It was one of the biggest sports scandals in American history.
Just seven weeks before the 1994 Olympic Games, figure skating frontrunner Nancy Kerrigan was brutally clubbed in the knee as she left her practice rink in Detroit. The shocking twist: the assailant was a man who had been hired by the ex-husband and bodyguard of another Olympic hopeful, Tonya Harding.
The media couldn’t get enough of the scandal that had all the elements of a Lifetime TV movie: a beautiful figure-skating victim, a brutal attack, and a rival from the wrong side of the tracks. (The scandal landed on the cover of PEOPLE twice in early 1994.)
The story turned Kerrigan and Harding into household names. Kerrigan wasn’t badly hurt, and made the 1994 Olympic team. Harding, who had not yet been convicted of her role in the attack, also made the team.
Kerrigan walked away with the silver medal, while Harding fumbled on the ice and finished in 8th place after her lace broke.
Never Before Seen Evidence
Saturday’s episode of Scandal Made Me Famous revisits the saga, taking a new look at the 22-year-old evidence in the case. The show, which airs on the Reelz channel, speaks with people involved in the case, including the prosecutor, handwriting experts, key witnesses and Harding’s former fiancé.
Also on the show, the Multnomah District Attorney’s office opens its files and shares FBI documents and photos that have never before been published.
Among the newly-released material: surveillance photos of Harding and her then-husband, Jeff Gillooly, as well as police summaries of the evidence against Harding.
The Smoking Gun – On the Back of an Envelope
The case against Harding was strengthened by one crucial piece of evidence found in a dumpster: a handwritten note in which Harding had written the address of the skating center where Kerrigan trained in South Dennis, Massachusetts. (That attack didn’t work out, so they had to give it a second attempt in Detroit.)
The note, which was written on the back of an envelope, included the name “Tony Kent Arena,” which was where Kerrigan would be. The address: 8 Gages Way, South Dennis.
The envelope was found along with other documents which could be definitively traced back to Harding.
Harding was eventually convicted of hindering the investigation. She received three years probation, 500 hours of community service, and a $160,000 fine. Worse yet: she was banned from competing in U.S. Figure Skating for life.
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Scandal Made Me Famous combines reenactments, exclusive interviews and never-before-seen photos and video to tell the story of infamous crimes. The show is hosted by PEOPLE Senior Writer Steve Helling.
The Tonya Harding episode premieres on Saturday (9 p.m. ET) on the Reelz Channel.