Tonya Harding

The year was 1994 and Tonya Harding was on top of the figure skating world, after winning the United States Figure Skating Championships. It was one of her best finish of her career, but she had take out the competition first to do so.

That competition was rival figure skater Nancy Kerrigan, who won the US Figure Skating Championships in 1993 and was a favorite to repeat in 1994. Kerrigan had to pull out of the competition with a injury to her landing knee, after being attacked by an unknown assailant.

According to Kerrigan the assailant, was a man who ran passed her and struck her with a police baton. Later on, that man was identified as Shane Stant, who was hired by Harding’s body guard Shawn Eckardt and Harding’s ex-husband Jeff Gillooly.

According to article by Matt Crossman of Bleacher Report, Stant and his uncle Derrick Smith met with Eckardt and Gillooly, then they were told by Gillooly to attack Kerrigan’s landing leg.

Originally both Gillooly and Harding both denied they had any involvement in the attack on Kerrigan. That all changed on January 14, when Eckhardt confesses to the FBI, his involvement in the attack and rats out Gillooly, Smith and Stant.

According to Jay Maeder and Mark Mooney of the New York Daily News, Gillooly said that Harding signed off on the attack and said “Okay, lets do it.”

In a interview with Diane Sawyer, Harding claimed she had nothing to do with the attack, but did apologize to Kerrigan for the attack and took the blame for not reporting the crime sooner.

While this was happening, the US Figure Skating Association determined that Harding will be allowed to compete in the 1994 Winter Olympics in Norway. She was not alone as Kerrigan was invited to the US team as well.

Things did not go well for Harding, she finished in 8th place, while Kerrigan got the silver medal. Then on March 16, 1994, Harding omitted to having a role in the attack on Kerrigan and pled guilty to Conspiracy to hinder prosecution.

Harding then was then sentenced to three years of probation and a $160,000 fine, and the USFA stripped her of the 1994 US Figure Skating title. Which seems like a slap on the wrist for some one who conspired to have some physically hurt.

Lets just say if you want to charge her just for Attempted Assault, says the lowest possible time someone can serve for attempted assault is six months.

Which would of been a little light for the crime she committed, but still six months would of been better than three years of probation. How many non athletes get that offer, maybe a few but not everyone.

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