Jeff Gillooly – The Tonya Harding incident remains one of the most infamous and controversial events in the history of figure skating. Decades after the attack on Nancy Kerrigan, the truth behind the incident is still a topic of debate. In a recent ABC special, Tonya Harding admitted to overhearing conversations that suggested her ex-husband Jeff Gillooly and his friend, Shawn Eckardt, might have been involved in planning the attack. Despite Harding’s denial of any role in the planning, the incident continues to be scrutinized, especially with the recent release of the movie I, Tonya. Let’s take a closer look at the revelations and reactions surrounding this incident.

Tonya Harding’s Admission

In the ABC special, Truth and Lies: The Tonya Harding Story, Harding disclosed that she had overheard conversations between Gillooly and Eckardt, talking about “taking somebody out” to ensure her spot on the 1994 U.S. Olympic team. She claimed that it was only a few days after the incident that she began to suspect their involvement in the attack on Nancy Kerrigan. This admission sheds new light on the case and raises questions about the extent of Harding’s knowledge.

Harding’s Version vs. the Movie Portrayal

The release of I, Tonya, a biographical film that portrays Harding’s life, added another layer of complexity to the narrative. The movie presents a sympathetic view of Harding’s life and received critical acclaim. However, not everyone is pleased with the portrayal. Harding’s mother, LaVona “Sandy” Golden, expressed her indifference to the movie and its portrayal of her. The movie portrays Golden as a physically and mentally abusive mother, which she denies.

Kerrigan’s Response

Nancy Kerrigan, the victim of the attack, appeared in the ABC special and reacted strongly to a question about whether her popularity was owed to the attack. She emphasized that her Olympic medals were earned through hard work and that she would never wish harm upon anyone. Kerrigan’s response reflects her resilience and determination to be recognized for her achievements, rather than the incident that brought her into the spotlight.

Impact on U.S. Women’s Figure Skating

The incident undeniably had a significant impact on the world of figure skating, especially in the United States. Harding acknowledged that the incident contributed to the buzz surrounding U.S. women’s figure skating. While some may argue that it brought attention to the sport, it also left a dark stain on the reputation of figure skating.


The Tonya Harding incident continues to be a subject of fascination and scrutiny, with new revelations emerging even after decades have passed. Tonya Harding’s recent admission adds another dimension to the story, and the movie I, Tonya has brought the incident back into the public eye. The reactions from those involved, including Kerrigan and Harding’s mother, further highlight the complexities of the case. While the incident may have affected the world of figure skating, it is essential to remember the hard work and dedication of athletes like Nancy Kerrigan, whose accomplishments should be celebrated apart from the unfortunate events surrounding the attack.