Tonya Harding Is Competing on DWTS — and Twitter Isn't Happy About It
Season 26 of Dancing with the Stars premieres Monday, April 30 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC
Tonya Harding is trading ice skates for dancing shoes — and many Dancing with the Stars fans aren’t too happy about it.
On Friday morning, ABC revealed the 10 former athletes who will compete on the Athletes edition of the reality dance competition series, premiering April 30.
After audiences learned that 47-year-old Harding, a former professional ice skater, was signed on to compete with pro dancer Sasha Farber on season 26, they took to Twitter to express their thoughts — many of which were not in favor of the controversial Olympian.
“Why is tonya Harding on DWTS. no one likes her,” one Twitter user wrote.
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“This might be the fist time since DWTS has been on that i refuse to watch. I will never watch anything that promotes Tonya Harding…and I’m really bummed because i like so many of the other athletes that will be in this season,” tweeted another.
“Instead of the show being called #DWTS, it should be called ‘Dancing with the criminals.’ They choose Tonya Harding for the lineup,” tweeted another. “Who’s next? O.J? Lol.”
Controversy around Harding began in 1994. Seven weeks before the 1994 Olympic Winter Games, Harding’s skating rival, Nancy Kerrigan, was clubbed on the knee by an assailant. A man later identified as Shane Stant struck Kerrigan in the knee with a baton after she walked off the ice in January of that year, during practice for the U.S. Figure Skating Championships.
Though she was injured and briefly withdrew from competition to recuperate, Kerrigan was well enough to compete in the Olympics, where she earned a silver medal in women’s singles while Harding came in eighth.
The attack was arranged by Harding’s ex-husband, Jeff Gillooly, along with Brian Sean Griffith (then named Shawn Eckardt) and his friend Derrick Smith, who drove the getaway car.
RELATED VIDEO: Tonya Harding ‘Was Involved Up to Her Neck’ in the Nancy Kerrigan Attack, Says Oregon DA
Gillooly and Eckhart pleaded guilty to racketeering for their involvement in the incident. Gillooly was sentenced to two years in prison and a fine of $100,000. Eckardt, Stant and Smith were sentenced to 18 months each in prison with no fines.
Harding denied having any involvement in the attack but pleaded guilty to conspiring to hinder prosecution. She had to pay a $160,000 fine and was sentenced to three years’ probation and 500 hours community service.
In addition, she was banned for life from the U.S. Figure Skating Association.
Season 26 of Dancing with the Stars premieres Monday, April 30 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.