Last week's U.S. Figure Skating Championships lacked the backstage drama of the same event in 1994, when Nancy Kerrigan was bashed in the knees and rival TONYA HARDING was implicated in the strange attack--a story that threatened to overshadow the skating as the Olympics loomed.
The Jan. 6 attack on skater Nancy Kerrigan was shocking and chilling enough. But when the rumblings began that Harding or her entourage might somehow be involved, a grimly familiar tale of random violence turned into something far more gothic. Even people without the faintest interest in the crystalline world of figure skating could not help marveling at the spectacle. Did the scrappy girl from the trailer parks, who has climbed so high and suffered so much, possibly plot to destroy her rival? Or did her violently jealous husband assemble a gang of goons to act without her knowledge but on her behalf?...And if Tonya Harding turns out to be innocent, how searing must it be that more than a few people could imagine her guilt?...Tonya Harding is not--nor has she ever been--like most skaters. She is neither politic nor polished, sociable nor sophisticated. Instead, she is the bead of raw sweat in a field of dainty perspirers; the asthmatic who heaves uncontrollably while others pant prettily; the pool-playing, drag-racing, trash-talking bad girl of a sport that thrives on illusion and politesse.
--TIME, Jan. 24, 1994