Truth & Lies: The Tonya Harding Special aired on ABC tonight and we were very, very there for it. With the release of the movie I, Tonya this December and the impending (and probably much less scandalous, but there’s still time) Winter Olympics this February, the time is right for once again bringing up one of the craziest stories in professional sports. If you aren’t familiar with the basic details of the Tonya Harding-Nancy Kerrigan figure skating/leg bashing scandal of 1994, please review here. And then join us as we give a run down of every crazy detail in Truth & Lies.
The special starts with accusations that Tonya’s mother was abusive.
NOW on @ABC: @ARobach interviews one-on-one with Olympic figure skater Tonya Harding in the 2-hour exclusive ‘Trut… https://t.co/6nVrITsjjZ— 20/20 (@20/20)1515722405.0
Comments like that make it hard not to kind of like Tonya in this special.
via: Getty ImagesShe’s funny. She seems calm and collected throughout the interview. At one point interviewer Amy Robach asks her if she cares what people think about her and Tonya sarcastically replies that she doesn’t, only to then roll her eyes and admit: of course she does. But at the same time she also doesn't seem very...sorry about what happened to Nancy. Maybe it's because it's been 23 years of America hating her, which honestly would be understandable, but she does kind of come off as a little chilly about the whole thing.
Despite her mother and against all odds, Tonya managed to become one of the best figure skaters in the country.For a time, Tonya was the only person in the country who had ever landed a triple axel in competition. The special shows the famous video of her landing it, as soon as she pulls it off, her face lights up and she throws her arms in the air. She has these thick, muscular legs that would give most of the annoying Crossfitters on your Facebook timeline a run for their money. It’s no wonder she can jump so high, spin so fast. But after that moment, according to Tonya, her life changed entirely. She says in the special, “Everything about life after that point became confusing."
Soon after, she met Jeff Gillooly, the man who would eventually plan the attack on Nancy Kerrigan.
via: Getty ImagesTonya says in the special that they met at the ice rink, where he would come to watch her skate. But things turned sour quickly. According to Tonya, he became abusive. She tells a story of the first time he hit her: when she bought nachos at a 7-11, he knocked them out of her hands, called her fat, and hit her across the face. “I didn’t have a pair of pants back then, I had a skating dress," says Tonya. Others in the special suspect that once Jeff started seeing money come in from Tonya’s skating, he became obsessed with making sure she was going to win. In the special, Tonya claims he once pointed a gun at himself, and then her, and pulled the trigger. He didn’t hit her, but she was scared for her life. But Tonya says, “Nobody believed me ever, for any abuse, ever."
The special also likes to point out that Tonya was a little bit irresponsible, she smoked cigarettes and arrived at the Olympics a week late in 1992.
via: Getty ImagesBut like, who hasn’t been 22 years old? Most of us could barely make it to Biology class on time at 22, much less France. And this was kind of the charm of Tonya Harding, she wasn't an ice princess, she was just like us. In the special she talks about how she hated wearing skating dresses, she would rather wear Levi's. She liked working on cars. She has an edgy double pierce.
In 1994, just before the Olympics, a man attacked Tonya's competitor Nancy Kerrigan as she was getting off the ice at a practice in Detroit.
I’m dying at this clip. Doesn’t this just sum it all up? #TonyaHarding #truthandlies 😒😬😒 https://t.co/WDTnnIvO4c— Crosby (@Crosby)1515725991.0
So after this is when things start to get really crazy.
This Tonya Harding special as both horrifying and fascinating at the same time and I can't look away. #TonyaHarding https://t.co/HnvAdBvO8H— Jay (@Jay)1515724529.0
What’s even more wild is that Tonya has to go home to Oregon to practice on her home rink, which if you remember, is located inside a shopping mall.So every time Tonya goes to practice, the entire mall is filled with people watching her including reporters, fans, and probably people who are like “wow, I picked a really bad time to go to Claire’s"
Then two weeks before the Olympics, Gillooly pleads guilty to assault charges and Tonya admits that she found out he was involved after Nancy was hit and didn’t say anything.
via: Getty ImagesBut because this is basically a movie, Tonya still goes to the Olympics in Norway. According to her, she felt she had every right to be there because she had earned it.
The girls compete and Nancy wears the same outfit she was attacked in!She breaks out the infamous white lace leotard and you better believe it was on purpose. (Or at least the people interviewed in the ABC Special do). Tonya doesn’t do much to help her image: she pulls off her microphone and leaves during an interview with Connie Chung.
When it’s Tonya’s turn to skate, she’s nowhere to be found.
<The clock starts ticking down, and if Tonya doesn’t show up, she’s going to be disqualified. I’m not making this up, this is really what happened. According to Tonya, her laces were malfunctioning. She runs out onto the ice seconds before she would be disqualified and starts skating but then her laces break (maybe? Or they are too short? It’s kind of unclear but something goes on with her laces) so she skates over to the judges and tells them, and they let her start over. She doesn’t do so hot. But Tonya says in the special, “I did the best I could under all the circumstances."
In an amazing twist, neither girl ends up winning the gold!
-Has Tonya Harding ever apologized to Nancy Kerrigan ?? -- Hello. Has Nancy Kerrigan ever apologized to Mickey Mous… https://t.co/Ke1bXKqEMG— BlackShoes Johnson (@BlackShoes Johnson)1515735874.0
Tonya ends up pleading guilty to hindering the prosecution after she returns home but not before an insane accusation based on trash.
via: ShutterstockA restaurant owner ends up finding a bag of trash in her dumpster that contains a handwritten note by Tonya with the name of Nancy’s practice facility on it, but it’s never proven that Tonya actually wrote it. According to her in the special, Tonya says it wasn’t her that wrote the note. Tonya ends up getting banned for life from figure skating, has a leaked sex tape, gets into boxing and wears an awesome shirt that says “No Comment". Life definitely wasn’t easy for Tonya once she got home. She became a national villain. But according to Tonya in the special, she doesn’t hold bad feelings for Nancy. She says, “She’s got her life, I’ve got my life, we both have wonderful lives and that should be all that matters."
But Tonya still skates!
#TonyaHarding is back on the ice. @abc tonight ⛸ https://t.co/OtlVyLgsyz— 20/20 (@20/20)1515699120.0
So...did she do it?
Nothing will ever bring me greater joy than this photo of Tonya Harding dodging a reporter while wearing a sweater… https://t.co/8HPx5uXLpu— keaton kilde (@keaton kilde)1512752773.0