Monday, January 6, 2014
Twenty Years Later: the Nancy/ Tonya Saga
It's hard to believe that it's been 20 years since Nancy Kerrigan was attacked in Detroit, coming off the practice ice at the 1994 U.S. Figure Skating Championships. The "whack heard 'round the world" quickly thrust Kerrigan, the comely ice princess, into a media frenzy. Harding, was also in the spotlight, but in a not-so-glamorous fashion, as more information started to leak, linking her to the attack. What ensued was one of the greatest sports/ media stories in history. The upside was that despite the tragedy, figure skating was suddenly a top-watched event. The 1994 winter Olympics in Lillehammer Norway, the epic "showdown" between Kerrigan and Harding, earned the 6th highest TV ratings of all-time. Of course, Harding ended up having a meltdown and finished 10th; whereas, Kerrigan sparkled like her golden Vera Wang dress, narrowly missing Olympic gold by one tenth of one point, by one judge. Though settling for silver behind Ukraine's nymph-like orphan, World Champion Oksana Baiul, Kerrigan's return to the ice triumph, only weeks after the attack, was one of the finest I, and the world, has ever witnessed.
Kerrigan's attack was heartless, brutal, and absolutely awful; however, if one must look on the bright side, the popularity of the sport that resulted from the media blitz surrounding the attack truly did wonders for the athletes involved, and for fans, such as myself, who were caught up in the enchanting euphoria of the magical world of figure skating. I remember coming home from school on Jan. 6, and seeing Nancy Kerrigan, in her white practice dress, crying on the TV screen. I remember my sister, Devon, and I asking my mom, "Who is that beautiful woman, and why is she crying?" From that point on, we were both transfixed. I watched every skating show on TV, read every skating preview article in the paper, and watched the 1994 Olympics on repeat. Yes, in the winter of 1994, figure skating spun into my life at full speed, and depth of joy and experiences it brought with it has never left. Twenty years ago today, my life was irrevocably changed forever, and I've enjoyed every second. Figure skating is not just a sport to me, it's a life-long passion.
Below are some interesting articles about the 20-year-anniversary of Kerrigan's attack, and some Nancy/Tonya videos.
Tonya's 1994 Nationals/ Olympic Experience:
Nancy Kerrigan's 1994 Olympic Experience: