Nancy is really a classy lady. She even said Tonya had no support and that she didn't have good people around her and that it was a lot for Tonya to even deal with. Tonya in the documentary said Nancy is not worth it. Tonya still hasn't grown up.
Well, I read the Believer article. Thanks for linking to it; it was very interesting and gave some information I had not previously known. It certainly shows that Tonya had a joyless life and not much chance to develop a strong moral sense. In that I feel very sorry for her, though it doesn't excuse whatever part she played in the attack on Nancy.
One shortcoming of the article is this: As always with outsiders writing about skating, the author kind of squeezes the situation into a shape that confirms her views on certain issues about women in sports. For example, she sets up a metaphor (the dinosaurs on the brink of extinction underlined by Tonya's music choice of "Jurassic Park") to show that more mature, womanly skaters such as Tonya and Nancy were about to be replaced by young sprites of girls. While this held true for awhile (Oksana in 1994 and then Michelle and Tara in 1998), the cycle changed after that, with Michelle and Irina skating into their mid-twenties, becoming mature athletes and artists. After that, another long sequence starring YuNa, Carolina, and Mao occurred. So the metaphor in the article implies something inaccurate, or at least merely temporary, about skating. Later on, when the author talks about other skaters who had the triple axel, she describes the rivalry between Mao and YuNa as if Mao the scrappy, powerful skater with the triple axel, lost the gold to princess-like YuNa Kim. But YuNa won largely because she was a supreme athlete, with the best, most spacious, most consistent triple-triples in the world. The fact that she was also artistic was a plus. In fact, Mao was also exceedingly artistic as well as athletic, with ballet-infused posture. So the author used skating to say something about women in skating that isn't completely accurate.
I often find it frustrating that writers have such an equivocal view of female skaters. It's almost as if they expect true athletes to progress to sports such as snowboarding or skeleton, while skaters by contrast are somehow selling out. (Is that also true of male skaters, I wonder.) Because Tonya was so obviously from the wrong side of the tracks and was so powerful and tomboyish in her life and her skating, that kind of story almost writes itself. I wonder what all those writers would have done if someone like Nancy had attacked someone like Tonya instead.
Thank you very much for the links to the videos and article. I accidentally forgot to record it, so I'm glad I have the chance to watch it now.
^This. We just went through the same eternal conflicts again this Olympics: art vs athleticism, age vs youth etc etc. And no doubt by 2018 we'll go through it again. But it was interesting to see an article which didn't automatically assume Tonya was a sociopathic monster. It was nice to see some complexity.
Originally Posted by Olympia
The Believer article was certainly an interesting read. It clearly seems to be an essay or thought piece determined to draw "conclusions" using analogies and metaphors rather than presenting or evaluating evidence, of course -- it's an essay rather than a report, that is to say. I thought it also made tons of assumptions about the psyches of all the characters which may have been true but may not have been and were assumptions in either case. The author didn't seem to take into account the notes found in Tonya's handwriting, and was pretty dismissive of Tonya's presence during the gathering of information about Nancy's whereabouts and other planning details. But again, I think the author was trying to write an essay about "female power and pain" rather than examine the facts of the situation.
But as an essay or thought piece it was interesting, though it really wanted to establish these archetypes or literary devices of "female power" and "female pain." And I agree with Olympia that the analogy was grossly inappropriately applied when the author tried to cast Mao in the athlete rather than the artist mode. MAO! ASADA! One of the most artistic, lyrical skaters ever! Has the author even seen Mao skate? Mao is certainly athletic but her artistry on the ice is incredible and to me the standout part of her skating -- she's an artist above all else.
Also, maybe the public's supposed disappointment in Nancy for losing gold is why they were so quick to turn on her for the parade comments, but I don't know -- I was avidly following skating at that time and I remember lots of discussion but I think pretty much everyone watching could see that Nancy had given two incredible performances. Plenty were charmed by Oksana, but plenty also felt Nancy wuzrobbed. I didn't see in the press or hear in conversations much feeling that Nancy had failed to deliver, just that the judging hadn't gone her way. But maybe the public did see her as failing and thus were ready to get so up in arms over the Disney parade situation.
Still, it shouldn't be dismissed that Tonya apparently went from one personal situation of abuse to another, and how difficult that is.
It seemed to me that the general sentiment among US viewers who tuned in for Nancy vs Tonya was that Nancy wuzrobbed, but that they didn't really care all that much because they were there for the drama not the skating.
The media played up Oksana's hard luck story quite a bit, which seemed to win some over to her side. I mean what's more Olympic dream than the story of a teen age orphan who wins Olympic gold by defeating a skater the public perceived as privileged?
Of course, there were also those who described her as "dressed as a fuzzy bedroom slipper," but overall I think the public was ready to dump whiny, Mickey dissin, Ice Princess Nancy in favor of underdog orphan Oksana, at least until Oksana got her DUI, but by then they had Kwan and didn't need her anyway. Celebrity is a fickle mistress.
Twenty years later and we are STILL talking about this. I forgot how absolutely insane that all was, and the "breaking news" was that a few newscasts would actually insert any developments on this media circus while they were still covering the Bosnian war! "Live from Sarajevo ... but first, let's talk about Nancy and Tonya!" Literally this happened, not a joke.
Worlds will be in Boston in 2016, less than ten miles south of Stoneham, MA ... where Nancy lives. Wanna bet if Gracie becomes the gold medal favorite, that NBC suddenly carves out slots in their prime time schedule for figure skating coverage and they spend half the time obsessing over Nancy, who will likely join as a commentator?
Wicked Yankee Girl
Nancy will be there, working for icenetwork, in any case, I suspect. Tonya, OTOH, is banned even from buying a seat as a member of the general public, I think I heard?
Tonya pitched a reality show awhile back. You can view the reel here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zhifzGajs0g
Don't leave us hanging, Mrs. P! I hope you can complete your post.
Originally Posted by Mrs. P
Haha, I didn't realize that was posted!
Originally Posted by Olympia
Anyway, as I was saying, speaking of Nancy and commentating, do you guys remember when she did the commentary for Lifetime/Comcast coverage of various events such as Jr. Worlds and the Jr. National Championships?
Here's the one she did for the Shibutanis at the 2005 Intermediate FD: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N6NrB23vPx8
I vaguely remember her doing some commentary. I'll check the YT when I'm home from work. Thanks!
One thing Nancy and Tonya both have is a nice speaking voice. Good pitch, no whining, and no obvious regional accent. In fact, I'm always surprised at how refined Tonya sounds. It makes me realize that I have a preconceived notion about how someone from a hardscrabble background would speak. Live and learn!
Sometimes bad skating happens to good people...
I will say that after watching this I have a much more favorable impression of Nancy Kerrigan. She was frosty back in the day, but the proof is in the pudding. She has had only one husband, the three kids, the family 'values' for lack of a better expression. A fine citizen.
As for Tonya, yeah, she's still in denial. Not much to say except I hope her son has a better childhood than her. Cycles repeat.
Originally Posted by RiceSkate
Can we get this to tv?
Wicked Yankee Girl
Believe it or not, Tonya has a speed record from 2009 at Bonneville Salt Flats, scored in a car called Lickety Split.
She also has an occasional gig with World's Dumbest,a show on trutv.