1994 a year that certain fads and stories could be considered “stupid” be today’s standards may have long been forgotten… but one will have you thinking back saying “oh yeah, I remember that.”
It was simply called “The Whack Heard Round the World” and it took place in the elegant refined sport of Women’s Figure skating.
On January 6th 1994 U.S. front runner for the Olympics Nancy Kerrigan had finished her workout the day before the Women s Nationals were about to begin and was attacked! Kerrigan cried out “Why,why,why” after being whacked in the right knee by an unknown assailant.
Our Nation was immediately sucked in, and the niche sport became front page news.
The fact that Kerrigan was unable to compete in the Nationals opened the door for a fading skater from Oregon, Tonya Harding. Harding was on the down slope of her amateur career which pretty much peaked in 1991 when she became the first American Woman to land a triple axle.
Harding and Kerrigan couldn’t be more night and day, than actual night and day yet both were competing for the spots the U.S. awarded for the Olympics. That would’ve been fine but Michelle Kwan, Nicole Bobek, and Elaine Zayak and were also in the mix and viable candidates for the Lillehammer Games…and only two could represent the Red, White and Blue come February.
After some investigation it turned out that the attack on Kerrigan that Thursday at Cobo Arena in Detroit was Harding’s body guard Shawn Eckardt. Eckart implicated Hardings boyfriend at the time Jeff Gillooly, as well as Eckardt’s friends Stant, and Derrick Smith, as well as Harding herself. All did “time” except Harding who got community service and probation.
As far as the 1994 Winter Olympics Harding was able to compete, finishing 8th, while Kerrigan brought home the silver. T.V ratings were the highest they have ever been for Womens Figure skating during the “Games” (48.5 and a 64 Share -Short Program, 44.1 and 64 Share – Long Program). All because of a half crocked plan that could have come out of a “Three Stooges flick.