Saturday, February 17, 2007

Greatest Sporting Moment #1 (Nancy Kerrigan v Tonya Harding)

I know figure skating is not the most thrilling of sports but for one night in 1994 it provided one of the most gripping stories the Olympics have ever seen.

Two American skaters, Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding were USA’s best hopes for gold in Lillehammer but during a training session for the US Championships in January 1994 Kerrigan was attacked as she left the ice. She was struck just above the knee by a metal police baton. Harding won the competition while Kerrigan had to withdraw.

As it transpired, Harding’s ex-husband had hired a man to make the attack and Harding admitted to helping to cover up the attack but the United States Olympic Committee were unable to remove her from the Olympic team. They were still arguing the point after the opening ceremony. Kerrigan was also selected if she could recover in time.

Everything was set up for the most dramatic finale to the story but there was so much more to come.

Kerrigan led the competition after the short programme with Harding down in 10th. When it came to the long programme, Harding’s name was called but she didn’t appear for over a minute and a half, racing onto the ice, inhaler in hand.
She missed her first jump and dissolved into tears. She explained to the judges that a lace had broken during her warm-up and that she had not had time to fix it. 20 minutes later Harding returned, hit four triple jumps and moved up to eighth place.

Kerrigan skated the performance of her life, just making one double jump instead of a triple. She was placed first – a remarkable comeback.

All except for one thing – Ukrainian 16 year old and World Champion, Oksana Baiul.
She herself had been injured after training colliding with another skater and needed pain-killing injections.

She ended up taking the gold by 0.1 of a point in a 5-4 decision by the judges. Kerrigan had to settle for the silver.

Where are they now?
Nancy Kerrigan: She was criticized for leaving the Olympic venue before the closing ceremonies to take part in Disney World parade and was heard to say: “This is dumb. I hate it. This is the most corniest thing I have ever done.”

Oksana Baiul: Emigrated to America and was arrested for drink driving and went into rehab. She also has her own line of clothing and jewellery.

Tonya Harding: She was stripped of her 1994 US title, then stripped to become an internet porn star. She saved an 81 year old woman with mouth to mouth resuscitation. She then became a professional female boxer, winning 3 fights.

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At 12:46 pm, Blogger Adam said...

I was living in America at the was the big scandal of the day.

Until Clinton got sucked off, of course.


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