American ice skaters Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan battled for a spot in the 1994 Winter Olympics and were longstanding rivalries in figure skating. But it got nasty …
– January 6, 1994: The night before the US National Figure Skating Championships, Kerrigan is attacked by hired hit man Shane Stant, who hit Kerrigan’s right leg with a 21-inch folding stick.
Smith, along with his uncle Derrick Smith, was signed by Jeff Gillooly, Harding’s ex-husband and Harding’s bodyguard Shawn Eckhardt. Cameras caught the aftermath and Kerrigan’s face as she yelled, “Why? Why? Why? Why me?’
– January 8, 1994: Harding wins gold at the 1994 championships, which one month later secures her a place at the Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway.
But in support of Kerrigan, her fellow skaters also offered her a place for the Olympic Games …
– January 12, 1994: Harding’s bodyguard Eckhardt admits the attack after an FBI investigation and accuses Stant, Gillooly and Smith, the driver of the getaway car.
– January 14, 1994: The United States Figure Skating Association (USFSA) is deliberating whether Harding should compete in Lillehammer and decides that it can, as there is no evidence to contradict its claims.
– January 27, 1994: Gilolly, the mastermind behind the attack, admits and blames Harding, Eckhardt, Stant and Smith.
Harding denies participation and makes the following statement: “Despite my mistakes and rough edges, I have done nothing to violate the standards of top athleticism that are expected of an Olympic athlete.”
The US Olympic Committee eventually decides she can attend.
– February 25, 1994: Harding finished eighth in the Olympics, while Kerrigan won the silver medal.
– March 16, 1994: Harding pleads guilty of “conspiracy to prevent law enforcement”. She received three years probation and a $ 160,000 fine. She is later stripped of her 1994 national championship title and given a life ban from the USFSA
Everyone involved in Kerrigan’s attack is serving prison terms, with the exception of Harding.
Tonya Harding eventually pleaded guilty to knowing about the attack on her rival
Nancy Kerrigan was attacked by a hit man before the 1994 Winter Olympics