994: Beauty and the Beast


Olympia 2014: Nancy Kerrigan 1994: Beauty and the Beast

In the Olympic Moments, SPOX looks back on the most legendary moments of the Olympic Games. Part eight: The iron rod assassination attempt, which shocked the sports world before the 1994 Lillehammer Games – and was intended to forever connect the figure skaters Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding.

Americas Sweetheart on the one hand, the jealous rival on the other hand: Before the 1994 Olympic Games in Lillehammer, a criminal story took place in the US team of figure skaters that Hollywood’s dramaturgists couldn’t have imagined better – and that was actually filmed in the film “I, Tonya” in 2017.

After Kristi Yamaguchi’s resignation with the Olympic victory in 1992, Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding are considered to be their crown princesses, as the US girls already made the world championship podium in Munich 1991: Yamaguchi ahead of Harding and Kerrigan.

Harding undoubtedly has the greatest sporting talent. At the age of twelve, she is already triple Lutz. At just under 17 years of age, she is the world’s first female runner to achieve triple Axel in an international competition, the 1987 Skate America – two years before Midori Ito achieved world fame with three and a half times the 1989 World Cup.

Despite all her jumping power, Harding lacks that certain something in her performances. Always a little too athletic, too pale, raw and simple. Emotions are missing. And so, following her 1991 World Cup silver medal, she increasingly loses the connection to her big competitor.

Nancy Kerrigan convinces judges and fans more with her elegance and expressiveness than with technical elements or nerves. touching Kerrigan white radiates class. After winning the bronze medal in 1991, she went on to win silver the following year. Harding remains only sixth.

While Kerrigan became US Champion in 1993, Harding even loses her international starting position in fourth place – and sees her skins swimming away in the direction of Lillehammer. The 23-year-old Olympic gold has been chosen as her springboard to a better life.

From the underclass of Portland, Harding had worked his way up into the glittering world of ice skating – and sometimes seemed like a foreign body. High school dropped her off and put her on the ice skating map. Her mother quickly acquired a dubious reputation on the gang, screamed at her daughter and scolded her with nasty swearwords when things didn’t go well in practice.

Even though Kerrigan did not come from wealthy backgrounds – her family financed the expensive training only thanks to numerous side jobs – but her charisma helped the pretty, quiet brunettes with the first successes to profitable advertising contracts. Kerrigan quickly unmarried her financial worries, she was able to repay her family for their deprivation – and Harding looked into the tube. And to top it all off, she hadn’t confessed to triple Axel since 1991. Their bitterness grew.

Was she therefore prepared to sabotage the Olympic preparation of her big competitor?

Fact is: Nancy Kerrigan will be on the 6. January 1994, one day before the start of the US Championships, in Detroit. The top favourite is on her way out of the Cobo Arena after a training session when an unknown person attacks her with an iron bar.

“Before she could say anything, a guy came running, bowed down, hit her knee and ran away,”an eyewitness remembers.”Nancy fell down, screamed and sobbed.”

“Why, why me?” were her first words. Kerrigan suffers a severe bruise above her right knee and has to cancel the championship, which should bring her Olympic qualification. Kerrigan’s manager and future husband Jerry Solomon expresses concern:”This is a bitter blow to Nancy physically and mentally. and mental strength is so important on the ice.”

Two days later, Tonya Harding is US Champion for the second time after 1991 and qualified as one of two runners for the games in Lillehammer. However, instead of awarding the second Olympic ticket directly to runners-up Michelle Kwan, the association leaves the door open for Nancy Kerrigan.

On the first day of the election, she makes a public statement about the insidious attack.”I’m okay. But I am extremely angry that someone is capable of such a thing.” The 24-year-old doesn’t even suspect the extent of the conspiracy.

Only eight months after Monica Seles’s knife act, the story is making a big splash in the media. Investigations are in full swing: the attacker is said to have filmed Kerrigan’s training before he struck. He apparently wore an accreditation, but he is not identified until eight days after the incident.

The police will pick you up on the 14th. Five days later, Harding’s ex-husband is also arrested: Jeff Gillooly and Harding’s bodyguard Shawn Eckardt are said to have instructed a friend to attack Kerrigan. This man of straw finally persuades his nephew, Shane Stant, to carry out the attack. What Gillooly didn’t know: The three accomplices let a recording device run with them when they concocted the plan to break Kerrigan’s leg with Gillooly. Harding’s husband is quickly convicted. But what did Tonya know?

The iron rod assassination attempt on Nancy Kerrigan

A competition for the history books – and the after that

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