Tonya Harding

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Tonya Harding
Tonya harding mac club 1994 by andrew parodi.jpeg
Harding at a Portland, Oregon reception shortly after the 1994 Winter Olympics
Personal information
Full nameTonya Maxene Price
Country representedFlag of the United States.svg  United States
BornTonya Maxene Harding [1]
(1970-11-12) November 12, 1970 (age 50)
Portland, Oregon, U.S.
Spouse(s)
    Jeff Gillooly
    (m. 1990;div. 1993)
      Michael Smith
      (m. 1995;div. 1996)
        Joseph Price
        (m. 2010)
Height5 ft 1 in (1.55 m)
Coach
  • Diane Rawlinson (1973–1989; 1992–1994)
  • Dody Teachman (1989–1992)
Medal record
Representing the USA
Ladies' Figure skating
World Championships
Silver medal icon (S initial).svg 1991 Munich Ladies' singles

Tonya Maxene Price (née Harding; born November 12, 1970) is an American former figure skater, retired boxer, and reality television personality. Born in Portland, Oregon, Harding was raised primarily by her mother, who enrolled her in ice skating lessons beginning at four years old. Harding spent much of her early life training, eventually dropping out of high school to devote her time to the sport. After climbing the ranks in the U.S. Figure Skating Championships between 1986 and 1989, Harding won the 1989 Skate America competition. She had been the 1991 and 1994 U.S. champion before being stripped of her 1994 title, and 1991 World silver medalist. In 1991, she earned distinction as being the first American woman to successfully land a triple Axel in competition, and the second woman to do so in history (behind Midori Ito). Harding is a two-time Olympian and a two-time Skate America Champion.

Contents

In January 1994, Harding became embroiled in controversy when her ex-husband, Jeff Gillooly, orchestrated an attack on her fellow U.S. skating rival Nancy Kerrigan. Both women then competed in the February 1994 Winter Olympics, where Kerrigan won the silver medal and Harding finished eighth. On March 16, 1994, Harding accepted a plea bargain in which she pleaded guilty to conspiracy to hinder prosecution. As a result of her involvement in the assault on Kerrigan, the United States Figure Skating Association banned her for life on June 30, 1994.

In the early 2000s, Harding competed as a professional boxer, and her life has been the subject of numerous films, documentaries, books, and academic studies. In 2014, two television documentaries were produced about Harding's life and skating career (Nancy & Tonya and The Price of Gold) and aired within two months of each other – inspiring Steven Rogers to write the 2017 film I, Tonya , starring Margot Robbie as Harding. In 2018, she was a contestant on season 26 of Dancing with the Stars , finishing in third place. In 2019, she won season 16 of Worst Cooks in America: Celebrity Edition .

Early life

Ice Chalet at Portland's Lloyd Center, where Harding began skating at age four Ice chalet lloyd center portland oregon lec by andrew parodi.jpeg
Ice Chalet at Portland's Lloyd Center, where Harding began skating at age four

Tonya Maxene Harding was born on November 12, 1970, in Portland, Oregon, to LaVona Golden (b. 1940) and Albert Harding (1933–2009). [2] She was raised in East Portland and began skating at age three, training with coach Diane Rawlinson. During her youth, Harding also hunted, drag raced, and learned automotive mechanics from her father. He held various odd jobs including managing apartments, driving a truck, and working at a bait-and-tackle store – yet was often underemployed due to poor health. [3] LaVona struggled to support the family while working as a waitress, and hand-sewed her daughter's skating costumes as they could not afford to purchase them. [4] Harding's parents divorced after 19 years of marriage in 1987, when she was 16 years old. [5] She later dropped out of Milwaukie High School during her sophomore year in order to focus on skating, and earned a General Educational Development (GED) Certificate in 1988. [6]

Harding claimed she was frequently abused by her mother. She stated that by the time she was seven years old, physical and psychological abuse had become a regular part of her life. LaVona admitted to one instance of hitting Harding at an ice rink. [7] In January 2018, Harding's childhood friend and filmmaker, Sandra Luckow, spoke in defense of Harding's mother because she felt that the 2017 film I, Tonya stretched some truths about LaVona's character. Luckow said that although Harding's mother could be "egregious" towards her daughter, LaVona funded and appreciated Harding's skating lessons, and had "a huge amount of humanity." [8] [9] [10]

