Disgraced skater Tonya Harding has long denied she knew that there was a plan being hatched to eliminate rival Nancy Kerrigan at the 1994 US Figure Skating Championships in Detroit. But on last night’s ABC special, Truth and Lies: The Tonya Harding Story, Harding somewhat recanted.
USA Today reports that Harding, who is the subject of the recent biopic I, Tonya, which stars Margot Robbie as the “triple lutz” skater, has stuck to the same story for nearly 25 years regarding her involvement in the “knee-cap” assault that nearly wrecked Nancy Kerrigan’s Olympic dreams. She had no role in planning the chilling attack, Harding long maintained.
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But, according to a new interview, Harding admitted to hearing her ex-husband Jeff Gillooly and his pal Shawn Eckardt plot to remove Kerrigan from the competition after she won the U.S. figure skating crown.
“I did however overhear them talking about stuff,” Harding said. “They were talking about skating and saying ‘Well, maybe someone should be taken out so (Harding) can make it.'”
“It popped in my head two or three days after we got back (that Gillooly and Eckardt were involved),” Harding said.
The attack occurred in Jan. 1994 after a practice session when Kerrigan was slammed in the knee with a police baton by assailant Shane Stant who had been hired by Gillooly and Eckardt. The co-conspirators each served 18 month sentences for conspiring to assault Kerrigan.
Harding also pled guilty but served no jail time. She a sentence of three years’ probation, community service and paid a $160,000 fine, although she claimed that she had no prior knowledge of the attack.
Kerrigan later triumphed at the Lillehammer Winter Olympics and won a Silver Medal while Harding did not even place in the top three categories.
“Enough apologizing,” Harding said in the interview. “She has her life, I have my life. We both have wonderful lives. That should be all that matters.”
“Unbelievable,” said former ABC journalist Connie Chung who had interviewed Harding following the 1994 assault. “I can’t believe she said that.”
[Feature Photo: Tonya Harding via AP/Jordan Strauss/Invision]