Nancy Kerrigan-Tonya Harding scandal turns 20 years old
Nancy Kerrigan-Tonya Harding scandal, exactly 20 years after the attack
By Sam Gardner
On Jan. 6, 1994, Shane Stant attacked Nancy Kerrigan on the eve of the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Detroit, taking a baton to Kerrigan’s right leg after she completed a practice round at Cobo Arena.
The ensuing investigation into the assault would lead police to a man named Jeff Gillooly, the ex-husband of Kerrigan’s rival Tonya Harding, and Harding’s bodyguard, Shawn Eckardt.
The footage of the aftermath of the attack would become one of the most chilling pieces of video many have ever seen, and Kerrigan’s injuries would keep her out of the U.S. Championships. But Kerrigan returned to the ice in February for the Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway, where she won the silver medal.
The aftermath didn’t play out quite so positively, however, for Harding, who finished eighth in the ‘92 Olympics and later pled guilty to hindering the prosecution of Kerrigan’s attackers — though she still maintains that she had no knowledge of the attack.
The two decades since have been forgettable for Harding, who found herself involved in several other run-ins with the law, hocked a sex tape with Gillooly and embarked on a career as a boxer over the years:
But rather than focus on Harding’s downhill slide, let’s go back to Jan. 6, 1994, and see what else was going on in the world at the time of one of the most infamous attacks in sports history:
• Jameis Winston was born in Hueytown, Ala.
• Winston’s future team, Florida State was celebrating a national championship earned five days earlier with an Orange Bowl win over Nebraska. Auburn finished the 1993-94 season undefeated, but a postseason ban kept them from participating in the SEC Championship or a bowl game.
• Mrs. Doubtfire was the No. 1 movie at the box office:
• Mariah Carey's "Hero" was in the midst of a four-week stay atop the Billboard Hot 100:
• The original Charlotte Hornets still existed, and they started this pint-sized guard in a loss to the Portland Trail Blazers:
• The North American Free Trade Agreement had just gone into effect, signed into law by President Bill Clinton
• Sadly, Clinton’s mother, Virginia Clinton Kelley, died Jan. 6, 1994
• Fresh off of a win over the Colts in the final week of the regular season, the Buffalo Bills prepared for a divisional round matchup against the Los Angeles Raiders; a few weeks later, the Bills would lose their fourth straight Super Bowl:
• Home Improvement was the most watched show on television, and the night before the Kerrigan attack, millions tuned into this episode on ABC:
• First-person shooter games looked like this — and we loved them: