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20 Years after the Tonya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan Scandal

Illustration for article titled 20 Years after the Tonya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan Scandal

This really interesting article (http://www.believermag.com/issues/201401/…)* by Sarah Marshall, an author who focuses one the spectacle of female athletes created by media sensationalism, revisits the infamous Tonya Harding scandal prior to the 1994 Olympics.


While I'm not personally old enough to remember the incident, it's amazing how the basic "facts"—which my parents told me about years later—are largely contingent on either the testimony of Harding's abusive husband and his cronies or built-up creations of media frenzy. For example, Kerrigan was not knee-capped with a crowbar, as I'd always been told.

This article, which is admittedly pretty long, covers a lot of interesting points: Nancy Kerrigan as working class hero vs. Tonya Harding as white trash, the pettiness and superficiality of figure skating judges at the time (Harding was apparently told by a representative of the sport that if she wanted to go to the Olympics she would have to reconcile with her abusive husband to promote a "stable" image), the media frenzy and their desire to see Kerrigan win gold and Harding crash spectacularly—neither of which came to fruition. It's also a really interesting take on the extreme gender regulations of a particular sport in which Harding, a petite, blond, white woman can be considered dangerously butch and subversive of gender norms. The author covers a lot of interesting points too long to summarize here, so I recommend you check it out!


Do any of you remember the scandal? I'd be interested to hear what you took away then vs. 20 years later.

*Sorry, my mobile device won't let me insert the link properly.

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