Harding: Media focus after '94 attack on Kerrigan made life difficult

NEW YORK, Jan. 6 (UPI) -- Media attention on her following the 1994 attack on figure skater Nancy Kerrigan made it "impossible just to even concentrate on anything," Tonya Harding says.

Speaking to ESPN on the 20th anniversary of the attack, Harding said training for the 1994 Winter Olympics became difficult after suspicions arose she might have had a part in the attack, ABC News reported Monday.


Kerrigan, who was favored to win a medal at the 1994 Winter Olympics, was hit on the right knee during a practice session at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships six weeks before the Olympics. She was forced to drop out of the competition and Harding won the event.

Harding's ex-husband, Jeff Gillooly, and three other men were later charged in the attack. Harding denied having full knowledge of the attack beforehand.

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"Trying to train in front of everyone was so much mania," said Harding, now 43. "Every time I'd jump, they would all flash. I would fall on my face and hurt myself a couple of times. It just started becoming really impossible just to even concentrate on anything."


"I just couldn't believe what was being said and stuff," she added. "I never met or talked to -- didn't even know the other person involved."

The attention became overwhelming, making her want "to crawl in a closet and say go away."

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Kerrigan recovered from her injury in time for both her and Harding to complete in the Olympics. Kerrigan won silver. Harding took fourth place.

Two months after the attack, Harding pleaded guilty to hindering prosecution. She was banned from competitive skating for life.

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