Back in the Day: the ugly side of figure skating

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Back in the Day: the ugly side of figure skating

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January 6, 1994 American ice skater Nancy Kerrigan (see picture, left) is attacked during practice for the national Figure Skating Championships in Detroit, an event that would decide who would represent the US at the Winter Olympics in Lillehammer later that year. She was hit in the leg with a baton, leaving her with an injury that while not serious, would leave her unable to compete in the event two days later. Her attacker had been paid to break her leg by the ex-husband of a rival skater, Tonya Harding (see picture, right). Harding went on to win the championships and a place at the Olympics. It was never proven that Harding had any prior knowledge of the attack but she did admit to conspiring to stop her attackers’ prosecution after it. US skating authorities decided to give a fit-again Kerrigan a place in the Olympic team. They also tried to expel Harding from the team, but were forced to retain her after Harding threatened legal action. With the public well aware of the drama, the Skating competition in Lillehammer became a media circus. Kerrigan eventually won the silver medal. Harding endured a nightmare and broke down crying on the ice rink after her lace broke. She later became famous for a sex tape before starting a career in boxing.

*Also on January 6:*Harold Godwinson is crowned King of England (1066); Samuel Morse demonstrates the electrical telegraph for the first time (1838); death of Theodore Roosevelt (1919); creation of German airline Lufthansa.

Born on January 6: Joan of Arc (1412), Paolo Conte (1937), Anthony Minghella (1954), Kapil Dev (1959), AR Rahman (1966).