Just an FYI, a documentary on Nancy kerrigan/Tonya harding is airing on NBC right now
Just an FYI, a documentary on Nancy kerrigan/Tonya harding is airing on NBC right now
This ended up being more interesting than I thought it would. I started following figure skating somewhere in the time period where Tonya was trying the 3A but hadn't landed it yet. I just happened to flip to some figure skating competition and instantly fell in love with this girl who had enormous jumps, amazing spins and was trying to land a jump no American woman had landed in competition.
Though I came to have other favorites and discovered the likes of Boitano, Browning, Witt, Yamaguichi, etc through pro skating, if it hadn't been for Tonya, I might never have become a fan.
Her fall from grace was heartbreaking, even if very possibly self-inflicted. Such a waste of talent. It's also sad how the same public who put Nancy on a pedestal was so quick to turn on her after the games. She was never my cup of tea, but it's kind of crazy how to this day people have this image of her as a rich b ice queen, because of a couple of ill timed, fairly innocuous comments.
In the end, I think she and Tonya had more in common than not and maybe if Tonya had been around better people (or listened to the right ones) things would be different.
I agree with you, Angryyew, that it was more interesting than I had expected, and less voyeuristic by far. I also was saddened at the time (and remain so) that the public turned on Nancy because she said two, count 'em, two silly things. They were definitely in bad grace, but the rest of her conduct was pretty dignified, especially considering that she had been seen as a bit of a head case up to then. What angered me even more was the way people laughed at her reaction at the actual time of the attack. The moment of her attack was actually satirized her on Saturday Night Live, which was callous in the extreme. Is everything just worth a cheap laugh? I don't think people understand how close she came to sustaining permanent damage. Only the merciful klutziness of the attacker spared her knee.
It's interesting to see how careful Nancy was to express herself at the time, and how she maintained her poise despite the constant intrusion of the cameras and the reporters. She never revealed more than she chose to reveal, no matter how hard the reporters pressed.
What's even more impressive is how well she seems to have processed the experience today. She makes no bones about the fact that it was awful to go through and doesn't offer any false forgiveness to please the hungry cameras, but she clearly understands the incalculable advantage she always had over Tonya. As she says, her family wasn't rich at all, but they were stable and mutually supportive. Nancy realizes that Tonya was handicapped by her chaotic upbringing and life and seems genuinely to wish her well. She was also very gracious in expressing admiration of Tonya's talent as a skater.
As for Tonya, she was always a lot more articulate than one expected, then and now. But her remarks show that she is still making excuses for herself: when talking about how she was given a chance to skate later on the night of the long program, which was an outright gift to her, notice how she complained that waiting that long was the reason that she skated poorly. There were other similar comments peppered throughout her account. At least she seems happy now, living productively, earning her keep, and raising a family. I too wish her well.
I thought it was well done. Mary Carillo did a good job letting the interviews flow and letting each of them speak.
I really enjoyed the post-video interview from Nancy with Bob Costas. It's actually really nice to see Nancy look so lovely and so at peace with everything that happened. And it's also really cool that she can still acknowledge Tonya's skating in such a positive light.
One thing I either never picked up on or forgot is that there was an attempt to KILL Nancy. Maiming her was despicable enough, but murder is a whole other level of crime to me. And I was a little offended at how the program presented it as humorous since the attackers were so bungling. Yeah, I don't care if you are inept, you tried to kill someone.
Tonya was caught in one obvious and overt lie, in the present saying the beefy guy wasn't her bodyguard and she would never hire anyone so inept, but there she was on film from 1994 time calling him her bodyguard.
And Mary Carillo was kind of like, what the heck? when Tonya said she had proved her innocence over and over -- and Tonya couldn't really say how or when she had produced this convincing proof, nor could she even come up with a convincing answer at that moment.
Also, the ridiculous -- "What day was that?" when Carillo asked her what she was doing the day of the attack. Right, Tonya, she's asking about a random day, or Chinese New Year, or Epiphany or something -- please don't pretend you don't know the significance of the date Jan. 6, 1994.
