It must be very hard for a millennial to understand the fuss around the Nancy Kerrigan
and Tonya Harding
figure skating scandal in the run-up to the 1994 Olympics.
If you're of a certain age, though - whether you're a figure skating fan or not, and I am decidedly no fan of figure skating - the Shakespearean story of Harding and Kerrigan still engages, and still grabs peoples' attention, twenty years later.
Why, though? Why, twenty years later, in a sport I care little, does the story still grab me? Why did I spend time out of my life watching dueling NBC and ESPN documentaries on the subject, and Google multiple stories about Jeff Gilooly
, idiot "bodyguards", and the whole sordid affair?
I think it's because the story, even twenty years later, is like opium.
The addictive story, even now, has everything. Everything. The woman that fought for everything, perhaps crossing over to the dark side to get her chance at Olypic Gold, vs. the woman who, despite her pleas to the contrary, had a well-financed team behind her, especially in the run-up to the Olympics.
A mysterious crime that still isn't completely solved. Idiot criminals. Shakespearean tragedy. Icy rivalry. Flawed heroes. Heroic feats of athleticism. Recovery from tragedy - and a triumph against all odds. There's even a twist of an ending to the story, mired in the weird politics of figure skating judges.
The real tragedy, though, is in the two women - still trapped in the narrative, twenty years later, perhaps never to fully emerge from it. Read more »