In Harding's 2008 authorized biography, The Tonya Tapes (written by Lynda D. Prouse from recorded interviews with Harding), she said she was the victim of acquaintance rape in 1991 [11] and that her half-brother, Chris Davison, molested her on several occasions when she was a child. In 1986, Harding called the police after Davison had been sexually harassing and terrorizing her. He was arrested and spent a short time in prison. Harding said her parents were in denial about Davison's behavior and told her not to press criminal charges against him. Davison was killed in an unsolved vehicular hit-and-run accident in 1988. [12] [9] On May 3, 1994, during an interview with Rolonda Watts, Harding said that Davison was the only person in her life unworthy of forgiveness and "the only person I've ever hated." [13] [14]

Skating career

Harding trained as a figure skater throughout her youth with coach Diane Rawlinson. In the mid-1980s, she began working her way up the competitive skating ladder. She placed sixth at the 1986 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, fifth in 1987 and 1988, and third in 1989. After competing in the February 1989 Nationals Championship, Harding began training with Dody Teachman as her coach. [15] [16] She then won the October 1989 Skate America competition, and was considered a strong contender at the February 1990 U.S. Figure Skating Championships. However, she was suffering from the flu and asthma and had a poor free skate. After the original program, she dropped from second place and finished seventh overall. [17] Harding was a powerful free skater and typically had lower placements in the compulsory figures. [18] [19]

Harding's breakthrough year came in 1991 when, at the U.S. Championships, she completed her first triple Axel in competition on February 16 – the first American woman to execute the jump. [20] She landed seven triple jumps in the long program including the triple Axel. [21] She won the 1991 U.S. Ladies' Singles title with the event's first 6.0 technical merit score since Janet Lynn's 1973 performance at the U.S. Championships. [18] She won the long program when seven of the nine judges gave her first place, and in doing so won the whole competition. [22] She scored eight 5.9s and one 6.0 for technical merit and six 5.9s, one 5.8 and two 5.7s for composition and style. [22] At the March 1991 World Championships, an international event, she again completed the triple Axel. Harding would finish second behind Kristi Yamaguchi, and in front of Nancy Kerrigan, marking the first time one country swept the ladies medal podium at the World Figure Skating Championships. [23]

At the September 1991 Skate America competition, Harding recorded three more firsts:

Despite these record-breaking performances, after 1991, Harding was never again able to successfully complete the triple Axel in competition; her competitive results began to decline. She and Dody Teachman had briefly parted ways in April 1991, but had reunited in June; [24] Harding was still training under Teachman for the upcoming 1992 season. [25] She placed third in the January 1992 U.S. Figure Skating Championships despite twisting her ankle during practice, and finished fourth in the February 1992 Winter Olympics. On March 1, 1992, Harding gave Teachman a summary dismissal and returned to Diane Rawlinson to be coached by her. [15] [26] On March 29 Harding placed sixth in the 1992 World Championships, although she had a better placement at the November 1992 Skate Canada International event finishing fourth. [27] In the 1993 season, she skated poorly in the U.S. Championships and failed to qualify for the World Championship team. [28] [29]

In January 1994, Harding won the U.S. Championships but was later stripped of her title: the USFSA disciplinary panel voted to vacate the title in June 1994, following an investigation of the attack on Nancy Kerrigan. In February 1994, Harding was permitted to remain a member of the U.S. Olympic ice skating team, despite brief legal controversy. [30] [31] In Lillehammer, after an issue with a broken skate lace in the long program, she was given a re-skate by the judges and finished in eighth place, behind Oksana Baiul (gold) and Nancy Kerrigan (silver). [32] Despite her USFSA ban, however, she did later compete at the professional level, placing second at the ESPN Pro Skating Championship in 1999. [33]

Competitive highlights

International
Event [34] 1985–861986–871987–881988–891989–901990–911991–921992–931993–94
Winter Olympics 4th8th
World Championships 2nd6th
Skate America 2nd1st1st3rd
Skate Canada International 4th
Nations Cup 1st
NHK Trophy 3rd2nd4th
Prize of Moscow News [35] 1st
National
U.S. Championships [36] [37] 6th5th5th3rd7th1st3rd4th1st
U.S. Olympic Festival [37] 5th2nd

^† In June 1994, Claire Ferguson, the President of the U.S. Figure Skating Association, voted to strip Harding of her 1994 title. However, the competition results were not changed and the title was left vacant rather than moving all the other competitors up one position. [38]

