Tonya Harding has done her best to avoid the limelight over the past decade, and on Wednesday morning she was photographed sitting outside her Washington home smoking a cigarette and drinking some coffee.
The former figure skater ventured outside in a pair of Mickey Mouse pajama pants and slip-on shoes, while keeping herself warm in a fleece-lined plaid coat.
Harding, who was sitting on a foldout chair just a few feet away from a sign in her window that read ‘No Trespassing,’ seemed less than thrilled to see the photographer outside her home.
There was also a scrap metal sign that featured an outline of a Sasquatch and said ‘Gone Squatch’n.’
Harding has not skated competitively in 23 years, ever since she admitted in court to knowing about her ex-husband’s plot to try and break the leg of rival Nancy Kerrigan in a bid to keep her from participating in the 1994 Winter Olympics.
The sighting of the former US champion comes as filming has gotten underway on the new movie ‘I, Tonya’ in which Margot Robbie will play Harding.
That film will also star Allison Janney as Harding’s mother LaVona Golden and Sebastian Stan as Harding’s ex-husband Jeff Gillooly.
She is currently married to Joseph Price and the couple have a son Alex.
Harding, 46, arrived on the figure skating scene in a big way in the late 1980s, which all culminated in her first place finish at the 1991 US Figure Skating Championship.
It was that same year that Harding made history by becoming the first woman to complete a triple axel in the short program.
Her skating did not have the grace that many others had at the time, but she was considered one of the most powerful jumpers to ever compete.
The following year her success continued when she finished in fourth place at the Winter Olympics, behind Kristi Yamaguchi of the United States, Midori Ito of Japan and Nancy Kerrigan.
Yamaguchi retired soon after which made Harding’s biggest rival in the sport Kerrigan.
Then, just before the two were set to compete in the 1994 Olympics, Kerrigan was clubbed in the knee as she left a practice facility.
Kerrigan was practicing for the 1994 U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Detroit when she was attacked by Shane Stant.
It was later revealed that Stant had been hired by Gilloly and Harding’s bodyguard Shawn Eckhardt to break Kerrigan’s leg so she could not compete at the Olympics.
Harding denied ever having any knowledge of the situation and in the end Kerrigan recovered and won Silver at the Lillehammer Games, while Harding finished in eighth and left the sport in disgrace.
In March of that year, Harding pleaded guilty to conspiring to hinder prosecution of the attackers and was put on probation and ordered to perform community service.
Soon after, Harding was stripped her of her 1994 US Championship title and banned from participating in US Figure Skating Association events as either a skater or a coach for the rest of her life.
She would later write in her 2008 autobiography The Tonya Tapes that she wanted to notify the FBI of Gilloly’s plans, but he silenced her by allegedly gang raping her at gunpoint with two strangers.
In a 2014 interview, Kerrigan said that at the time she really wanted to believe Harding was not involved in the bizarre plot to destroy her career.
‘I truly wanted to believe that she had nothing to do with it at all,’ the 44-year-old said on Morning Joe.
‘Because how could that seem possible that someone you know, I mean we were competitors, but… we were friendly. So to think that anyone you know would deliberately try to hurt you, yeah, it’s too bizarre to understand.’
She later spoke abut how she was left in a complete state of disbelief.
‘I can remember saying even to the FBI, “Well, maybe Tonya really didn’t know. Maybe they did it for her.”‘ she recalled.
‘And they’re like, “Nancy, we can’t prove it, but we think she was the mastermind of the whole thing.”‘
At that point, she said she felt ‘disappointment, sadness.’ And while Harding still denies having any role, Kerrigan said she doesn’t believe her.
‘Why would the people around her want to hurt me? What did they have to gain? I guess she’s the only one who really had anything to gain. And I was told “I know we can’t prove it but we’re telling you. She did.” I hated hearing it. It stinks. It’s sad on so many levels,’ said Kerrigan.
When asked if she had forgiven Harding for what happened, she said she did not think about it much, especially since she is now a busy mom-of-three.
‘I don’t know. I don’t think about it really. When I read transcripts from the FBI, they planned to kill me at one point. That was one of the options. To kill me over a sporting event. That’s crazy,’ she said.
‘There were all these other brutal options that they were thinking about doing to me. I’ve moved on. I don’t think about it as forgiveness. I just hope she’s happy… and can be able to move on.’
SOURCE: Daily Mail – Chris Spargo