Nancy Kerrigan talks about 1994 attack, father’s death on TODAY

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Olympic figure skating silver medalist Nancy Kerrigan spoke about the attack on her before the 1994 Olympics and about her father’s death, in a rare interview, to Matt Lauer on TODAY.

Kerrigan, now 43, was clubbed on her right knee at a practice session in Detroit on Jan. 6, 1994.

Shane Stant, a man sent by Jeff Gillooly, the ex-husband of another figure skater, Tonya Harding, attacked Kerrigan at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships.

The oft-played video showed Kerrigan clutching her knee and crying, “Why? Why?”

“Watching anything sort of horrific, it’s disturbing to see anybody in pain,” Kerrigan said Friday. “To think it’s me …it’s a lifetime ago. It hurts to see anybody in such pain. It’s a long time ago. I just moved on.”

Kerrigan recovered in time for the 1994 Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway, seven weeks later and finished second to Ukraine’s Oksana Baiul in a close, controversial decision.

She said people still come up to her and say she should have won gold, or that they thought she won.

“I only got second place by .1 or something so I think a lot of people really thought I should’ve won, so 20 years later you just think, ‘Oh she must’ve won,'” Kerrigan said. “I was just happy with the performance and to even be able to go and compete again after being attacked. It was such a thrill to be part of an Olympic team again and to be able to represent our country.”

Kerrigan also spoke about the death of her father, Daniel, after an altercation with her brother, Mark, in January 2010. Mark was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison for assault and battery in connection with the death in June 2011.

The Kerrigan family has said Daniel died from a pre-existing heart condition, but a district attorney charged Mark with involuntary manslaughter.

“He shouldn’t have been charged,’’ Kerrigan said. “My dad had a heart attack and that’s that. Since then, we did the same thing we’ve always done — take things one thing at a time, and you get through it. Life’s challenging and hard, and we stick together and move on.”

Mark was released in 2012.

“He’s just getting on with his life,’’ Kerrigan said. “I’m sure not easy when it’s brought up like this because unfortunately being my (brother) it’s brought up again, which is really too bad for him because he wants to move on with his life.”

Kerrigan still does the occasional skating show, she said.

“I drive and cook and clean,” she told Lauer. “That’s basically what I do now.”

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Yuzuru Hanyu opens Olympic season with record score

Yuzuru Hanyu
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A sore knee didn’t hold Yuzuru Hanyu back. A record score to open his Olympic season.

The Olympic and world champion from Japan hit a pair of quadruple jumps in his short program at the Autumn Classic, a lower-level event in Montreal.

He was rewarded with 112.72 points, the highest short program score recorded under the 13-year-old judging system. Video is here.

It looked like a home competition for Hanyu.

Upon finishing, he bowed toward one set of bleachers (maybe a dozen rows) at the Sportsplexe Pierrefonds. More than two dozen Japanese flags made it hard to see most of the faces.

He bettered Javier Fernández, a two-time world champion and training partner, by 11.52 points. Fernández also landed two quadruple jumps to tally 101.2.

Full scores will be here upon the conclusion of the short program. The free skate is Saturday at 8 p.m. ET. A live stream is here.

Hanyu now owns the three highest short program scores under the 13-year-old system. The other two were set in the 2015-16 season.

Showdowns like Hanyu-Fernández are usually reserved for, at the earliest, the Grand Prix series in late October and November.

Hanyu and Fernández are very familiar with each other, having shared a coach in Canadian Brian Orser, the 1988 Olympic silver medalist, since 2012. They train in Toronto.

In that time, Hanyu became the first Japanese man to win an Olympic title (and the second teen from any nation to do it). He followed it up with world titles later in 2014 and this year.

Fernández achieved unfathomable success for a Spanish skater — world titles in 2015 and 2016, overtaking Hanyu in the free skate both times.

In PyeongChang, Hanyu can become the first man to repeat as Olympic champion since Dick Button in 1952. Fernández can become the third Spaniard to earn a Winter Olympic medal of any color in any sport, and the first since 1992.

The figure skating season continues next week with Nebelhorn Trophy in Germany, the final Olympic qualifying competition. North Korea could clinch its first spots in any sport for the Olympics in the pairs event.

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USOC letter assures Olympians about South Korea security

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The U.S. Olympic Committee’s security chief sent a letter to potential Winter Olympians saying there are no indications that recent developments between the U.S. and North Korea have compromised security in South Korea.

The letter, obtained by The Associated Press shortly after it was sent Friday, makes no suggestion that the U.S. is considering skipping the PyeongChang Winter Games for security reasons.

But Chief Security Officer Nicole Deal does write that provocations that have been volleyed between the United States and North Korea are likely to persist for the foreseeable future, and “should not be dismissed as insignificant nor feared as precursors of an inevitable conflict.”

The letter comes at the end of a week in which France’s sports minister suggested the country’s athletes would stay home if security could not be guaranteed.

The International Olympic Committee, trying to calm concerns, reiterated that in conversations with high-level officials in China and South Korea, none have expressed doubt about the Winter Games proceeding as scheduled, next February.

The USOC also sent out a public statement Friday from CEO Scott Blackmun.

“We will continue to work with our State Department and local organizers to ensure that our athletes, and our entire delegation, are safe,” he said.

The letter, sent to athletes, national governing bodies and other Olympic leaders in the United States, said the USOC’s security division is operating as “business as usual for our security planning and preparations.”

Deal writes that the USOC is reviewing crisis management plans that address a range of potential scenarios “to ensure our athletes, and our entire delegation, are safe.”

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