Nancy Kerrigan

On January 6, 1994, one day before the U.S. Figure Skating Championship first Ladies' Singles competition, Nancy Kerrigan was attacked in a corridor after a practice session at the Detroit Cobo Arena. The immediate aftermath of the attack was recorded on a news camera and broadcast around the world. The assailant was Shane Stant, contracted to break her right knee; he turned himself in to Phoenix FBI on January 14. [39] [40] [41] Stant and his uncle, Derrick Smith, were hired for this assault by Harding's ex-husband, Jeff Gillooly, and her one-time bodyguard, Shawn Eckardt. [42] After failing to find Kerrigan in Massachusetts, Stant had taken a 20-hour bus trip to Detroit. [43] Nancy Kerrigan was walking behind a curtain when Stant rushed behind her. Using both hands, he then swung a 21 in (53 cm) ASP telescopic baton at her right leg, striking her above the knee. The attack was intended to seriously injure Kerrigan so that she could not compete in the Nationals (Kerrigan was the defending 1993 Champion) nor the Winter Olympics. Kerrigan's leg was not broken but severely bruised, forcing her to withdraw from the Championships and forgo competing to retain the U.S. Ladies' title. [44] On January 8, Harding won the U.S. title; she and Kerrigan were then both selected for the 1994 Olympic team. [45]

Harding's confession

On January 18, 1994, Harding was with her lawyers when she submitted to questioning by the DA and FBI. [46] [47] She was interviewed for over 10 hours. Eight hours into the interview, her lawyer read a statement announcing her separation from Jeff Gillooly: "I continue to believe that Jeff is innocent of any wrongdoing. I wish him nothing but the best." [48] Her full FBI transcript was press released on February 1. The Seattle Times reported the transcript stating that Harding had "changed her story well into a long interview...After hours of denying any involvement in trying to cover up the plot, an FBI agent finally 'told [her] that he knew she had lied to him, that he would tell her exactly how she had lied to him'." [49] [50] [51] In the transcript's final passage, Harding stated "I hope everyone understands. I'm telling on someone I really care about. I know now [Jeff] is involved. I'm sorry." [1] [52] On January 19, Jeff Gillooly surrendered to the FBI. [53] On January 20, Diane Sawyer asked Harding on Primetime about the criminal investigation. Harding said she had done nothing wrong. [54] On January 27, it was reported that Gillooly had been testifying about the attack plot since January 26; possibly implicating Harding as having allegedly assisted. Harding's close friend Stephanie Quintero, with whom she was living, spoke to reporters on her behalf: "[Tonya] was shocked, very hurt…She was believing in [Jeff]." [55] [56] [57] Harding later held an 11 a.m. press conference to read a prepared statement. She said she was sorry Nancy Kerrigan was attacked, that she respected Nancy, and claimed not to know in advance of the plot to disable her. Harding then publicly took responsibility "for failing to report things [about the assault] when I returned home from Nationals [on January 10]...my failure to immediately report this information is not a crime." [58] [59] Many state laws including Oregon certify that the act of concealing criminal knowledge alone is not a crime. [60]

The attack on Kerrigan received a substantial amount of publicity and news media crews camped outside her home. [40] In January 1994, the story was on the covers of Sports Illustrated , Newsweek , and TIME . [61] There was now much speculation about Harding's alleged involvement in the assault plot. [62] [63] [64] [65] Because Harding and Kerrigan would be representing the U.S. in the February Lillehammer Olympics, speculation reached a media frenzy. [66] [67] Abby Haight and J.E. Vader, journalists for The Oregonian , wrote a biography of Harding called Fire on Ice, which included excerpts of her January 18 FBI interview. [68]

Men's guilty pleas and sentencing

On February 1, Gillooly's attorney negotiated a plea bargain in exchange for testimony regarding all involved parties in the attack. In July, he was sentenced to two years in prison after publicly apologizing to Kerrigan – even though, he said, "any apology coming from me rings hollow." [69] [70] Gillooly and Eckardt pleaded guilty to racketeering, Stant and Smith (who drove Stant in the getaway car and funneled money) pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit second-degree assault. [71] [33] Judge Donald Londer noted the attack could have injured Kerrigan more seriously. [72] Eckardt died in 2007. [73]

