Harding/Kerrigan: twenty years later

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It's been twenty years since Tonya Harding's crew had Nancy Kerrigan cracked in the knee, spurring the most lurid, sensational, and bizarre brouhaha in the history of figure skating. Over at Bleacher Report, Matt Crossman spoke to many of the scandal's biggest stars, including Shane Stant, the man who was paid $6,500 to knock Kerrigan out of the Olympics:

It all started when Stant's phone rang a day or two before Christmas 1993. His uncle, Derrick Smith, called to ask if Stant, then 22, would hurt somebody for money. Pressed for specifics, Smith asked if Stant would "take down a skater,'' according to Stant's FBI confession.

Stant asked for more details. A man named Shawn Eckardt called and said it would involve slicing the skater's Achilles tendon. Stant said no. He wouldn't cut anybody. They settled on injuring the person enough so she could not skate.

On the day after Christmas, Stant climbed into Smith's black Porsche 944, and the uncle and his nephew drove 22 hours from Arizona to Portland, Ore. The next day, Smith and Stant met with Eckardt at his parents' home, a split-level building made of sand-colored brick that sits roughly three-quarters of the way up Mount Scott in suburban Portland.

Gillooly showed up a little while after Stant and Smith arrived. Eckardt pressed "record" on a tape recorder he had hidden under a paper towel. He and Smith figured they could use the recording against Gillooly if Gillooly turned on them or refused to pay.

The four men—Gillooly, Eckardt, Smith and Stant—discussed the best way to attack Kerrigan. Stant and Gillooly told the FBI that Eckardt suggested killing Kerrigan, but nobody else wanted to go that far. Gillooly said damaging Kerrigan's right leg was the best plan, because that is her landing leg, and if she couldn't land, she couldn't skate.

"Harding-Kerrigan 20 Years Later: Remembering the Stunning, Life-Changing Attack"

Notable Replies

  1. samsa says:

    Do the internet a favor and never, ever, ever link anything on Bleacher Report.

  2. Harding perhaps didn't have to do any time over it, but I heard from some skaters I know in Portland that afterwards, Harding was working as an instructor/coach at the rink. Every time the hockey players would see her there, they were erupt into a gang-limp, shouting, "Why?". (Yes, a bunch of rowdy young guys, of course.) I make no judgments about what was fair or unfair - but Harding definitely paid some prices behind that whole affair that never saw any press. The kind of thing one the others later tried to escape by changing their names or having their criminal records expunged. Harding herself can never escape it, any more than Kerrigan.

  3. I had collected over 200 newspaper clippings relating to Nancy Kerrigan after Tonya Harding's attack. I don't know why exactly, but it really fascinated me. My mom threw them away when I left for the Army in '96. I wish I could've made some crazy collage with them.

  4. ♬ Once there was this girl who
    Swore that one day she would be a figure skating champion
    And when she finally made it
    She saw some other girl who was better
    And so she hired some guy to
    Club her in the kneecap ♬

    Mmm mmm mmm mmm, mmm mmm mmm mmm

  5. Man, I've seen some weird bits of the internet, but I doff my hat, Sir...

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