More than two decades ago, former American figure skater Nancy Kerrigan was clubbed in the knee while training to compete in the 1994 Winter Olympics in a scandal that captivated the nation and ensnared her biggest rival, Tonya Harding.
An assailant, hired by Harding’s ex-husband Jeff Gillooly, struck Kerrigan on the right knee with a baton after practice at a Detroit ice rink on Jan. 6, 1994. The attack left the gold medal favorite wailing and repeatedly howling “Why?” on the floor as doctors tended to her injuries, according to footage of the immediate aftermath.
Kerrigan went on to become a two-time Olympic medalist and recently competed on ABC’s Dancing With the Stars, while Harding — whose troubled past is the subject of the upcoming biopic I, Tonya that stars Margot Robbie — has mostly stayed out of the spotlight.
Ahead of the big screen debut of I, Tonya on Friday, here’s a look at where Harding, now 47, and Kerrigan, 48, are today:
Tonya Harding in 2017
After she was permanently banned from competing in amateur skating competitions following Kerrigan’s attack, Harding briefly dabbled in boxing around 2004 and released The Tonya Tapes, a book about her tumultuous life and upbringing, in 2008. “Being afraid to open up and talk to someone is really difficult,” she told the Associated Press when the book was published. “That was another reason I wanted to finish the book, to get rid of my past, dealing with everything, the ups and downs, for a fresh start in the future.”
In 1994, Harding pleaded guilty to conspiring to hinder the prosecution of the attack on Kerrigan, although she has denied any role in the attack itself. She was sentenced to three years’ probation and had to pay a $100,000 fine as well as resign from the U.S. Figure Skating Association.
While she has largely maintained her privacy in recent years, Harding spoke about the notorious attack on Kerrigan during a 2009 interview on The Oprah Winfrey Show. Harding told the TV host she has “moved on” and extended warm regards to Kerrigan.
“If she’d let me, I’d love to give her a hug and just tell her how proud I am of her being able to go forward with her life,” Harding said of Kerrigan. “She’s moved on. I’ve moved on. It’s part of history that will always be with us. But I’m also noted as the one and only American woman that did the first triple Axel and those are the things that no one can take away from me.”
The former skater also said her biggest regret was “being married for the first time to an idiot” and said she wished she could have had a “more stable life” growing up. She has said her mother was abusive.
Harding, who now lives in Washington State with her new husband and young son, cooperated with the creation of I, Tonya. She even appeared to be grateful for the movie, which brought her to tears, screenwriter Steven Rogers told Deadline. “She said she laughed and she cried, and there were things she didn’t like, but she’s emailed me twice just to thank me, so I think she’s happy,” Rogers said.
Robbie, the Hollywood star who portrays Harding in the film, told People last week that Harding was “incredibly lovely” during the process. “She was very sweet and very understanding,” Robbie said. The two even walked the red carpet for the Los Angeles premiere of the film on Dec. 6.
Harding’s representatives said the former skater was not immediately available for comment.
Nancy Kerrigan in 2017
Kerrigan, who won bronze at the 1992 Olympic Winter Games, recovered from the attack and took home a silver medal at the 1994 Lillehammer Winter Olympics, where Harding placed eighth. She stopped skating competitively, but she helps choreograph seasonal ice skating shows like Halloween on Ice and has performed in dozens of live and made-for-TV shows, including Disney’s Dreams on Ice. Kerrigan also got married in 1995, had three children, wrote two books on skating and became an advocate for the vision impaired and for athletes suffering from eating disorders.
“One thing is for sure,” her husband and manager Jerry Solomon told TIME on Tuesday. “She has been a role model and inspiration for many people.”
This spring, Kerrigan ditched her skates for dancing shoes as one of the celebrity contenders on Dancing with the Stars. She and her professional dancer partner, Artem Chigvintsev, were eliminated in May. “I am going to miss all this, for sure, as it was a great experience,” Kerrigan wrote in a blog post at the time.
The Massachusetts mother also appeared in a recent episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians. In the reality TV show’s holiday special, which aired Nov. 26, Kerrigan surprises the Kardashian clan at a holiday party at one of their homes in Calabasas and skates with the youngest members of the family in a skating rink set up in the yard.
As for her more long-term projects, Kerrigan is working on an upcoming documentary that explores eating disorders in the sports world. The film is called Why Don’t You Lose 5 Pounds? and Kerrigan is the executive producer. In an interview with ABC’s Nightline this April, Kerrigan said she developed an eating disorder after the attack and had to force herself to eat. She also revealed that she has suffered at least six miscarriages over eight years after her first child was born in 1996. Kerrigan also told ABC she never got a direct apology from Harding, but that it didn’t “matter at this point.”
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