Harding and Connie Chung travel to Norway

News media began attending Harding's Portland practices, also filming her on February 7, running barefoot to stop a tow truck from hauling her illegally parked pickup. [74] On February 10, Connie Chung interviewed Harding. When asked about Gillooly, Harding said: "I never did anything to hurt [Jeff]. If I ever did anything, it was to stick up for him and protect him." [75] Chung also negotiated to fly on the same airplane with Harding to Oslo, leaving on February 15, and interviewed her again in Norway. Chung admitted she would not have travelled to Norway were it not for the scandal. [76] [77]

Kerrigan and Harding share ice, Harding's eighth-place finish

Figure skating competitions for the 1994 Winter Olympics were held in the Hamar Olympic Amphitheatre, now known as the CC Amfi. Hamar Olympic Amfi 2006 (cropped).JPG
Figure skating competitions for the 1994 Winter Olympics were held in the Hamar Olympic Amphitheatre, now known as the CC Amfi.

On February 17, 1994, Nancy Kerrigan and Harding shared the ice at a practice session in the Hamar Olympic Amphitheatre. Approximately 400 members of the press were there to document this practice. [78] Scott Hamilton believed the sport was depicted as a "tabloid event". [79] It was noted that Nancy Kerrigan chose to wear the same skating costume at the practice session that she was wearing when Stant attacked her. [80] [81] Kerrigan later confirmed that her choice of dress that day was deliberate: "Humor is good, it's empowering." [82] [83] The tape-delayed broadcast of the February 23 Ladies' Olympic technical program remains one of the most watched telecasts in American history. [84] [85] On February 25, Harding finished eighth in the Olympics; Nancy Kerrigan, having recovered from her injury, won the Olympic silver behind gold medalist Oksana Baiul from Ukraine. [32]

Guilty plea, admissions

On March 9, Judge Owen Panner granted Harding a requested halt until June on her disciplinary hearing. [86] [87] [88] Meanwhile, Portland authorities stated the criminal investigation would conclude by March 21 with any indictments and a grand jury report to be made at that time. [89] [90]

On March 16, 1994, Harding pleaded guilty to conspiracy to hinder prosecution as a Class C felony offense at a Multnomah County court hearing. She and her lawyer, Robert Weaver, negotiated a plea bargain ensuring no further prosecution. [91] Judge Donald Londer conducted routine questioning to make certain Harding understood her agreement, that she was entering her plea "knowingly and voluntarily." Harding told Londer she was. Her plea admissions were knowing of the assault plot after the fact, settling on a cover story with Gillooly and Eckardt on January 10, witnessing pay phone calls to Smith affirming the story on January 10 and 11, and lying to FBI with the story on January 18. [92] [93] [94] Law enforcement investigators had been following and videotaping the co-conspirators since January 10; they knew about the pay phone calls. [95] [69] [96] Her penalties included 3 years of probation, $100,000 fine, and 500 hours community service. She agreed to reimburse Multnomah County $10,000 in legal expenses, undergo a psychiatric examination, and volunteered to give $50,000 to the Special Olympics Oregon (SOOR) charity. [90] Oregon sentencing guidelines carried a max penalty of 5-years-prison for the offense. [97]

Harding's plea conditions imposed her U.S. Figure Skating Association resignation, necessitating her withdrawal from the World Championships (for which she was scheduled to leave on March 17). [98] District attorney Norman Frink stated that if Harding had not agreed to the plea, "we would have proceeded with an indictment on all possible charges...punishment was taking away [skating] privilege." [92] [99]

Response from defense and USFSA

Phil Knight, CEO of Nike, donated $25,000 toward Harding's legal fees. [100] [101] She had also made approximately $600,000 from an Inside Edition deal. [102] [103]

Weaver said the plea agreement was satisfactory to Harding, partly because she avoided prison: "we would have prevailed at trial." [90] [104] An executive of the USFSA commented "[We] don't know if Tonya is innocent or guilty...if [she was involved before] the national championship." [105] On March 18, Claire Ferguson decided Harding's disciplinary hearing would proceed in June. The USFSA's executive committee convened to discuss their position should Harding seek reinstatement and whether they might strip her of the 1994 National Championship title. Neither issue was decided at that time. [106]

