As time fades, a legend grows...
20th anniversary of Nancy-Tonya incident
Author neatly summarizes the event, the legacy and the waste. Essentially Harding could have been to Figure Skating what Serena is to Women's tennis.
Tonya was a very sad story, abused and with no support from her mother-who married 5 times. I do not understand how anyone ever thought Tonya would live happily after. She was lucky she was not arrested. Very lucky. And now she has a child, and I can only say I hope she is a different woman now. There will be a lot of reminders going into Sochi. It made many people into millionaires, except Tonya, which was the point of the whole mess.
Nancy was very lucky, indeed it was above the knee. I think there is nothing to be learned from this tale of greed, jealousy, malice that we all don't know. I hope the little one gets the love Tonya never got from her own mother. That would be a happy ending, in a way for her.
This recent article about the cultural and societal circumstances surrounding the Tonya-Nancy conflict, written for The Believer magazine by Sarah Marshall, is also quite a fascinating read. Ms. Marshall even makes connections to present-day skaters like Yuna and Mao.
The problem with Tonya was that she was packaged so poorly. Her music choices were generally terrible; her best program was skated to music from Batman and Tone Loc's Wild Thing. Her choreography wasn't great. Her outfits were unflattering. Despite this, when she would hit the jumps she would still win. However, her packaging needed more refinement to compete with the others when she wasn't at her best.
Sometimes bad skating happens to good people...
And it wasn't necessarily Lavona either (I think she was married seven or nine times, Al Harding was only her 5th....). Diane Rawlinson took Tonya into her home and supported her. Tonya had sponsors, people wanted her to succeed.
You are right it was her packaging. Though Diane did her best, Tonya was self-destructive with a mind of her own. It really is a sad story. Can you imagine having such raw talent and not maximizing it????
Her recent interviews show she is still delusional. Most people can forgive and forget after a mea culpa. She's had 20 years to set it straight. And frankly, I bet there'd be some people who didn't really like Kerrigan and think "Hmm, hard to feel sorry for her..." Not condoning it, of course, but like Chris Rock would say "Not that I agree with it, but I understand it!!"
As time fades, a legend grows...
Excellent and insightful article. Have to admit I am not without guilt in regards to buying into the "class" narrative the media was selling. I now feel some sympathy for Tonya. She is far from blameless but she also had an almost unfair amount of life-hurdles to overcome as well.
Originally Posted by ForeverFish
I always felt Tonya was a more talented skater than Nancy Kerrigan, although the latter had a better package. It was unfortunate she made really bad decisions and let her talent go to waste like that. I don't necessarily agree with the connection the author is trying to make with regards to select group of ladies who have landed a 3A in competition. Mao and Yukari possess elegance and feminine quality that we associate with ladies skating. They just happen to do the triple axel.
To have class or not to have class, that is the question.