DETROIT -- A man wielding a club or bat Thursday attacked figure skater Nancy Kerrigan, the 1992 Olympic bronze medalist, as she left the ice from an Olympic trials practice session.
Kerrigan was in Detroit for the U.S. National Championships, which also serve as the U.S. Olympic figure skating trials.
A Swedish journalist covering the practice said Kerrigan was behind a curtain leading to the dressing room at the Cobo Hall practice facility when an unidentified male hit her legs with what appeared to be a crowbar or blunt object.
The attacker, who reportedly videotaped the practice, escaped. Eyewitnesses said Kerrigan was able to walk to a car and was taken to a hospital for X-rays and an examination. Kerrigan apparently was struck on the upper portion of her right leg and there was no immediate word on the severity of her injuries. Witnesses said she did not appear badly hurt.
A Boston television station quoted Kerrigan's brother as saying the injuries do not appear serious but questioned whether she would be able to compete Friday.
Kerrigan, 24, the defending national champion and a bronze medalist at Albertville in 1992, was scheduled to skate Friday night in the technical program. She was considered the overwhelming favorite to retain her title and earn a berth in the Olympics at Lillehammer, Norway, next month.
This is the second attack on a sports figure in less than a year. On April 30, 1993, Monica Seles, the world's No. 1 women's tennis player, was stabbed in the back by a spectator who attacked her during a match in Munich, Germany.
Seles survived but her assailant succeeded in his stated wish to remove her from competition so that his compatriot, Steffi Graf, would be the top-ranked player.
Seles was stabbed by Guenther Parche, a 39-year-old unemployed lathe operator who said he staged the attack because he was in love with Graf. Despite the outrageous assault, and the harm it caused Seles, Parche was given only a two-year suspended sentence by a German court.