Later interviews

Shortly before the 1998 Winter Olympics, the CBS and Fox news divisions re-examined the scandal for two televised special reports. [107] [108] Harry Smith hosted the CBS special. He reported that Harding still held to her statement from her press conference given on January 27, 1994: "I had no prior knowledge of the planned assault on Nancy Kerrigan." Smith then interviewed Kerrigan, asking how she responded to that statement. Nancy Kerrigan referred to transcripts she had read from Harding's FBI interview on January 18, 1994. After reading through the interrogation of that day, she concluded that "[Tonya] knew more than she admits." [109] [110] [111] The Fox special report was called Breaking the Ice: The Women of '94 Revisited, hosted by James Brown with interviews from Harding, Gillooly, and Kerrigan. [112] Jeff Gillooly (granted a name change to Jeff Stone in 1995) said Harding's prison evasion did not anger him, and that he felt his own punishment was just. Stone reflected on Harding's position of "limited involvement" in Kerrigan's attack and speculated that a "guilty conscience" still troubled her. Brown then mediated a joint interview with both Kerrigan and Harding present. The two former competitors shared sincere desires for happy families and general well-wishes toward one another. Nancy Kerrigan said she hoped Harding could learn from past mistakes and "find happiness." [113] Harding said she was grateful to personally express remorse to Kerrigan again. [114]

In Harding's 2008 biography, The Tonya Tapes (transcribed by Lynda D. Prouse from recorded interviews), she stated that she wanted to call the FBI in 1994 to reveal what she knew, but decided not to when Gillooly allegedly threatened her with death following a gunpoint gang rape by him and two other men she did not know. Jeff (Gillooly) Stone responded with surprise that groundless claims against him could be published and specifically contended her gang rape accusation to be "utterly ridiculous." [115] In 2013, Deadspin sought Jeff Stone for an interview and he again defended himself from the gunpoint gang rape allegation. Yet he expressed regret that Harding is often "remembered for what I talked her into doing," meaning allegedly plotting to injure Nancy Kerrigan. [116] [111] [117] [39] [1] [118] Stone admitted that his past stupidity was part of Harding's 1994 ruin and maintained that he still considered her a great figure skater. He also said "I've had it easy, compared to poor Tonya...she tends to be the butt of the joke. It's kind of sad to me." [119]

In 2014, Nancy Kerrigan addressed the scandal during a brief interview with sportscaster Bob Costas: "Whatever apology Tonya has given, I accept it. It's time for all us – I've always wished [Tonya] well – she has her own family, I have my family. It's time to make that our focus and move on with our lives." [120]

Later career

Harding in 2006 Tonya Harding 2006 crop.png
Harding in 2006

On February 15, 1994, an explicit 1991 videotape clip of Harding topless was shown on A Current Affair ; three still frames from this clip were also published in The Sun (a British tabloid newspaper). [121] [122] The New York Post reported that Jeff Gillooly had supplied the videotaped fragment for an undisclosed sum of money. [123]

On July 26, 1994, Penthouse magazine announced that its September issue would feature different stills of Harding and Gillooly having sex from the same extended videotape. [124] This 35-minute sex tape would also be copied and marketed exclusively by Penthouse. [125] Both Gillooly and Harding used the same agent to negotiate equal payment on the Penthouse sale. [126]

On June 22, 1994, in Portland, Oregon, Harding appeared on an AAA professional wrestling show as the manager for wrestling stable Los Gringos Locos. The night's performance included Art Barr and Eddie Guerrero. [127] A promotional musical event was unsuccessful when Harding and her band, the Golden Blades, were booed off the stage at their only performance, in 1995 in Portland, Oregon. [128] [129]

In 1994, Harding was cast in a low-budget action film, Breakaway. The film was released in 1996. [130]

Harding has also appeared on television, on the game show The Weakest Link : "15 Minutes of Fame Edition" in 2002 along with Kato Kaelin, [131] and in March 2008 became a commentator for TruTV's truTV Presents: World's Dumbest... . [132]

Since leaving skating and boxing, Harding has worked as a welder, a painter at a metal fabrication company, and a hardware sales clerk at Sears. [133] As of 2017, she stated that she worked as a painter and deck builder. [134] She resides in Vancouver, Washington. [135]

In August 2019, Harding was seen in a television commercial in the United States promoting Direct Auto Insurance. [136]

Boxing career

Tonya Harding
Statistics
Nickname(s)Bad Girl
Weight(s)
Height5 ft 1 in (155 cm)
Stance Orthodox
Boxing record
Total fights6
Wins3
Wins by KO0
Losses3

