Top Ten Olympic Scandals and Tragedies

8 – Tonya Harding Plans Attack on Nancy Kerrigan (1994)

Nancy Kerrigan (left) and Tonya Harding (right). Doug Mills / AP / Azcentral

In 1994, there were two American rivals for women’s figure skating’s biggest prize. Nancy Kerrigan had grace and femininity, and Tonya Harding had strength, and the ability to do triple axels in abundance.

When Tonya Harding decided to orchestrate an attack on Nancy Kerrigan, before the Olympic Games in Lillehammer, she was showing her lack of confidence in her own sports prowess to the entire world.

With the help of her husband, Jeff Gillooly, and two other men, the attack on Nancy Kerrigan, at the Detroit US Figure Skating Championships, was successful. By attempting to knock Kerrigan out of contention with a blow to the knee, delivered by Shane Stant, Tonya sought to increase her chances of winning a medal at the 1994 Olympic Winter Games in Lillehammer.

In the end, all she did was ruin her reputation forever, as she placed 8th in the competition. Tonya was banned for life from all participation in USFA events, and she will never get another chance to win Olympic Gold. The media frenzy that surrounded Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan during the days leading up to their skating programs at the Olympic Games was unprecedented, and it tarnished the sport.

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