Mommy Dearest, or the Dragon Ladies of Figure Skating
While I'm sure that the vast majority of figure skating mothers are wonderful women who unselfishly help to make possible their children's skating careers, a few bad apples in the bunch really stand out. To name a few,
Mrs. Harding. Tonya's mother is the poster girl for bad behavior, in my humble opinion. She was crude, rude, and abusive, and she made a habit of belittling her Tonya while she was a young skater. I distinctly remember an interview Mrs. H. gave that was aired during the Kerrigan/Harding saga days of the winter of 1994, during which she whined and complained about being "an outsider", how the "snobs" of the USFSA considered her "low class" and that nothing she ever did was good enough for them. Then, the segment panned over to her yelling at her daughter as if she (Tonya) wasn't trying hard enough at practice to land her jumps.
At the 1986 US Nationals, then 15-year-old Tonya, in her first seniors, finished a respective sixth and qualified for the fall internationals. The segment showed Tonya phoning her mother at her hotel to advise her of her placement. From the conversation, it was obvious that Mrs. Harding jumped all over Tonya for missing her jump combination, and that the sixth-place finish wasn't such a great thing, after all. When she got off the phone, Tonya signed and called her mother a name that is given for a female dog.
Mrs. Chin. Tiffany Chin, the 1985 US Champion, and 1985/1986 World bronze medalist, had a mother who belittled her, too. A bio segment filmed of them showed Mrs. C. criticizing Tiffany for being "lazy" in her practices. Tiffany just wilted in the face of her mother's verbal assault.