Inside the Icy Tonya-Nancy Rivalry with Blossom’s Jenna von Oy | The 1990s: Totally Scandalous


IT’S JANUARY 6, 1994. ROBIN WILLIAMS’ PERFORMANCE
AS MRS. DOUBTFIRE IS ALL THE RAGE. HELLO! MARIAH CAREY’S “HERO” IS SOOTHING EAR CANALS
ACROSS AMERICA, AND A BELOVED FIGURE SKATER IS ABOUT TO GET HER LEG WHACKED
AND DREAMS NEARLY SHATTERED. HEY, GUYS, I’M TRACI STUMPF, AND THE ONLY THING I FIND
MORE TUBULAR THAN THE ’90s ARE THE CRIMES THAT HAPPENED
IN THE ’90s. SO, LET’S TALK
TO THE CELEBRITIES WHO LIVED THROUGH THEM. THIS IS “THE 1990’s:
TOTALLY SCANDALOUS.” TODAY WE’RE SKATING THROUGH
THE INSANITY OF TONYA HARDING AND THE CHEAP SHOT
AGAINST NANCY KERRIGAN. WHO BETTER TO TAKE US
THROUGH THIS SAGA THAN THE FAST-TALKING WOMAN WHO PLAYED SIX
ON THE HIT SHOW “BLOSSOM,” JENNA VON OY? MOM, I’M NOT
THAT KIND OF PERSON. IT’S LIKE WHEN YOU GO TO SCHOOL
AND EVERYBODY’S WEARING THE KIND OF CLOTHES
THAT YOU WANT, AND I DON’T HAVE
THAT KIND OF MONEY AND YOU DON’T HAVE
THAT KIND OF MONEY, AND NOW, WITH DAD GONE,
I MEAN, I’M NOT TRYING TO
BLAME THIS ON THE DIVORCE, BUT WE JUST DON’T HAVE
THAT KIND OF MONEY. TONYA AND NANCY
HAPPENED WHILE YOU WERE FILMING
“BLOSSOM.” IT KIND OF MAKES ME FEEL
A LITTLE OLD. OF COURSE, WITH, LIKE,
THE MOVIE COMING OUT, WITH “I, TONYA” COMING OUT
RECENTLY AND ALL OF THAT, IT SORT OF MAKES IT FEEL
LIKE IT WAS JUST YESTERDAY. YESTERDAY WAS REALLY,
IN ACTUALITY, QUITE A LONG TIME AGO
ALREADY. FIGURE SKATING WAS
THE FIRST WINTER SPORT TO APPEAR IN THE OLYMPICS, MAKING ITS DEBUT
IN THE SUMMER GAMES OF 1908. AND 86 YEARS LATER, IT ENDURED ONE OF THE MOST SCANDALOUS
MOMENTS IN SPORTS HISTORY. SO, WHERE WERE YOU WHEN YOU HEARD ABOUT THE WHACK
HEARD AROUND THE WORLD? I WAS PROBABLY
AT THE CRAFT SERVICE TABLE, CHUGGING COFFEE
AND EATING DOUGHNUTS AND GETTING ALL SUGARED UP
FOR MY FAST-TALKING STINT. HE TOLD NANCY WHO TOLD LISA
WHO TOLD SUSIE WHO TOLD ME THAT DENNIS TOLD
THE BOYS IN THE LOCKER ROOM THAT YOU AND HE HAD SEX
AT THE MOVIES THE OTHER NIGHT. WE WOULD, LIKE,
WATCH THE MONITOR ABOVE THE CRAFT SERVICE TABLE
AND CATCH ALL THE NEWS. IT STARTS WITH
RISING STAR NANCY KERRIGAN, BORN IN MASSACHUSETTS IN 1969. SHE STARTED SKATING
AT THE RIPE OLD AGE OF 6. ISN’T IT INSANE TO THINK THAT YOU’RE 6 YEARS OLD
AND HAVE A CAREER? YEAH, I STARTED ACTING
WHEN I WAS 6, SO I SORT OF SEE IT, BUT WHEN YOU MISS A TRIPLE AXEL,
LIKE, THAT’S IT, LIKE, NO OLYMPICS FOR YOU,
YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN? WHEN I MISS A LINE,
WE GET TO RE-FILM THE SCENE, AND IT STILL ENDS UP
ON THE AIR. BY 9, SHE WON THE BOSTON OPEN, AND IN 1992, SHE WON THE BRONZE
FOR THE OLYMPIC GAMES. BUT SHE HAD A RIVAL — A SKATER THAT
THE AMERICAN PUBLIC HAD NEVER SEEN BEFORE. Woman: TONYA HARDING! BORN IN 1970 AND RAISED
IN PORTLAND, OREGON, SHE BEGAN SKATING
AT THE AGE OF 3. COULD SHE TIE HER SKATES AT 3,
IS MY QUESTION. -EXACTLY.
