Former figure skater Tonya Harding, who was expelled from the ice after her now-ex-husband Jeff Gillooly’s goon physically attacked her skating “rival” Nancy Kerrigan in 1994, admitted for the first time that she had prior knowledge of his intentions.
Harding said she didn’t know with certainty what her ex was planning, but he dropped clues and was behaving strangely before the attack, leading her to believe something was up.
For those unaware, Gilooly and his friend, Stephen Eckhardt, hatched a plan to take down Kerrigan, leaving the path open for Harding to ascend to Olympics glory. Just prior to the U.S. National Championships, Eckhardt ambushed Kerrigan while she was leaving the ice, bashing her on the knee with a baton. Up until now, Harding has insisted that she had no idea what the two men were planning.
Friday’s Good Morning America featured interviews with Harding from ABC special Truth and Lies: The Tonya Harding Story, and unlike all her previous interviews on the topic, the disgraced athlete came clean.
“I knew that something was up,” Harding said. When pushed and asked if she ordered the attack, she still denied it.
“No,” she said. “I did, however, overhear them talking about stuff. ‘Well, maybe we should take somebody out so we can make sure [Harding] gets on the team.’ And I remember telling them, I go, ‘What the hell are you talking about? I can skate.'”
She said the conversation happened a few months prior to the actual attack, and “It popped into my head two, three days after we got back.”
Gillooly’s behaviour was the real tip-off, she claimed.
“He started acting funny and I remember asking him, ‘What is going on? Do you remember something that you’ve not said?'”
Ultimately, Eckhardt and Gillooly each served one-and-a-half years in prison for their roles in the incident.
When asked if she wanted to apologize to Kerrigan, Harding seemed to side-step the questions; she did admit that it is difficult to watch video footage of the attack aftermath. Kerrigan famously screams, “Why?”
“It makes you cringe, hearing it, because you know how much that it had to have hurt,” Harding said.
On another note, Harding’s publicist, Michael A. Rosenberg, revealed in a Facebook post on Thursday that he was quitting, leaving her in the lurch. Rosenberg was her agent during the press tour for the movie about her life, I, Tonya. Apparently, she was insisting that reporters be fined $25,000 if they asked her anything about her past.
“It doesn’t work that way,” Rosenberg wrote. “Therefore I’ve chosen to terminate our business relationship. I’m sad as I write this; but at the same time I’m happy that I had such an adventure with the movie and with recreating a new positive image for her in the public eye.”
I, Tonya is faring well at the box office and is in the running for various awards. As of this writing, Kerrigan has not commented on Harding’s admission.