In 2002, Harding boxed against Paula Jones on the Fox Network Celebrity Boxing event, winning the fight. On February 22, 2003, she made her official women's professional boxing debut, losing a four-round split decision against Samantha Browning on the undercard of Mike Tyson vs. Clifford Etienne. Harding's boxing career came about amid rumors that she was having financial difficulties and needed to fight in the ring to earn money. [137] She did another celebrity boxing match, on The Man Show , and won against co-host Doug Stanhope. Stanhope later claimed on his podcast that the fight was fixed because Tonya Harding refused to "fight a man". [138]

On March 23, 2004, it was reported that she canceled a planned boxing match against Tracy Carlton in Oakland, California, because of an alleged death threat against her. [139]

On June 24, 2004, she was defeated by Amy Johnson in a match held in Edmonton, Alberta. Fans reportedly booed Harding as she entered the ring and cheered wildly for Johnson when she won in the third round. [140]

Her boxing career was cut short by her asthma. [141] Her overall record was 3 wins and 3 losses. [142]

Professional boxing record

Professional record summary
6 fights3 wins3 losses
By knockout02
By decision31
No.ResultRecordOpponentTypeRound, timeDateLocation
6Loss3–3Amy JohnsonTKO3 (4), 1:04June 25, 2004 Shaw Conference Centre, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
5Loss3–2Melissa YanasTKO1 (4), 1:13August 2, 2003Silver City Cabaret, Dallas, Texas, U.S.
4Win3–1Emily GosaUD4June 13, 2003 Chinook Winds Casino, Lincoln City, Oregon, U.S.
3Win2–1Alejandra LopezUD4March 28, 2003Creek Nation Gaming Center, Tulsa, Oklahoma, U.S.
2Win1–1Shannon BirminghamUD4March 15, 2003 Grand Casino, Gulfport, Mississippi, U.S.
1Loss0–1Samantha BrowningSD4 February 22, 2003 The Pyramid, Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.

Other appearances

Automobile racing land speed record

On August 12, 2009, Harding set a new land speed record for a vintage gas coupe with a speed of 97.177 mph (156.391 km/h; 43.442 m/s) driving a 1931 Ford Model A, named Lickity-Split, on the Bonneville Salt Flats. [143] [144] [145] Her setting of that land speed record was featured on an episode[ which? ] of TruTV Presents: World's Dumbest... that focused on "Record Breakers".[ citation needed ]

Dancing with the Stars

In April 2018, Harding was announced as one of the celebrities who would compete on season 26 of Dancing with the Stars . That season was a special athletes season which only featured athletes. She was partnered with professional dancer Sasha Farber. The couple reached the finals of the competition, where Harding finished in third place overall, behind Adam Rippon and Josh Norman. [146]

Worst Cooks in America

In August 2018, Harding was announced as one of the celebrities who would compete in the fifth celebrity edition of Food Network's Worst Cooks in America , set to broadcast in April 2019. Harding, learning under Chef Anne Burrell, ultimately won the competition. The US$25,000 prize went to her chosen charity of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. [147]

Personal life

Harding is the only child of Albert Gordon Harding and LaVona Golden, who had been married three times before, with four other children. The two divorced in 1987. Harding had a tumultuous relationship with her mother, alleging both physical and verbal abuse. She cites one occasion where her mother threw a knife at her, leaving a permanent scar in her arm. [148]

Harding began a relationship with 17 year-old Jeff Gillooly in September 1986 when she was 15. They moved into a starter home together in 1988 when he worked in distribution at the Oregon Liquor Control Commission. [149] [150] They married on March 18, 1990 when she was 19 and he was 22. In January 1992, Harding told Terry Richard with The Oregonian, "Jeff always put food on the table and a roof over my head. He paid for my skating for a couple of years. If it hadn't been for him during that time, I wouldn't have been skating." [151] They divorced on August 28, 1993. [1] [152] [153] During the autumn of 1993, Gillooly was working part-time managing Harding's career and taking real estate classes. [154] [155] Harding and Gillooly had been continuing to see each other since early October 1993 and were sharing a rented chalet [156] together in Beavercreek, Oregon until January 18, 1994. [53]

On October 29, 1996, she received media attention after using mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to help revive 81 year-old Alice Olson who collapsed at a bar in Portland while playing video poker. [157]

Harding married Michael Smith in 1995; they divorced in 1996. [158]