-WAS SHE SKATING BECAUSE SOMEONE SAID,
YOU KNOW, “I’LL GIVE YOU AN ELMO
IF YOU DO A TRIPLE AXEL”? LIKE, YOU NEVER KNOW. TONYA WASN’T
YOUR TYPICAL FIGURE SKATER. SHE DIDN’T COME FROM MONEY, SO HER MOM PUT A TON
OF PRESSURE ON HER SUCCESS. TONYA’S UPBRINGING RESULTED IN HER BECOMING
AN UNCONVENTIONAL SKATER, SHOCKING JUDGES WITH HER UNIQUE
WARDROBE AND MUSIC CHOICES, AND TONYA PUT IT ALL
INTO GETTING THAT GOLD. TONYA DROPS OUT
OF SCHOOL TO DEDICATE HER ENTIRE LIFE
TO SKATING. THAT’S PUTTING ALL OF YOUR EGGS
IN ONE BASKET. HOW DO YOU FEEL
ABOUT THAT? WHEN YOU’RE
ON A CAREER PATH WHERE YOU KNOW THAT THERE IS
A WAY TO BE SUCCESSFUL AND THAT EVERYBODY
IS ENCOURAGING YOU TO FOLLOW THAT PATH, EVERYBODY’S DREAM
AND YOUR DREAM, I THINK,
SOMETIMES START TO MERGE. TONYA’S HARD WORK PAID OFF,
AND SHE PLACED NUMBER ONE AT THE INTERNATIONAL
SKATE AMERICA COMPETITION. AND TWO YEARS LATER,
NOT ONLY DID SHE BECOME THE FIRST AMERICAN WOMAN TO LAND
THE TRIPLE AXEL IN COMPETITION, SHE DID IT TWICE! Von Oy: ICE SKATING HAD KIND OF
NEVER REALLY SEEN ANYONE QUITE LIKE HER. LIKE, SHE WAS A LITTLE BIT
ROUGH AROUND THE EDGES. OF COURSE, SHE WAS
GRACEFUL ON THE ICE, BUT SORT OF OFF THE ICE,
THERE WAS THIS VERY EDGY, OTHER-SIDE-OF-THE-TRACKS
FEEL TO HER THAT WE’D NEVER SEEN. OVER THE NEXT TWO YEARS, BOTH SKATERS ARE COMPLETELY
FOCUSED ON ONE THING — THE 1994 NORWAY OLYMPICS. WELL, TONYA’S ACTUALLY
KIND OF FOCUSED ON TWO THINGS — THE OLYMPICS AND THIS GUY
NAMED JEFF GILLOOLY. MORE THAN A GUY.
SHE LOVED HIM. THEY HAD STARTED DATING
WHEN SHE WAS 17, AND WHEN THEY MARRIED
3 1/2 YEARS LATER, HE BECAME HER MANAGER. HE’S BY HER SIDE LEADING UP TO THE 1994 U.S. FIGURE SKATING
CHAMPIONSHIPS. THAT’S GONNA DETERMINE
WHO MAKES THE OLYMPIC TEAM. DO YOU UNDERSTAND
HOW BIG THIS IS? ALL RIGHT, IT’S JANUARY 6, 1994, AND NANCY IS COMING OFF THE ICE
FROM A PRACTICE SESSION WHEN THWACK! AN UNIDENTIFIED MAN
COMES FROM BEHIND NANCY AND HITS HER
OVER AND OVER AGAIN, RIGHT NEAR THE KNEE,
LEAVING HER SCREAMING… Kerrigan: WHY?! WHY?! I DON’T KNOW.
