It’s been a big few months in the culture for Tonya Harding (now Tonya Price), the disgraced Olympian best known for being the first female American figure skater to land a triple axel, as well as maybe helping her ex-husband, Jeff Gillooly, plan a hit on competitor Nancy Kerrigan by bashing her knee in.
There was the blockbuster movie starring Margot Robbie (I, Tonya), the sprawling, cautiously empathetic New York Times Magazine profile (“Tonya Harding Would Like Her Apology Now”), the two-hour ABC News special set to air Thursday night (“Truth and Lies: The Tonya Harding Story”)—all hoping to get at the truth of the 1994 attack on Kerrigan that changed both women’s lives. Harding eventually pleaded guilty to hindering the prosecution and was barred for life from the United States Figure Skating Association. Kerrigan, well, had her knee bashed in and was forced to withdraw from the U.S. Championships that year.
“Lord knows she’s tried to be understood,” Taffy Brodesser-Akner writes of Harding in the Times magazine profile, published Wednesday, “but the focus was so much about what happened in 1994.” (It’s true, the knee-bashing was of interest to the public and federal authorities!) The attention has given Harding the room to justify her career in a way she never thought she’d be able to: She was “scared,” she told ABC News’ Amy Robach, of the visceral response to Kerrigan’s attack, much of which was directed toward her. She had rats thrown in her mailbox, Harding told Brodesser-Akner, feces smeared on her truck.
Yet as Harding shmoozes at the Golden Globes, flashes her “unicorn purple [nails] with glitter particles that she swears are not fake” at photographers for our paper of record, and slams Piers Morgan on live television, I have to ask: What’s Nancy Kerrigan up to these days? And did she ever get that apology from Harding?