23 Years After She Rocked The Skating World, Tonya Harding Is Back On The Ice

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There are some people who are fueled by a healthy dose of competition, and then there are those who take it a bit too far, hurting others and themselves along the way.

Figure skater Tonya Harding falls into the latter category.


In 1994, just seven weeks before the Olympic Winter Games were scheduled to begin, Harding's longtime rival, Nancy Kerrigan, was viciously attacked by an assailant, who blew out her knees.

Two days later, a 24-year-old Kerrigan was forced to sit in a skybox while Harding skated her way to the top spot at the Women's U.S. National Championships in Detroit. Despite her injuries, the uber talented Kerrigan was also named to the Olympic team by the U.S. Figure Skating Association.

Oregon Live

Kerrigan and officials behind the investigation chalked up the attack to the act of a deranged fan, but in reality the truth was much more bizarre.

A minister in Portland, Oregon revealed to the investigators on the case that he heard a recording of three men plotting to hurt Kerrigan. The men were identified as Harding's bodyguard, Shawn Eric Eckardt, her husband, Jeff Gillooly, and an unnamed hitman.

Speculation about Harding's involvement began to spread, and before long authorities were convinced that she and Gillooly hired the attacker to knock Kerrigan out of the running.


The media frenzy surrounding the scandal turned Harding and Kerrigan into even bigger international sensations. Although Harding denied the allegations, she was still convicted of hindering apprehension, and was placed on a three-year probation. She also received a $160,000 fine, and was banned from the association for life.

As for Kerrigan, her injuries were not serious enough to ruin her career and she recovered well enough to win a silver medial at the Olympic Games just a few weeks after the attack. She went on to work professionally on Broadway on Ice, appear on TV shows and films like 2007's Blades of Glory. She was also among the celebrity dancers on season 24 of Dancing With The Stars.

ABC News

Harding, on the other hand, faded into obscurity and was not heard from until the release of her 2008 autobiography, The Tonya Tapes. In the book, she gave a harrowing account of the story behind Kerrigan's attack, revealing that Gillooly threatened her at gun point when he found out that she was planning to go to the FBI with the information she had.

Now, more than two decades since the scandal took place, Harding's story will once again be told in an upcoming biopic.

As the spotlight shines on her again, Harding is also cleaning up her act and getting back on the ice, and a source close to her revealed some of the details to People.

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