SOCHI, Russia — Nancy Kerrigan’s voice cracked and her eyes welled with tears. She had just watched a screening of NBC’s “Nancy & Tonya,” a one-hour special that is scheduled to air on Sunday, and the emotions stemming from the attack on her came rushing back.
Kerrigan has been reluctant to talk about rival Tonya Harding’s ex-husband hiring a hit squad to take her out before the 1994 Olympics in Lillehammer. She finally relented for a show that marks the 20-year anniversary of the incident, which thrust figure skating into the spotlight and spawned an international media frenzy.
She fidgeted nervously as she stood in front of a handful of media members to talk about it. After the show airs and the moment is rehashed, Kerrigan says she hopes it will be the end of the fascination with the soap opera-like storyline. She hopes that both her and Harding will be allowed to move past it.
“Let’s move on,” Kerrigan says. “You’ve got to allow people that chance to get on with their lives and try to be better and learn from mistakes.”
In her portion of the show, Harding remains steadfast in denying any role in the attack that left Kerrigan with a knee injury during the U.S. championships. Kerrigan was able to recover in time to win silver in Lillehammer, but the intense media scrutiny wore her out. She was dubbed an “ice princess” and occasionally mocked for her cries of “Why me? Why me?” after she was struck on the knee.
After the screening, Kerrigan was asked how much she cared about not being understood for all these years.
“I always wanted to be understood. Who doesn’t want to be liked, right?” she said as her voice trailed off and she concluded the interview. “That’s all. I’m sorry.”