Whatever happened to Nancy Kerrigan ?

Nancy Kerrigan was the famous figure skater many white ice skates ago. Until that incident. You know the one that I’m talking about, don’t you ? Well, know the entire saga waga is going to become a movie. That’s right. And guess who’s playing the adversary Tonya Harding. I’ll give you a hint. She is an Australian actress who was in Neighbours t.v. series. She recently got married. In my opinion she looks nothing like Tonya Harding. They give her padding for body fat and change her appearance quite drastically. It’s a juicy role to play. But Tonya’s story is not cut and dry either. More on that later…

January 1994 attack

On January 6, 1994 at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Detroit, Kerrigan gained international fame far beyond the skating world. …….As she was walking through a corridor at the Cobo Arena immediately after a practice session, Kerrigan was clubbed on the right knee with a police baton by assailant Shane Stant. The assault was planned by rival Tonya Harding’s ex-husband Jeff Gillooly and co-conspirator Shawn Eckardt (1967–2007). The incident became known as The Whack Heard Round the World.

“Why?” “Why?” “Why?”

Afterwards the attack was recorded on a TV camera and broadcast around the world. ….The initial  television footage shows the attendants helping Kerrigan as she grabbed at her knee wailing: “Why, why, why?” Kerrigan is also seen being carried away by her father Daniel. Although Kerrigan’s injury forced her to withdraw from the U.S. Championships, her fellow skaters agreed that she merited one of the two spots on the Olympic team. The USFSA chose to name her to the Olympic team rather than second-place finisher Michelle Kwan who was sent to Lillehammer as an alternate in the event that Harding was removed from the team.

Kerrigan recovered quite quickly from her knee injury and resumed her intensive training. She practiced by doing complete back-to-back double runs-through of her programs, until she felt completely confident in her ability to compete under pressure. The fame that stemmed from the incident led to further opportunities; it was reported that she had already signed endorsement contracts for $9.5 million before the Olympics began.

Her life after her skating career.

What followed were some personal struggles. Kerrigan struggled with anorexia which is  sadly not uncommon illness amongst figure skaters. She also struggled with fertility but does have three healthy children and is happily married. Tonya Harding’s aftermath is far more tragic but that can be explored another time.

Family woes.

Kerrigan’s father died at age 70 on January 24, 2010,allegedly due to a violent struggle with his son Mark in a dispute over the use of a telephone. Prosecutors said Mark was in a drunken rage when he choked his father during the incident; he was charged with manslaughter in connection with the death. The family said her father died of a long-standing heart condition. ….Nancy called the allegation of homicide unjustified and said she would defend her beloved brother Mark. She and her mother appeared on a joint witness list to possibly testify at his trial, which was due to begin on May 13, 2011. On May 25, 2011, Mark was acquitted of manslaughter but found guilty of assault and battery by a Middlesex County jury. He was sentenced to 2½ years in prison with six months suspended sentence.

Tonya Harding (left) on right is Nancy Kerrigan.

The Movie.

I, Tonya (2018)

Competitive ice skater Tonya Harding rises among the ranks at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, but her future in the sport is thrown into doubt when her boyfriend intervenes.


Legal eagle notes ….

Manslaughter – “the crime of killing a human being without malice aforethought, or otherwise in circumstances not amounting to murder”

A guilty act’ – The prohibited conduct or behaviour that the law seeks to prevent. Although commonly referred to as the “guilty act” this is rather simplistic, as the actus reus includes all the aspects of the crime except the accused’s mental state (see mens rea). In most cases the actus reus will simply be an act (e.g. appropriation of property is the act of theft) accompanied by specified circumstances (e.g. that the property belongs to another). Sometimes, however, the actus reus may be an omission to act (e.g. failure to prevent death may be the actus reus of manslaughter: R v Stone and Dobinson [1977] QB 354) or it may include a specified consequence (death resulting being the consequence required for the actus reus of murder or manslaughter).

Mens rea

‘A guilty mind’ – The state of mind that the prosecution must prove a defendant to have had at the time of committing a crime in order to secure a conviction. Mens rea varies from crime to crime; it is either defined in the statute creating the crime or established by precedent. Common examples of mens rea are intention to bring about a particular consequence, recklessness as to whether such consequences may come about (R v Cunningham [1957] 2 QB 396), and (for a few crimes) negligence. Some crimes require knowledge of certain circumstances as part of the mens rea (for example, the crime of receiving stolen goods requires the knowledge that they were stolen). Some crimes require no mens rea; these are known as crimes of strict liability. Whenever mens rea is required, the prosecution must prove that it existed at the same time as the actus reus of the crime (coincidence of actus reus and mens rea: R v Le Brun [1992] QB 61). A defendant cannot plead ignorance of the law, nor is a good motive a defence. He may, however, bring evidence to show that he had no mens rea for the crime he is charged with; alternatively, he may admit that he had mens rea, but raise a general defence (e.g. duress) or a particular defence allowed in relation to the crime.


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