Today in sports history, one of the craziest sports stories of all time transpired. One day before the U.S Figure Skating Championship, Nancy Kerrigan was attacked after a practice session. Shane Stant was the culprit, as he struck Kerrigan in the back of the knee.
Tonya Harding, who was known as one of Kerrigan’s rivals, had set the attack up, with the help of her ex-husband Jeff Gillooly. The attack was strong enough to make Kerrigan withdraw from the tournament. What followed was a circus that quickly was exploited by the media.
Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan Compete in Olympics
U.S. Olympic officials named both Kerrigan and Harding to the team that took the ice in Norway. Harding broke down during her run, as she broke a lace on her skate. This was only the beginning for Harding. After being allowed to restart her run, she broke down crying and ultimately finished in eighth place. Kerrigan on the other hand finished second and was awarded the silver medal.
When they returned to the United States, Harding pleaded guilty to conspiracy to hinder the prosecution of Kerrigan’s attackers. Harding was given 500 hours of community service and was fined $100,000. While Harding was penalized, there was no true evidence of her involvement, other than Gillooly’s testimony.