Tonya Harding Starts A Figure Skating Feud: Wake-Up Video

The 2010 Winter Olympics are right around the corner (opening ceremonies kick off in Vancouver on February 12), and today recalls one of the more bizarre and sad moments in Olympic history. On this day in 1994, figure skater Nancy Kerrigan was attacked by a then-unknown assailant. Following a press event in Detroit, Kerrigan was struck on the knee and fell to the ground (the piece of video of the skater clutching her leg and shouting "Why?" would have been the biggest viral clip in the universe had YouTube existed 16 years ago). Police discovered the attacker was a man named Jeff Gillooly, who happened to be the ex-husband of fellow skater and 1994 U.S. Champion Tonya Harding.

In the subsequent months, the conspiracy unfolded. Kerrigan was thought to be the best skater the U.S. had to offer at the Olympics that year (she ended up finishing with a silver medal), and Harding was in on the conspiracy to take her out of the equation. Harding ended up competing in the Olympics and came in eighth overall. (Her performance sparked another memorable moment when the lace of her skate broke and she tearfully demanded that she be allowed to restart her long form routine.)

Harding was later punished for her involvement in the attack on Kerrigan, sentenced to three years of probation, 500 hours of community service and a $100,000 fine. Since then, her life has devolved into a series of fame-grabbing clichés (though she did have a sex tape before that was cool), while Kerrigan has quietly retired from skating (though she still occasionally pops up at events). The whole sad scenario can best be described by the Brian Jonestown Massacre's excellent tune "When Jokers Attack."