Tonya Harding Speaks Out About Nancy Kerrigan Attack: 'The Media Had Me Convicted'
"Now I want my son to be proud," the former figure skater says in a recent ABC special
Former figure skater Tonya Harding opened up in a recent interview about her life now, her childhood and her infamous past in an interview that will air in early January as part of a new two-hour special.
In the interview, with ABC News correspondent Amy Robach, Harding discusses the attack on figure skater Nancy Kerrigan, which dominated headlines for weeks in early 1994.
“The media had me convicted of doing something wrong before I had even done anything at all,” Harding tells Robach in a clip from the interview, which is shown above. “I am always the bad person. Is it a challenge from the Lord to see how far I can be pushed until I break and become nothing? You can’t push me that far anymore, because I have been nothing and I have been nothing several times.”
“Truth and Lies: The Tonya Harding Story” airs on ABC on Jan. 11 from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. ET.
Harding is back in the headlines headlines, thanks to the new film I, Tonya, featuring Margot Robbie in the lead role. Robbie is getting Oscar buzz for her portrayal of Harding and has already received a Golden Globe nomination for her turn as the skater.
• Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.
The two-hour special features rarely-seen video of Harding as a child, as well as interviews with television news anchor Connie Chung, whose interview with Harding during the 1994 Olympics was cut short when Harding walked out; Christine Brennan, USA Today sports columnist and ABC commentator; and Dody Teachman, Harding’s coach.
Harding says she has looked within herself to rise above the criticism she has faced.
“It is my faith in myself and in my father that comes back to me and makes me get back up off my butt and be something worth being proud of,” she tells Robach. “I always wanted my daddy to be proud and now I want my son to be proud.”
The attack on Kerrigan occurred during a practice session at the 1994 U.S. Figure Skating Championships and was carried out by Shane Stant; he was paid $6,500 by Harding’s bodyguard, Shawn Eckardt, and instructed to hobble Kerrigan.
RELATED VIDEO: Ashley Wagner and More Figure Skaters Discuss Tonya Harding and I, TONYA Ahead of Winter Olympics
Afterwards, reporters followed Harding everywhere as the news cycle was dominated by the controversy.
• For more compelling true crime coverage, follow our Crime magazine on Flipboard.
While the media continued to swarm Harding, she maintained that she didn’t know about the attack in advance. After an investigation, Stant, Eckardt and Harding’s ex-husband, Jeff Gillooly, were all charged in connection with the attack and served jail time.
Harding eventually admitted to withholding information from police and received 500 community service hours, three years probation and a fine of $160,000. She was subsequently banned for life from the U.S. Figure Skating Association and lost her 1994 U.S. Championships title.
“Truth and Lies: The Tonya Harding Story” airs on ABC on Jan. 11 from 9:00 to 11:00 p.m. ET.