The true story of Tonya HardingFebruary 06, 2017

Margot Robbie's next project won't be a spin-off of "Suicide Squad", where the Harlequin could have all the big screen by herself. She would play Tonya Harding, the disgraced figure skater in "I, Tonya". Many saw the remarkable semblance. yet some wonderedr if her story was good enough for a biographical film. On the other hand, this was another proof of the public's obsession with celebrity.

Tonya Harding won the 1991 US Figure Skating Championships, but this wasn't her ticket to fame. She was the first American skater to do a triple axel jump, which involved three mid-air rotations. Anyone who thought otherwise hasn't seen the skaters performed on the rink. This was rather a tricky shot, as any skater pulling it would be certain of finishing on top of the podium. Midori Ito of Japan should know better, as she was the first female skater to achieve the feat. If she landed those triple axel jumps cleanly during the 1992 Winter Olympics, then she would have won the gold medal. (Kristi Yamaguchi finished on top instead.) Harding saw skating as her ticket out of poverty.

The diminutive Harding came from a working-class background, even didn't grow up in favourable circumstances. She might be forgiven, then, for not behaving like a true figure skater. (Think of Dorothy Hamill.) Whatever reputation she tried to build up was shattered during the eve of the 1994 US Figure Skating Championships. Nancy Kerrigan, her main rival, was practicing in the rink when a certain Shane Stant broke Kerrigan's right leg. It would have been a career-ending injury, but Kerrigan was lucky enough. She went on to compete in the 1994 Winter Olympics, winning the silver medal along the way. Harding qualified for the Olympiad, but what happened (between her and Kerrigan) affected her. (She was a distant eighth.) It turned out that Jeff Gillooly, Harding's ex-husband, hired Stant. She may knew it all along.

The case of Harding and Kerrigan became media fodder, but it raised the public profile of figure skating. It was often in the shadows of more popular sport (like football), while primetime soap opera was dull compared to the lurid saga involving Harding and Kerrigan. Harding might have salvaged her career by venturing into the lucrative professional tour, but the incident prompted organisers to prohibit her from joining past champions like Scott Hamilton. She tried her luck in boxing, but with little success. She had her personal demons, but Kerrigan wasn't any better.

It turned out that Kerrigan wasn't America's little darling, as her attitude during the Disney parade disappointed her fans. The native of Stoneham, Massachusetts, who was supposed to succeed Yamaguchi, lacked the spark during her free skate in Lillehammer. (Ukraine's Oksana Baiul skated her to the gold.) What happened between the two won't be repeated, which meant figure skating became a less-popular sport. There could be many questions behind this strange, if not conflicting, tale.

Did the case of Harding and Kerrigan led to reality TV? Not at all. It was rather unexpected, which was the reason behind the public obsession behind it. Did it give justice to figure skating? Perhaps ex-champions were hoping for another way. What would the current generation learn from it? Not much. Rivalry would be a common sight in sport, often encouraged by the powers to be. They needed the sport to sell, and human interest would be the right ingredient. It turned out that the Harding-Kerrigan case was out of bounds, even uncalled for. But they were laughing their way to the bank. It could happen again.

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