Tonya Harding And Nancy Kerrigan Relationship

Tonya Harding And Nancy Kerrigan Relationship

Tonya Harding And Nancy Kerrigan Relationship – In 1994, something shocking happened in the world of figure skating that turned it into front-page news. You might have heard of the names Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding. They were both figure skaters, and they became famous, not just for their skills on the ice, but for something much more dramatic. Nancy Kerrigan was attacked just before the Winter Olympics, and it was later revealed that people connected to Tonya Harding were behind the attack. This event, known as “The Nancy Kerrigan-Tonya Harding Scandal,” became one of the most talked-about stories in sports history.

tonya harding and nancy kerrigan relationship
tonya harding and nancy kerrigan relationship

But wait, wasn’t their relationship all friendly before this incident? That’s what we are going to explore in this article. We’ll take a closer look at how these two skaters went from friendly rivals to being at the center of a scandal that changed their lives forever.

Friendly Rivals Turned Fierce Competitors

Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding started their figure skating careers around the same time. They were competitors, for sure, but their rivalry at first seemed quite sportsmanlike. In 1991, Harding made history by becoming the first woman to land a triple axel, and she won the gold at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships. Kerrigan, on the other hand, took home the bronze.

However, after that, things began to change. Harding never successfully performed the triple axel in competition again, while Kerrigan’s star started to rise. She won a bronze medal at the 1992 Olympic Games in France, and Harding didn’t even make it to the podium, finishing in fourth place.

The Shift After the 1992 Olympics

After the 1992 Olympics, Kerrigan’s impressive bronze medal win attracted many endorsement deals. She became the face of U.S. Figure Skating, and this is when things started to go downhill between Kerrigan and Harding. The question was, if Kerrigan was around, would Harding still be the top pick for endorsements? Probably not, according to some sources.

Harding came from a less privileged background, and removing Kerrigan from the picture might have been her chance to change her fortunes. Some shady characters in Harding’s life, like her ex-husband, seemed to think so too.

tonya harding and nancy kerrigan relationship
tonya harding and nancy kerrigan relationship

The Infamous Attack on Nancy Kerrigan

The turning point in their relationship came on January 6, 1994. Kerrigan was practicing at the Cobo Arena in Detroit when a hitman named Shane Stant approached her and struck her in the right leg with a collapsible baton. This attack made headlines around the world as Kerrigan was shown crying and clutching her injured leg.

Kerrigan was scheduled to qualify for a spot on the Olympic team the following day but couldn’t because of her injury. Instead, Harding won the U.S. Championships. Kerrigan, however, was still granted a spot on the Olympic team.

What makes this story even more bizarre is that before the attack, Harding had made some competitive comments to the press. She said, “It’s not going to be a true crown until I get at Nancy down at the Olympics,” adding, “and let me tell you, I’m going to whip her butt.”

The Not-So-Smart Culprits

In the aftermath of the attack, it became clear that the people behind it weren’t criminal masterminds. Shane Stant, the attacker, left a trail of evidence, booking hotels in his own name and using his girlfriend’s credit card to rent a car. To make things worse, Harding’s bodyguard, Shawn Eckardt, openly talked about planning the attack with Harding’s ex-husband, Jeff Gillooly. All three men were soon arrested and charged.

Kerrigan even found some humor in the situation when reading the transcripts of the culprits’ depositions. She said, “It was definitely humorous at times. They came to Boston (to attempt the attack there) and forgot their IDs and money so they couldn’t really get anywhere. You laugh in thankfulness that they were not as good at being bad guys as they had wanted to be.”

But it’s important to note that this attack could have had much more severe consequences if the hitman had struck Kerrigan directly in the knee, as originally planned. In the early planning stages, there was even talk of murdering Kerrigan.

tonya harding and nancy kerrigan relationship
tonya harding and nancy kerrigan relationship

The Showdown at Lillehammer

Despite the ongoing investigation into her camp’s involvement in the attack on Kerrigan, Harding was allowed to compete in the 1994 Winter Olympics alongside Kerrigan, who made a remarkable recovery. Privately, Kerrigan was battling severe anxiety and had developed an eating disorder, something she revealed to the public much later.

The Olympic figure skating competition became one of the most-watched events in sports history. Kerrigan skated one of the best performances of her career and took home the silver medal, while Harding didn’t do as well. After a shaky start, she broke down crying and begged the judges for a second chance, citing a broken lace. She skated a lackluster performance and finished eighth overall.


The story of Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding is a tale of friendly rivalry turning into a bitter feud that shocked the world. Their careers and lives took dramatic turns after the attack on Kerrigan, and the incident remains one of the most memorable moments in sports history. While Kerrigan’s recovery and performance at the Olympics earned her admiration, Harding’s involvement in the scandal tarnished her reputation and forever changed the way people saw these two figure skaters.

Also Read:

Is Emma Slater in a Relationship, Partner, Dating
Is Tyson Beckford in a Relationship
Who Is Pasha Pashkov Married To

Why did Tonya attack Nancy?

Tonya Harding was not directly involved in the physical attack on Nancy Kerrigan. However, people connected to Tonya Harding, including her ex-husband Jeff Gillooly and some hired individuals, conspired to attack Nancy Kerrigan in an attempt to eliminate her as a competitor leading up to the 1994 Winter Olympics. The motive behind the attack was to improve Tonya Harding’s chances of winning the Olympic gold medal by removing one of her strongest rivals from the competition.

What did Tonya Harding use on Nancy Kerrigan?

Tonya Harding did not personally use any weapon or object on Nancy Kerrigan. The attack on Nancy Kerrigan was carried out by hired individuals, and the weapon used was a collapsible baton. Shane Stant, one of the attackers, struck Nancy Kerrigan’s right leg with the baton, causing injury. Tonya Harding’s involvement was in the planning and conspiring of the attack rather than directly carrying it out.

Has Nancy Kerrigan forgiven Tonya?

Nancy Kerrigan has not publicly stated that she has forgiven Tonya Harding for her involvement in the attack. While forgiveness is a personal and complex matter, Kerrigan’s public statements and interviews have indicated that she remained deeply affected by the incident and its aftermath. Forgiveness may be a private matter for her, and she has not made it a focal point of her public statements.

Are Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding still friends?

No, Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding are not friends. Their relationship became strained after the 1994 attack on Kerrigan, and the subsequent media attention and legal proceedings created a significant rift between them. They have not reconciled their differences, and as of my last knowledge update in September 2021, they were not in regular contact or on friendly terms.

Leave a Comment