Nancy Kerrigan (born Nancy Ann Kerrigan on October 13, 1969) is a former American figure skater.
She won bronze medals at the 1991 World Championships and the 1992 Winter Olympics, silver medals at the 1992 World Championships and the 1994 Winter Olympics, and was the 1993 US National Figure Skating Champion.
In January of 1994, Nancy was assaulted by an assailant hired by the ex-husband of figure skater Tonya Harding, but recovered in time to compete at the 1994 Winter Olympics where she won a silver medal.
Nancy began figure skating when she was 6 years old, but didn't start taking private lessons until she was 8. At the age of 9, she won her first competition.
She was coached by Theresa Martin until she was 16 years old and then began working with Evy & Mary Scotvold after a brief period with Denise Morrissey; the Scotvolds remained Nancy's coaches through the rest of her competitive career.
Nancy began to reach prominence at the national level when she placed fourth at the junior level at the 1987 U.S. Figure Skating Championships. She made an early impression as a strong jumper, but was comparatively weak in compulsory figures.
She made her senior debut the following season, moving up the national rankings each year: 12th in 1988, fifth in 1989, and fourth in 1990.
Nancy continued to be held back by compulsory figures until they were eliminated from competitions after the 1990 season.
Nancy's rise at the national level continued when she placed third at the 1991 U.S. Figure Skating Championships. She qualified for the 1991 World Figure Skating Championships, where she won the bronze medal.
In the 1992 season, Nancy again improved on her placement at the previous year's national championships by finishing second. She won a bronze medal (Yamaguchi took the gold) in the 1992 Winter Olympics and earned the silver medal at the 1992 World Championships.
The following season (with Yamaguchi retired from eligible competition), Nancy became United States champion, even though her performance was flawed. She admitted that she would have to improve her skating in time for the World Championships.
Nancy won the short program at the World Championships in Prague, but had a disastrous free skate that resulted in her tumbling to fifth in the standings.
This was followed by an even worse performance at a televised pro-am event, where she fell three times, botched the landing of another jump, and appeared dazed and depressed, losing to 1988 Olympian Caryn Kadavy.
Before and after the 1992 Olympics, Nancy had many corporate sponsorship contracts (with companies such as Campbell's Soup, Evian, Reebok & Seiko) and opportunities to perform professionally, which were permitted after the International Skating Union abolished the earlier strict amateur status rules that had governed eligibility for the sport.
In preparation for the 1994 Winter Olympics, Nancy curtailed these activities to focus on her training, instead. She also began working with a sports psychologist to learn how to handle her nerves in competition.
On January 6, 1994, at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Detroit, Nancy was walking through a corridor at Cobo Arena immediately after a practice session and was bludgeoned on the right lower thigh with a police baton by an assailant who was later apprehended & identified as Shane Stant. The assault was planned by rival Tonya Harding's ex-husband Jeff Gillooly and co-conspirator Shawn Eckardt.
The immediate aftermath of the attack was recorded on a TV camera and broadcast around the world.
The initial footage shows the attendants helping Nancy as she grabbed at her knee, wailing: "Why, why, why?" and is also seen being carried away by her father, Daniel.
Although Nancy'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.
Nancy recovered quickly from her leg injury and resumed her intensive training. She practiced by doing complete back-to-back, double run-throughs of her programs until she felt completely confident in her ability to compete under pressure.
The fame she had acquired from the attack led to further opportunities; she was reported to have already signed endorsement contracts for $9.5 million before the Olympics began.
Harding denied any involvement in the planning of the attack, but she pleaded guilty to conspiring to hinder the prosecution. She received three years probation, was ordered to perform 500 hours of community service and was given a $100,000 fine.
In late 2005, Nancy expressed objections to Shane Stant's wishes to have the attack removed from his record so he could join the Navy SEALs (which do not allow anyone with a felony conviction to join).
Nancy stated in a letter dated November 25, 2005, that "to allow Stant to have the attack removed from his record would not only be an insult to her, but it [also] would send the message that a crime like that can ultimately be swept under the rug".
Stant's request had already been denied by a judge, saying that it's against the law to expunge an assault conviction. furthermore, one must be aged 28 or younger to join, even with no felony convictions; Stant was 34 years old when he tried to remove the attack from his record.
1994 Winter OlympicsEdit
The ladies single skating event at the 1994 Lillehammer Winter Olympics at the Hamar Olympic Amphitheatre took place seven weeks after the attack, and Nancy skated what she considered to be the best two performances of her life in the short program and free skate.
She won the silver medal, finishing second to Oksana Baiul and ahead of Chen Lu, who took the bronze medal, as Tonya Harding finished in eighth place amid controversy; Harding had trouble with the laces on her skates and was given a reskate by the judges.