On February 22, 2000 Harding attacked her then boyfriend Darren Silver, repeatedly punching him in the face and throwing a hubcap at his head. The attack left Harding's victim with a bloodied face and Harding was arrested. She initially pled not guilty to misdemeanor charges, but in a May trial in Clark County (WA) District Court admitted to attacking Silver and was sentenced to three days in jail, 10 days of community service and a suspended jail sentence of 167 days. [159] [160]

She married 42 year-old Joseph Price on June 23, 2010 when she was 39 years old. She gave birth to a son named Gordon on February 19, 2011. [161]

Harding stated on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on February 26, 2018 that she is still active in skating and practices three times a week. She performed several jumps and spins on the show. She trains with her former coach Dody Teachman. [162]

Cultural impact

Harding's life, career, and role in the 1994 attack have been widely referenced in popular culture, including a 2008 primary campaign speech by President Barack Obama. [163] In 2014, Matt Harkins and Viviana Olen created the Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding Museum in their Brooklyn apartment, collecting and archiving memorabilia related to Nancy Kerrigan and Harding. [164] A contemporaneous Vogue article noted that Harding had developed a "cult following" through the years. [165]

Representation in other media

Academic assessment

In 1995, the book Women on Ice: Feminist Essays on the Tonya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan Spectacle was published, containing numerous essays analyzing Harding's public image. [190] For example, Abigail Feder wrote that there existed "overdetermined femininity in Ladies' Figure Skating...femininity and athleticism are mutually exclusive concepts in American culture." [191] [192] Sam Stoloff believed that, during the scandal, the media placed a greater emphasis on Harding's class rather than her gender (femininity). He noted how she was subjected to a "litany of vaguely pejorative or mocking expressions" associated with "low class" cultural attributes, sometimes due to Harding's personal interests and hobbies. Stoloff theorized that Harding represented an American social class that required interpretation ("the class Other") as he referenced the anthropological tone of Susan Orlean's 1994 essay "Figures in a Mall," written for The New Yorker . [193] [156]

In academic Sarah Marshall's 2014 essay entitled "Remote Control: Tonya Harding, Nancy Kerrigan, and the Spectacles of Female Power and Pain", she noted the pervasive role of the media in the 1994 scandal: "Somehow, in the scandal's aftermath, the form of the Tonya-bash was able to alchemize even the most chilling details of Tonya's life into tabloid gold." Marshall also examined the role of Harding's "tomboy" persona in the context of figure skating. She theorized that Harding was rejected by the figure skating ethos because she did not conform – as Marshall believed many figure skaters including Nancy Kerrigan did – to appearing as "beautiful without being sexual, strong without being intimidating, and vulnerable without being weak." [194]

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I, Tonya is a 2017 American biographical sports black comedy film directed by Craig Gillespie and written by Steven Rogers. It follows the life of figure skater Tonya Harding and her connection to the 1994 attack on her rival Nancy Kerrigan. The film states that it is based on "contradictory" and "true" interviews with Harding and her ex-husband Jeff Gillooly, suggesting they are unreliable narrators. It features darkly comedic interviews with the characters in mockumentary-style, set in the modern day, and breaks the fourth wall. Margot Robbie stars as Harding, Sebastian Stan as Gillooly, and Allison Janney as Harding's mother LaVona Golden. Julianne Nicholson, Caitlin Carver, Paul Walter Hauser, and Bobby Cannavale also star.

Tonya & Nancy: The Inside Story is a 1994 American made-for-television biographical satirical-drama film written by Phil Penningroth and directed by Larry Shaw. It stars Alexandra Powers as Tonya Harding and Heather Langenkamp as Nancy Kerrigan and focuses on the 1994 Cobo Arena attack on Kerrigan and the extensive media coverage surrounding the infamous incident. It was released on NBC in April 1994, based on public domain material.

1994 Cobo Arena attack American competitive figure skating scandal

At around 2:35 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on January 6, 1994, American figure skater Nancy Kerrigan was struck on the lower right thigh with a telescopic baton by assailant Shane Stant as she walked down a corridor in Cobo Arena in Detroit, Michigan. Kerrigan had been practicing skating on an ice rink in the arena shortly beforehand. The attack was planned by fellow American figure skater Tonya Harding's ex-husband, Jeff Gillooly, and his co-conspirator Shawn Eckardt. They hired Stant, and his uncle Derrick Smith, to carry out the attack. Gillooly and Eckardt both claimed Harding was involved in the attack and had knowledge of it beforehand. Harding denied any involvement in, or knowledge of, the attack, despite Gillooly and Eckardt's claims.

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