And now, more than 20 years after rival Tonya Harding allegedly orchestrated a vicious baton beat-down against Kerrigan that left her bruised and battered, RadarOnline.com can reveal the figure skating golden girl’s angry account of the shocking 1994 incident.
After leaving a Detroit practice rink just one day before the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, “I saw a flash in the corner of my eye,” Kerrigan, now 47, recalled in her 1996 memoir, In My Own Words. “Someone seemed to come from behind me on my right. I turned around just in time to see an arm and what looked like a stick moving in a downward motion. Then I felt it.”
“My right leg was throbbing. I tried to take a couple of steps but the pain was indescribable, and I quickly realized it was silly to try walking. I saw down on the cement floor and screamed.”
At first, as she recovered in a local hospital, Kerrigan said she “tried to believe” that Harding “knew nothing” about the assault, though all fingers immediately pointed toward her primary competitor.
But she soon changed her mind after police confirmed they suspected Harding’s guilt.
“Not one person working on the case believed she was innocent. Not one,” Kerrigan wrote. “They would not give Tonya the benefit of the doubt, and I decided it didn’t make sense to give her that benefit in my own mind.”
Kerrigan grew “angry” and “sad” from the incident that threatened to derail her successful career.
To fans’ surprise, Kerrigan recovered quickly from her injuries, and even traveled to Norway for the 1994 Olympics just six weeks later.
Since the Olympic Committee had not yet proven Harding’s participation in the sinister plot, the disgraced skater was also allowed to compete alongside the innocent victim.
Kerrigan claimed she ran into Harding while walking through the Olympic village — but managed to keep her cool in the face of such hatred.
“We said hello to each other. I spoke first, wanting to get it over with, and added something about how we’d both had a rough month,” she recalled. “Then we went our separate ways. It was really not a conversation and not too comfortable. At that point, I don’t know how it could have been comfortable for either one of us.”
Kerrigan infamously went on to win the silver medal, while Harding cracked under the pressure. Harding later pled guilty to conspiring to hinder prosecution of Kerrigan’s attackers, and received three years probation. She was forced to resign from the United States Figure Skating Association, and was banned from further competitions.
Though there’s no violence involved, Kerrigan has a new feud on Dancing With the Stars with rival competitor Heather Morris, Radar previously reported.
“Heather and Nancy were super cold to each other,” an eyewitness said of this week’s premiere.
Sources also accused Kerrigan of acting like a diva on set.
Kerrigan’s infamous scandal will soon hit the big screen with a biopic featuring Margot Robbie as Harding.
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