SOME HARD, HARD BLACK STICK. FEELS LIKE SOMETHING STRAIGHT OUT
OF “THE SOPRANOS.” YEAH, RIGHT, EXCEPT TONY SOPRANO
WOULD NEVER HAVE BOTCHED IT. THE MEDIA GOES NUTS. YOU REALLY COULDN’T
GO ANYWHERE WITHOUT THIS STORY BEING RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU,
RIGHT? LIKE, THE NEWS, TABLOIDS,
TALK SHOWS, “SNL.” -TONYA HARDING…
-TONYA HARDING…
-TONYA HARDING… I HAVE NOTHING TO SAY
ABOUT NANCY KERRIGAN. IT WAS EVERYWHERE.
DO YOU REMEMBER THAT? I DO. I MEAN, YOU GO
TO THE GROCERY STORE TO PICK UP A GALLON OF MILK,
NANCY AND TONYA. WE ALL SORT OF GET OBSESSIVE
ABOUT CONTROVERSY, AND THAT WAS A STAPLE. YEAH, THEY WERE THE OLD-SCHOOL
TAYLOR AND KANYE. SO, LUCKILY, THERE’S
NO PERMANENT DAMAGE, BUT NANCY STILL CAN’T COMPETE. WHO WINS THE CHAMPIONSHIPS AND GETS A SPOT COMPETING
IN THE OLYMPICS? TONYA HARDING. JUST A FEW DAYS
AFTER THE ATTACK, A PORTLAND MINISTER CLAIMS
HE HEARD A TAPE OF TWO MEN DISCUSSING THE HIT
WITH ANOTHER MAN. ONE WAS TONYA’S BODYGUARD,
SHAWN ECKARDT, AND THE OTHER,
A MAN NAMED JEFF GILLOOLY. AND THIS IS WHERE IT GETS JUICY. TONYA’S PERSONAL BODYGUARD
SHAWN ECKARDT CONFESSES TO THE CRIME, IMPLICATING GILLOOLY
AND TWO FRIENDS, AND THEY’RE ALL CHARGED WITH
CONSPIRACY TO ASSAULT KERRIGAN. AN FBI INVESTIGATIONS BEGINS, AND EVERYONE HAS
A DIFFERENT STORY. TONYA TALKS TO THE FEDS
AND BLAMES GILLOOLY, AND GILLOOLY THROWS TONYA
UNDER THE BUS AND SAYS THAT SHE KNEW ABOUT
THE WHOLE THING ALL ALONG. SO, TONYA RELEASES
A PRESS STATEMENT DENYING KNOWLEDGE OF THE ATTACK
AHEAD OF TIME. WITHIN THE NEXT FEW DAYS, I LEARNED THAT SOME PERSONS
THAT WERE CLOSE TO ME MAY HAVE BEEN INVOLVED. BUT THEN, THERE’S THE ENVELOPE. A RESTAURANT WORKER SEES
A PIECE OF PAPER WITH NANCY KERRIGAN’S
SKATING RINK ADDRESS ON IT, AND A HANDWRITING EXPERT SAYS
THAT IT’S TONYA’S HANDWRITING. DESPITE THE CONTROVERSY, TONYA IS STILL ALLOWED
TO COMPETE IN THE OLYMPICS, AND DUE TO
THE BIZARRE CIRCUMSTANCES, NANCY IS GIVEN A SPOT
TO COMPETE, AS WELL. AND WITH THE WHOLE WORLD
WATCHING, THE TWO GO FOR THE GOLD. TONYA PERFORMS FIRST,
AND, DUH, THERE’S DRAMA. BUT NANCY, ON THE OTHER HAND, PERFORMS A BEAUTIFUL PROGRAM,
SCORING HER THE SILVER. AND TONYA, WELL,
A LESS RESPECTABLE EIGHTH PLACE, BUT STILL BEAUTIFUL. IN MARCH, TONYA PLEADS GUILTY TO NOT FULLY COOPERATING
WITH THE POLICE AFTER THE ATTACK AND IS SENTENCED
TO THREE YEARS’ PROBATION, 500 HOURS OF COMMUNITY SERVICE, AND A $160,000 FINE. AND WORST OF ALL,
SHE’S STRIPPED OF ALL HER TITLES AND PERMANENTLY BANNED
FROM FIGURE SKATING FOREVER. AND TO THIS DAY, SHE MAINTAINS SHE KNEW NOTHING
ABOUT THE ATTACKS BEFOREHAND. WHILE TONYA
HASN’T MADE HEADLINES FOR FIGURE SKATING EVER SINCE, SHE DIDN’T LEAVE THE PUBLIC EYE. IN ’94, PENTHOUSE DISTRIBUTED AN OLD
GILLOOLY-HARDING SEX TAPE. TONYA WENT ON TO HAVE A BRIEF
CAREER AS A PROFESSIONAL BOXER, AND APPEARED
ON A VARIETY OF TV SHOWS. HI.