Nancy was in first place after the short program, but she lost the free skate and the gold medal to Baiul in a close and controversial 5–4 decision.
CBS Television played up the controversy by portraying it as a Cold War East-West split, singling out German judge Jan Hoffmann in particular for supposed biased judging.
Nancy appeared to display dissatisfaction and disappointment with her second-place finish.
While she and Lu waited over 20 minutes for Olympic officials to find a copy of the Ukrainian national anthem, someone mistakenly told Nancy the delay in the presentation was because Baiul had cried off her make-up and was getting it retouched. Nancy (with obvious frustration) was caught on-camera saying, "Oh, come on. So she's going to get out here and cry again. What's the difference?"
CBS chose to air the undiplomatic comment; this marked a distinct shift in the way Nancy was portrayed in the media, which had been somewhat protective of her image up to that point because of the attack against her.
Nancy elected not to attend the closing ceremonies at the Olympics; her agent claimed this was because Norwegian security had advised her to leave due to death threats that had been made against her, but this was later denied.
Instead, she left Norway early to participate in a prearranged publicity parade at Walt Disney World, her $2-million sponsor.
1994 Walt Disney World ParadeEdit
During the Walt Disney World parade in which she participated following the 1994 Winter Olympics, Nancy was caught on microphone saying to Mickey Mouse, "This is dumb. I hate it. This is the corniest thing I have ever done."
She later claimed her remark was taken out of context and that she was not commenting on being in the parade, but rather on her agent's insistence that she wear her silver medal in the parade.
Nancy said that her parents had always taught her not to show off or brag about her accomplishments. She added that she had nothing against Disney or Mickey Mouse: "Who could find fault with Mickey Mouse? He's the greatest mouse I've ever known."
Commenting on the media backlash, Mike Barnicle of The Boston Globe said, "Now the thing is over so we've got to kill her. That's us [the media], not her."
Either because of the bad publicity or her own inclinations, some of Nancy's previously announced endorsements and television deals were dropped after the Olympics.
Nancy retired from amateur competition after the Olympics. She appeared in a few professional competitions such as "Ice Wars", but focused her career on performing in a variety of ice shows.
She has appeared in "Champions on Ice", "Broadway on Ice" and an ice show adaptation of the musical "Footloose" among other productions.
In 2003, she became a national spokeswoman for Fight for Sight.
In 2017, Nancy was a contestant on the 24th season of ABC's "Dancing with the Stars" where she was eliminated 6th overall.
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Nancy's Olympic skating outfits were designed by noted fashion designer Vera Wang. Along with Christian Lacroix's designs for Surya Bonaly in 1992, Wang's designs marked a new trend toward couture in figure skating.
Nancy's white 1992 free-skating costume resembled a wedding dress with sheer illusion sleeves and a basketweave design on the bodice. Her 1994 Olympic dresses were also designed by Wang.
She wore another white dress trimmed with black velvet bands and sheer black sleeves for the original program and a champagne-colored dress set with 11,500 rhinestones for the free skate.
Wang donated those two dresses to Nancy, the values of which were estimated at $9,600 and $13,000, respectively.
In 2004, Nancy was inducted into the United States Figure Skating Hall of Fame.
She was also honored at Ice Theatre of New York's annual benefit gala in 2008.
Nancy is the youngest child and only daughter of Daniel and Brenda Kerrigan; Daniel was a welder and Brenda is a homemaker who is legally blind. She has two brothers: Michael and Mark, who played hockey. She is of English, Irish and German ancestry.
Her family was of modest means; her father sometimes worked three jobs to fund Nancy's skating career and also drove the ice resurfacer at the local rink in exchange for her lessons.
Nancy graduated from Stoneham High School and attended Emmanuel College in Boston to study business.
On September 9, 1995, she married her agent, Jerry Solomon and they have three children: son Matthew (born in 1996), son Brian (born in 2005) and daughter Nicole (born in 2008).
In April 2017, Nancy said that she had had six miscarriages while attempting to have her three children. She also said the miscarriages were "devastating" and "a strain on [my] marriage."
On January 24, 2010, Nancy's father, Daniel died at the age of 70; her brother, Mark was charged with manslaughter in Daniel's death, alleging that the death occurred as a result of a violent struggle between the two of them over the use of a telephone.
Nancy called the allegation of homicide unjustified and backed up the family's assertion that Daniel's death was a result of a long-standing heart condition.
On May 25, 2011, Mark was acquitted of manslaughter, but he was found guilty of assault and battery by a Middlesex County jury. He was sentenced to 2½ years in prison with six months suspended.