'Nancy & Tonya' NBC Documentary Recap: Tonya Harding Maintains Her Innocence, Nancy Kerrigan Tells Her Side
NBC aired Nancy & Tonya on Sunday, a documentary featuring interviews of ice skating stars Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding as they revisit Kerrigan’s attack 20-years later.
Nancy Kerrigan Attacked
In 1994, a man hired by Harding’s ex-husband, Jeff Gilloly, attacked Kerrigan off the ice during the World championships, hitting her knee with a metal pipe. Kerrigan recovered from her injury with rigorous rehab and was able to compete in the 1994 Winter Olympics, winning silver.
The story soon took on a life of its own, with many speculating that Harding was behind the attack, though she claimed she had no part in it. Harding and Kerrigan competed side-by-side during the 1994 Olympics, but their relationship was strained and Harding failed to medal in women’s figure skating. Later she pled guilty to hindering prosecution and was forced to pay a fine of $160,000 and undergo three years’ probation. In addition, Harding was also eliminated from the U.S. Figure Skating Association and never skated professionally again. Harding insists she didn’t cooperate with the investigation because she feared Gilloly would kill her.
'Nancy & Tonya: 20 Years Later'
Kerrigan has refrained from speaking out about the incident over the last 20-years, but she finally decided to speak to NBC sportscaster Mary Carillo. The resulting documentary, Nancy & Tonya: 20 Years Later, aired Sunday night on NBC before the Closing Ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics.
“Everyone’s talked about this except Nancy. Tonya can’t stop talking about it! But Nancy wanted to do this. She was ready,” Carillo told TVGuide.com.
In the documentary, Harding continues to maintain her innocence and insists that she has apologized to Kerrigan more times than necessary, saying, “I’ve apologized so many times. She’s not worth my time anymore.”
Kerrigan said that, at first, she had no doubt of Harding’s innocence. She was sure the attack was random until she spoke to the FBI.
“I can remember saying to the FBI, ‘Well, maybe Tonya really didn’t know, maybe the did [the attack] for her.’ And they said, ‘Nancy, we can’t prove it, but we think she was the mastermind of the whole thing,’” Kerrigan revealed in the documentary.
Kerrigan and Harding are both profiled in the documentary. Kerrigan’s stable home life is juxtaposed against Harding’s chaotic upbringing and even more chaotic marriage, something Harding emphasizes in her interview.
“[Kerrigan] didn’t have a parent that was beating on her in public everyday, didn’t move 13 times before fifth grade. Nancy came from a stable upbringing, where I didn’t,” Harding said.
Kerrigan and Harding Both Want To Forget About The Attack
What is clear in the documentary is that neither woman wants to be associated with the incident anymore.
“I would have chosen a different path if I could. I would’ve liked to have just done what I worked so hard for and not have to be linked like that. I could be linked as ‘we’re teammates’ as opposed to this horrific act,” Kerrigan said.
Harding echoed Kerrigan’s statement, though a bit more forcefully, dismissing the filmmakers for even wanting this documentary to be made.
“You guys with this 20-year thing, or every two or three years. Whatever. I’m done. Nobody wants to hear this crap anymore. And you know what? I don’t give a damn,” Harding said in her interview.
In an interview with TVGuide.com, Carillo says that Harding was straight with her about her reasons for participating in the documentary: she needed money.
“Nancy’s not a publicity hound. But Tonya says it on the show: She uses her name and her reputation. She says, ‘I needed money.’ She makes no apologies for that. God bless her,” Carillo admitted.
Both Harding and Kerrigan are now married with children, and both appear to hope that this final documentary can settle the media speculation once and for all.
– Olivia Truffaut-Wong
More on Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding: