When I was a kid, my peers and I would often make fun of the Nancy Kerrigan-Tonya Harding scandal that was all over the news. "Why me, why me!" we'd moan around the classroom, running around, cackling with laughter.
It wasn't until our teacher, bless her heart, told us exactly what kind of situation we were mocking. We felt bad for Nancy, and suddenly the joke wasn't funny anymore. Well, not as funny.
OTD in 1994, Nancy Kerrigan was clubbed on the leg at Detroit's Cobo Arena; four men, including the ex-husband of Tonya Harding, went to prison for their roles in the attack. This photo shows the first practice session together for the two skaters Feb. 17, 1994. pic.twitter.com/JbijqTyjxs— AP Images (@AP_Images) January 6, 2018
I inevitably wanted to learn more about the craziness of the Harding-Kerrigan story, and became morbidly fascinated with the ice skater's "by any means necessary attitude," and so did many other people. Margot Robbie even ended up producing and starring in an amazing film about Harding's life, I, Tonya.
The film nabbed three Golden Globe nominations, and including a Best Supporting Actress win for Allison Janney, along with a Best Musical or Comedy nod and a Best Actress nod for Robbie.
In attendance at the Globes was Harding herself. And Janney, during her acceptance speech, thanked the figure skater for sharing her story and agreeing to make the film.
Now to say Harding was flawed would be an understatement. I mean, her story was inspirational: a young girl who came from basically nothing who busted her behind to become a top performing figure skater and representing her country at the highest level.
But then there's the whole business of Harding's ex-husband's attack on Kerrigan, which was intended to keep her out of the Olympic games in Lillehammer, Norway. Harding has long denied having any involvement in the attack, but she was banned for life from the U.S. Figure Skating Association and later pleaded guilty to conspiring to hinder prosecution.
Yet here she was at the Golden Globes, being celebrated, and not everyone was perturbed by it. But, some people were and pointed out that maybe a lot more should be too.
Others mentioned that calling what happened to Kerrigan a "comedy" was a bit in poor taste.
Imagine telling Nancy Kerrigan in 1994 her story would be nominated for “best comedy”— Brooks Wheelan (@brookswheelan) January 8, 2018
Let’s acknowledge the disgusting irony. Tonight, the #goldenglobes talked about standing up against violence, assault, inequality, etc. BUT Tonya flipping Harding was there and applauded during Allison Janney’s speech?!? I wonder how her VICTIM, Nancy Kerrigan, felt about this.— Jenna Lyn (@jaaaay_okay) January 8, 2018
But then again, there are some compelling arguments for why Harding actually does deserve to be there and acknowledged for not only her help in the film, but her life struggles as well.
7 weeks after being struck in the knee after #NancyKerrigan won silver in #Lillehammer. From there she had six endorsement deals worth $4 million, a 62-city skating tour, and multiple TV specials. #TonyaHarding was banned from skating ever again and was also a victim of abuse— Poppy Ramsay (@PoppyRamsay) January 8, 2018
Tonya Harding was a victim of abuse from her mother and husband. Who beat her. She was not perfect but it's also fair to look at this story with the whole picture.— Poppy Ramsay (@PoppyRamsay) January 8, 2018
It started a debate and stirred up all the figure skating drama from the mid-90s.
Nancy Kerrigan worked her ass off to recover from that knee injury, HAD TO GO TO THE OLYMPICS ON THE SAME TEAM A TONYA, WHO REFUSED TO DROP OUT, out skated Tonya and lost bc she was blamed for the circus surrounding her own assault— not great, bob! (@geeequinn) January 8, 2018
All true. Sadly I’ll always remember Nancy for her embarrassing behavior after losing to Oskana.— Breezy Nunley (@breezy_nunley) January 8, 2018
Y'all do know that Tonya...almost ruined Nancy Kerrigan's life, right? I don't understand.— Brandon (@brandonlgtaylor) January 8, 2018
there's legitimate commentary in how she was treated re: class/gender in America at the time, HOWEVER I don't think it needs this film, nor do we need to be celebrating her (even if we look at her life as more complex than what was reported at the time)— Miranda Sajdak (@MirandaSajdak) January 8, 2018
To contrast the two figure skaters' entertainment involvement, Harding's definitely more "high profile" now than Kerrigan, if you want to view it that way.
One question that a lot of people are asking is just how Kerrigan feels about the whole success of the film.
At the very least, you'd think we'd know what Harding would have to say about a film that's all about her, but she's not talking just yet.
If I were her, I'd get a ghostwriter ready and have that book ready to release right around Oscar time.