I’M TONYA HARDING, I’M FROM PORTLAND, OREGON,
AND I’M PLAYING FOR NOVA. WE’VE ALL FALLEN ON HARD TIMES
IN OUR LIVES. WE’VE ALL BEEN IN A POSITION
WHERE THE CHOICES WE MADE WERE THE BEST CHOICES
IN THAT MOMENT. YOU KNOW, I RESPECT THE FACT
THAT SHE KNOWS WHAT HER NICHE IS AND SHE’S USING IT
TO CONTINUE MOVING FORWARD, WHATEVER
THAT LOOKS LIKE. NANCY, ON THE OTHER HAND, HAS A FRUITFUL FUTURE
AS AMERICA’S SWEETHEART. SHE TOURS AND PERFORMS
WITH CHAMPIONS ON ICE, BROADWAY ON ICE,
AND “DANCING WITH THE STARS.” BUT EVEN SHE CAN’T ESCAPE
THE MEDIA GLARE. AT A DISNEY WORLD PARADE, SHE’S CAUGHT ON MIC
SUPPOSEDLY DISSING MICKEY MOUSE. JUST BECAUSE YOU’RE PERCEIVED
AS THE GIRL NEXT DOOR DOESN’T MEAN THAT YOU DON’T
HAVE FLAWS AND IMPERFECTIONS LIKE EVERYONE ELSE. AND THEN, JUST LAST YEAR,
THE STORY GETS A SECOND LIFE WHEN THE MOVIE “I, TONYA”
IS RELEASED, AND IT’S NOMINATED
FOR THREE OSCARS. TONYA HARDING’S
BACK IN THE SPOTLIGHT, WALKING THE RED CARPET
AT THE GOLDEN GLOBES. FINALLY, A MOMENT OF TRIUMPH AFTER MORE THAN TWO DECADES
OF HARD KNOCKS. THIS STORY WAS INSANE. IT WAS EVERYWHERE. WHY WAS EVERYBODY
SO OBSESSED WITH THIS? WELL, I MEAN,
IT HAD EVERYTHING, RIGHT? LIKE, THE JEALOUSY,
THE AMBITION, THE REVENGE,
THE SEQUINS. [ Laughing ] I MEAN, THERE WAS,
LIKE, SO MANY SEQUINS. I THINK THE LESSON,
JUST IN A SINGLE WORD, IS PERSEVERANCE. BOTH OF THEM ARE DOING
EVERYTHING THAT THEY CAN TO RISE ABOVE
THAT SITUATION, TO CREATE THE BEST OUT OF
THEIR LIFE THAT THEY CAN. THANK YOU SO MUCH
FOR COMING ON AND DOING THIS. YOUR STORIES ABOUT “BLOSSOM”
WERE SO GREAT, AND YOU’RE SO CHARMING
AND LOVELY. AND I REALLY
APPRECIATE IT. SHE CALLED ME CHARMING! [ LAUGHS ]

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