Of course, the drag queens re-enacted the Tonya/Nancy saga
Tonya was my first favorite skater, but let's not let Tonya lie her way out of it:
When a company produces a pen, the ink varies from batch to batch similar to a cake mix. Each vat of ink is just a little bit different.
The FBI had her NAILED. They found HER fingerprints on the pen, in the trash with the schedule - The ink from the pen was an exact chemical match for the ink on the paper schedule.
There is no question that she was at least involved with ALL of the planning.
All the above were the facts of the case back then, from the news.
In any case, Nancy couldn't help the fact that Tonya came across as more of a scrapper because of her background and temperament. In the skating world, actually Nancy was more like Tonya than she was like Kristi (the daughter of a well-to-do dentist) or Rachael Flatt (the only child of two successful scientists, a biochemical engineer and a molecular biologists). The idea that somehow Nancy is the sort of person who would benefit from being taken down a peg or two is contradicted by the actual situation.
I'm not saying any of this to start an argument, but rather because I remember too many news articles from the time (including a particularly provocative one in Ms. Magazine) that seemed to imply that this incident was the natural outcome of a street kid fighting for her place in the sun among the prom queens. Nancy was not a prom queen; she just looked like one.
I had forgotten what a great jumper Tonya was. What a shame she has always been such a train wreck. Then there is that awful tacky dress that looks like she made it herself in home ec class...compared to Nancy's Vera Wang number. Still, Tonya just doesn't get it, always excuses. I don't think she is a person who ever takes any responsibility for her behavior, nor will she ever.
I don't know what it is about Nancy, but she still seems off putting and stuck up. I think it is the way she talks-"northeastern lockjaw". The interview at the end softened her a bit. She sure was lucky that Kristy decided to retire after '92. I do hope she isn't sticking that youngest son into figure skating, as he looks to be a very gifted gymnast.
What I never got was the treatment of Nancy. In our psycho-media country, everybody suddenly turned against her for what exactly.....? Oh yes. They wanted her give the MOUSE that medal to wear. Over my DEAD body if it was mine. As a HUGE Baiul fan, her comment about Oksana's crying didn't bother me at all.
Out of the two, it is Nancy, the victim, who has a very mellow attitude about it now, wishing Tonya her best, while Tonya is winy, rude, lying, and insulting.
I really liked the IDEA of Tonya, but the reality rarely lived up to it. There was something very slow and methodical in her routines, even when she was technically skating fast. I feel like the go-to excuse for her was always that she wasn't "pretty princess" enough, but grace, posture, lines, musicality aren't merely frivolous judging preferences. They ARE figure skating. And if you can't master them, you'll be rightfully penalized. And additionally, while her jumps were big, they were also often tilted and heavily muscled out, so you can't even compare them to Midori Ito's gorgeous, effortless jumps.
Which is all to say that I think the skating community actually tried with Tonya. I think they DID see her potential, but she just couldn't deliver consistently. In 1991, they proved they were willing to reward her when she brought the goods. But from 1992 on, she rarely did, and so her skating fell off, not because everyone "hated" her for not being pretty, but because her programs were lackluster and her commitment wasn't there. But to this day, I don't think Tonya has admitted that to herself. She looks at 1994, a year where she should've been kicked off the Olympic team and then disqualified during the free skate, and instead sees a vicious figure skating association who only let her compete because they knew she wouldn't win and a judging panel that gave her a later skating placement just to screw up her timing.
As for the question of who would've won the gold under the new judging system...I believe Oksana had 3 two-footed landings across her two programs that year, that I would imagine would've had her in 2nd.
I liked Tonya's maverick spirit and doing it her way (I want to skate to ZZ Top!) and daring to challenge the "pretty princess" image of figure skating. Twenty years later, we still have that "princess" image (just look at Gracie's recent repackaging).
However you slice it though, she's both a victim and an instigator of her own downfall, due to her abusive, rootless, upbringing and poor judgement. I just hope she can find redemption through her new family and raising her son in a loving manner and not repeat the cycle of abuse.
You have beautifully expressed what I have felt about Tonya for some time. She had the raw talent, but it was she herself who failed to do it justice most of the time. And as you point out, she was supported by the skating community, because they saw her quality. I'm sure they would have been thrilled to have such a skater continue to thrive.
The makeup comment before the medal ceremony was a bit snarky and uncalled-for. Though I can understand her nerves were frayed. But it was snarky.
The pretty princess image her team cultivated to win her points with the judges is a bit of a double edged sword. When the public is feeling good about you, you're beautiful and graceful, but when they aren't, you're stuck up and elitist. The same thing has happened with Witt, Cohen, Gold, etc
I've never met Nancy and she might be "unlikable" for all I know, but I think she has got a bad rap rooted in the same sort of envy and double standards that probably fueled the attack on her to begin with. I've heard quite a few skaters who skated with her on the show circuit describe her as sweet, funny and a good friend.
In reality, like most of us, she's probably somewhere between the perfect princess and the ice queen who dissed Mickey.
What was telling to me was her comments about the short program in the 94 Olympics, when she was given a break by the referee and allowed to re-skate her program later, that she complained about having to wait and that she got cold and stiff - ! It seems like until she's able to take responsibility for the way things happened in her skating life, she'll never be able to let go of the bitterness. It's sad...I can see how her upbringing affected her, but hopefully there will be a point when she can learn...
Yes, I appreciated that Scott Hamilton pointed out that getting a later skate placement through her own lack of preparation was actually an unfair advantage. She gamed the system and won, temporarily. It was only when her LP was mediocre that she decided it was because they made her wait so long.
One thing that they also breezed by super fast was that she was supposed to skate in a regional competition in order to earn her way to Nationals in 1994. But a death threat against her was called in so the USFSA gave her a bye to Nationals. Just...an interesting and somewhat fortuitous turn of events there.
I thought that was ridiculous that they didn't do it the same way back at Lillehammer if she was going to be allowed to skate later. Seems like that would've been the obvious move rather than what they did.