RUSH: “Just weeks before the 1994 Winter Olympic Games in Lillehammer, figure-skating darling Nancy Kerrigan was whacked on the knee by an unknown assailant wielding a club,” shortly after a practice session on the ice. She was coming off the ice, and the assailant ran up and whacked her on the knee, injuring her severely.
This “attack later revealed to have been plotted by the husband of Kerrigan’s rival, Tonya Harding. The tabloid-ready story had all the hallmarks of a soap opera: A classically beautiful brunette from the Northeast,” very aristocratic-looking, Kerrigan — and then you had on the other side, Tonya Harding, “trailer trash.” Well, that’s what the Northeastern sect would think. A “scrappy blonde tomboy from the wrong side of the tracks ” is how ESPN describes her.
“A back-stabbing plot to literally eliminate the competition. And six weeks for Kerrigan to come back from her injury and go for Olympic gold against Harding.” So 20 years later, “Price of Gold, a documentary premiering 9 p.m. Thursday on ESPN, is taking a new look at the scandal so bizarre that nothing in sports has topped it since. ‘Occasionally athletes try to injure a competitor on the field, but it certainly never happens off the field,’ says Price of Gold director Nannette Burstein.
“‘For it to have occurred in a sport that’s all about grace and poise and beauty seemed particularly shocking.'” Now, if you were gonna do a documentary on this episode, upon whom would you focus? If you’re gonna pick one (if you’re not gonna focus on both of them, if you’re gonna pick one), who would you focus on? (interruption) You would? You would focus on the perp? (interruption) Well, okay, that’s what they’re doing.
“Price of Gold features new interviews with Harding — now 43 and remarried with a son — as well as journalists who covered the story at the time, including Connie Chung and … coaches for both Kerrigan and Harding and Kerrigan’s husband/manager, Jerry Solomon. Burstein edited the film to focus on Harding — her abusive mother, her outcast status in the sport — even while thinking she might get a sit-down with Kerrigan, which didn’t fall through until the last minute.
“(Kerrigan will break her 20-year silence on the topic in an NBC documentary airing during the network’s coverage of the 2014 Sochi Olympics. …) ‘I had always intended for it to be much more focused on Tonya because I think her story was far more complicated,’ she says. ‘Nancy has an admirable story — she was injured and had six weeks to come back from that injury with a media maelstrom and actually win the silver medal. But beyond that narrative, there’s not a lot more to say.'”
Well, I’m sorry. That just strikes me as a little strange, and let me see if I can explain why. Okay, so you have this described here: Kerrigan is admirable. She was injured. She had six weeks to come back. (paraphrased) “Nothing to see here. Instead, let’s focus on Tonya Harding.” Okay, fine. Well, why was she injured? This is like the Menendez jury acquitting the brothers of murder because they weren’t gonna have their mother anymore.
The juror was asked about it, a woman juror. She said, “It’s so sad. Don’t you think? They’re gonna have the rest of their lives without their mother!”
“Yeah, they’re not gonna have their mother because they killed their mother!”
So Kerrigan, I guess, is boring. She’s just minding her own business, she’s out training, and some thug associated with Harding comes up, blasts her knee, and causes her a six-week injury. Nothing to see there. Let’s go focus on Tonya Harding. There’s not really anything to the Kerrigan story. Really? The Kerrigan story is what makes the documentary. If something hadn’t happened to Kerrigan, there wouldn’t be a reason to do the documentary, right? I don’t mean to make too big a deal out of this.
To me, it’s a media study, folks. It’s simply a media study, and what’s amazing about it is that the left-wing media is focused on victims everywhere they can find ’em in our culture. And, in this case, they’re making Tonya Harding a victim, apparently. “Wrong side of the tracks,” (paraphrased) “rough cut, really had no business being in the skating business. She wasn’t nearly classy enough, and…”
It’s a minor little point. That’s all I’m gonna say about it. As I say, it’s media study to me. The victim, the real victim here is considered not interesting enough to spend any time on. (paraphrased) “Yeah, she’s skating. Yeah, she got her knee beat up. Yeah, it was a six-week injury. Yeah, she had to come back from it for the Olympics. Eh, nothing to see here. Instead, we’re gonna focus on Harding.”