It's hard for me to imagine Nancy being able to perform as she did after being attacked and the ongoing media attention and the legal drama. It's incomprehensible to me almost -- that was a huge amount of stress to be experiencing leading up to any sort of trial or test, much less the Olympic games.
Nancy certainly said some tactless things but seeing the program brought back to me just how amazing she was to hold up like she did. And she certainly seems to have moved on. Though it's clear she wishes she could have had a chance at another U.S. title, and I thought it was nice that the National title seemed to mean so much to her.
At the time I liked so much of what Tonya put on the ice, and I was much more of a Yama fan than a Kerrigan fan anyway, so after Kristi retired to pro comps I was not hugely in either Tonya's or Nancy's camp before the attack. But over the years I've come to think less and less of Tonya. The claims that she's currently very happy and so into her family -- well, I hope that's true. She still comes off as trying to shift blame for pretty much everything onto other people and to answer most questions in equivocal terms.
Up to a point, I always felt sorry for Tonya. She had it so tough, and had so much to try to overcome and rise above.
BUT...I think she did know about the plan to harm Nancy (maybe not the raw details, but the gist of it). She may or may not have been the mastermind, but I do think she knew ahead of time.
She still seems in denial all these years later; continuing to change or tweek her story, rationalizing her decisions and behavior.
She grew up being victimized, and I think that she's never learned not to see herself as a victim in life.
I watched this and the ESPN 30 on 30 a few weeks ago. I would say they're both worth watching and present fair/equal views on the matter. Kerrigan did not grant interviews for the 30 on 30 doc though so you get a lot more from Tonya's side, although it does not let her off the hook in any way.
I just saw it.
A few thoughts
1. By middle of the documentary, I thought this was a redemption of some sort for Tonya. It was like a narrative to why she would do such a thing. Then, everyone who's interviewed was cocking their heads and rolling their eyes when asked about the planning and the plotting. Then I knew it was just another inconclusive piece.
2. I forgot how unlikable Nancy was. I remember her to be aloof and annoying. The way she was talking like a typical middle class white girl from the Northeast who thinks she's the model citizen. Nancy got that condescending attitude toward Tonya the entire time even pre-attack. It would be frustrating to be in the vicinity with this kind of girl. She was like, nope, we never talked. Tonya was like, I see her all the time at competitions, rooming together, etc... Lulu was such a sweetheart compare to Nancy.
3. Tonya was defensive the entire time she was with Mary. Probably realizing that she would be looking bad, and then she took the bait and spew idiotic stuffs. If she was less defensive and more genuine about how sorry she was, public perception would have changed a bit.
4. Tonya has it rough. Her son seems to be the only sunshine in her miserable life. I hope his growing up, having Tonya Harding as his mother, will be as normal as possible.
5. Tonya is original. No pretty princess nonsense, probably why she can't stand Nancy. She probably would club Gracie, too.
6. Nancy probably got some serious coaching to be empathetic in the one-on-one with Bob Costas. When Mary interviewed her, she was extremely unlikable.
Both deserved a few backhands. Tonya for being a lazy stubborn *****. Nancy for being a *****.
I thought Tonya came off really defensive, but Mary Carillo got to edit the piece. I was getting the opinion from the questions she did ask Tonya on tape that she was definitely "on Nancy's side" and I bet Tonya was reacting to that.
I'm a big tennis fan. And I'm not a fan of Mary Carillo. She's one of the worst commentators out there b/c I can always figure out who's she's rooting for during the match. Hope ESPN never hires her now that the grand slams are entirely off of CBS/NBC. So maybe I'm biased, but I'm pretty sure Mary was likely obviously biased in her questions to Tonya, and Tonya reacted to that.
The power to edit an interview is a huge power indeed.
I thought the best part of the documentary wasn't in the documentary. It was that Costas interview of Kerrigan afterwards. I've always thought Nancy seemed very brusque in her interviews. She was so much more livlier than I remembered and said some really interesting things.
The 30 for 30 one was better IMO though Nancy wasn't in it.