Figure skater Nancy Carrigan sat on the floor in the corridor and sobbed uncontrollably. Just got beat up by a stranger. All blows with a telescopic baton fell on her legs: the girl received injuries incompatible with full-fledged training. I had to forget about the World Championship – the decisive qualifying tournament for the Olympics in Lillehammer. The attack was “ordered” by her main competitor – Tonya Harding.
Conquered the triple axel
Tonya did not consider figure skating just a sport or a job. For her, it has become a matter of life. For the sake of results, Harding went to any lengths. Success at the rink gave her a chance to become famous, rich and independent. The latter was especially disturbing for her – relations with her relatives were very difficult. I drank all day long and loosened my hands. Once she pulled me out of the ice rink by force and beat me with a comb in front of everyone, “Harding said.
Tonya achieved incredible success in 1991, winning the US Championship and winning silver at the World Championships. She managed to get to such heights thanks to one element – the triple axel. Harding became the first woman to perform it in the short program. And a little later – in a cascade of jumps. the life of the skater did not work out. Already at 22, Harding divorced Jeff Gillooly. However, they did not completely break off relations. Time later, it is this union that will cause one of the main scandals in the history of figure skating.
I wanted to cripple a competitor
After 1991, Tonya could not cleanly execute a triple axel in competition. The girl understood that the chances of qualifying for the Olympics were rapidly declining. She was ready to get a place in the national team at any cost. Before the 1994 US Championships, Harding decided to eliminate the reigning winner, Carrigan.Tonya shared the plan with Jeff and his bodyguard. They quickly found a performer – Shane Stunt became him. The thug didn't even know what Nancy looked like. In the ice palace, he asked the administrator which of the training athletes was the current champion. Followed the victim and attacked in a deserted corridor.
Without the main competitor, Tonya won the tournament and secured a place for herself in the national team for the Olympics. The plan seemed to work perfectly. However, the police opened a criminal case and contacted Harding's ex-husband.
The detainee blamed Tonya and said that it was she who was behind the organization of the attack on Nancy. As a result of the investigation of the performer, Harding's ex-husband and his bodyguard were sent to jail. The skater herself pleaded guilty to colluding with the participants. She was sentenced to three years probation, community service and a fine of 160 thousand dollars. Nothing prevented her trip to the Olympics, except for one “but”. The story of the attack on Nancy and suspicions made Harding the most discussed participant in the competition. On the front pages of newspapers there was a photo of the figure skater.
The presence of Carrigan in the US team added to the piquancy of the situation. Despite skipping the championship, she was included in the team for the Olympics without selection. Photographers rushed to the ice arena in Lillehammer. Everyone wanted to catch the participants in the conflict in one frame.
Harding failed to beat her rival at the Olympics. Carrigan won the silver medal, second only to Oksana Baiul. Tonya became the eighth.
The US Figure Skating Association conducted its own investigation into the incident with the beating of Carrigan. The commission concluded that Harding knew exactly about the impending attack. The figure skater was stripped of the gold medal of the national championship and banned from all competitions for life. This is where her career ended.Harding has repeatedly stated in interviews that she knew nothing about the impending beating of Carrigan. However, after 15 years, she presented a new version in the book. Now she claimed that her ex-husband demanded part of the prize money from her. In order for Tonya to earn more, he decided to organize an attack on a competitor. Upon learning of the plan, Harding decided to call the FBI, but Jeff prevented her from doing so, allegedly threatening her with a gun and raping her. Few believed in this version.
“Nancy is not worthy of my attention”
Despite all the prohibitions and scandals, Tonya remained in the sport. Harding unexpectedly chose boxing and after a while she got into the number of professionals. In total, the former figure skater had six fights, of which she won three. One of her fights even took place on the undercard of the confrontation between Mike Tyson and Clifford Etienne.
However, asthma did not allow her to stay in martial arts. Tonya switched to social life: she participated in talk shows, gave interviews and promoted social networks. In 2017, a movie based on Harding's story was released.
The main role in the film “Tonya Against All” was played by Margot Robbie. According to the plot, the skater did not plan to eliminate her competitor before the Olympics and was generally not aware of the attack on Carrigan.
The victim was not happy with the film. Nancy called the tape crazy and reminded Tonya that she never apologized to her. with me until the end of my days. After the accusations, life turned into hell. I was thrown rats in the mailbox, random passers-by mocked me. I think I have proven my innocence. I apologized so many times that Nancy is no longer worthy of my attention,” Tonya retorted.
After the film, Harding was again invited to talk shows. True, she tries not to answer questions about the past and in every possible way avoids the topic of their relationship with Nancy. However, silence will not make figure skating fans forget Harding's nickname – “Ice Bitch”.