Crime History, Jan. 6, 1994: U.S. figure skater Nancy Kerrigan knee-capped in ‘whack heard around the world’

Video cameras captured Nancy Kerrigan shortly after she was attacked by an unknown assailant at practice.

Video cameras captured Nancy Kerrigan shortly after she was attacked by an unknown assailant at practice.

Kerrigan, among the favorites to represent the United States at the Lillehammer Olympics, had just completed a practice session in advance of the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Detroit.

She was on her way to the locker room when a mysterious assailant sprung from behind the curtains and struck Kerrigan under the right kneecap with a metal baton before fleeing.

Television cameras captured Kerrigan grabbing her knee and leg crying out, “Why? Why? Why?” Danial Kerrigan, her father, carried his injured daughter away.

Tonya Harding

Tonya Harding

The attack forced Kerrigan out of the competition. Her rival Tonya Harding won the event, but the FBI soon revealed Harding’s ex-husband, Jeff Gillooly, was the mastermind behind the attack. Gillooly plead guilty before the Winter Olympics, and three other men were arrested for their roles in the conspiracy to hurt Kerrigan.

Harding denied having full knowledge of the assault on Kerrigan.

“I am responsible, however, for failing to report things I learned about the assault,” Harding said.

Harding made the Olympic team, and skating officials granted Kerrigan a spot on the squad, too. Kerrigan recovered from her injury, setting up a rematch that that the world was waiting for.

“Let me tell you, I’m going to whip her butt,” Harding told reporters.

Harding performed poorly at the Olympics, and Kerrigan ended up winning the Silver medal.

Harding later pleaded guilty to conspiracy to hinder prosecution for covering up the attack on Kerrigan. She was fined $100,000 and banned from amateur figure skating. In 2002, she was sentenced to 10 days in jail for drinking while on probation for a drunken-driving charge.

Tragedy struck Kerrigan again in 2010 when Kerrigan’s brother Mark was charged with killing their 70-year-old father during a violent argument. Mark was acquitted of murder but found guilty of assault and battery and sentenced to more than two years in prison.

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Comments

  1. Reblogged this on Brittius.com.

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