Nancy Kerrigan

ESPN yet to convince Nancy Kerrigan to do interview for ‘Tonya and Nancy’ 30 for 30 documentary

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The ESPN documentary “Tonya and Nancy” might very well be missing Nancy.

It was first reported in May by Sports Illustrated that the network would produce a film as part of its 30 for 30 series looking back at the Jan. 6, 1994, incident where Nancy Kerrigan was whacked on the knee as part of a plot led by Tonya Harding‘s ex-husband.

The film then reportedly addresses the following six weeks of non-stop media coverage of the two figure skaters through the Lillehammer Olympics.

Kerrigan recovered to win silver behind Ukraine’s Oksana Baiul in 1994. Harding finished eighth.

Kerrigan, now 43, has largely stayed out of the media spotlight in the last 19 years. It’s no surprise she hasn’t been interviewed, though ESPN continues to try.

“Several people close to her have done interviews,” ESPN Films Vice President Connor Schell told the Television Critics Association summer meeting Wednesday, according to The Associated Press. “We’re still working to get Nancy and hope by November that we do.”

SI reported in May that the previous working title, “The Whack Heard Round The World,” was likely to be changed.

Filmmaker Nanette Burstein has already interviewed Harding, a fact Kerrigan has been made aware of, according to SI.

“[Harding] has such captivating and strong personality and is very outspoken and emotional about these issues and how it hugely affected her life,” Burstein said. “She wanted her story told but she also wanted this to be the last time she did it. She did not want to keep rehashing the story for years to come.”

ESPN continues its 30 for 30 series with another figure skating film, “The Diplomat,” on Aug. 6. The film is about two-time East German Olympic figure skating champion Katarina Witt amid the backdrop of the lead into the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Some Sochi Olympic champions will receive meteorite medals

Simone Biles returns to the gym, going from mental drain to physical pain

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For Simone Biles, this was supposed to be the stretch run of a legendary career.

Instead, she returned to her gym on May 18 with long-term thoughts of waiting 14 months until the Tokyo Olympics. And the immediate aches of a world-class gymnast who just missed nearly two months of regular training.

“After that amount of time off, it kind of sucks because your body hurts and then you get really sore,” Biles said in a pre-recorded ESPNW interview that aired Thursday. “So you just have to get back into the swing of things. But it felt nice to see my coaches, my teammates, and just to be back on the equipment and in the environment.”

In that same Texas gym three months ago, Biles had a far different outlook. One that would have put fear into any gymnast who still harbored ambition of ending her near-seven-year win streak.

“I never felt more ready this early in the season,” she said. “I was so ready for the Olympics to be this year.”

Biles repeated in interviews the last two months that the Olympic postponement to 2021 was devastating. Thoughts zig-zagged: How do I go on another year, at age 23, in a sport recently dominated by (but not limited to) teenagers?

“I’m getting pretty old,” she said in the interview published Thursday. “Will I be at the top of my game?”

Biles proved the last two years — after a year off — that she can win — and comfortably — while not at her best. She grabbed the 2018 World all-around title by a record margin — with two falls. Last year, she became the most decorated gymnast in world championships history. In Tokyo, she can become the first woman to repeat as Olympic all-around champion, and the only one older than 20, in more than 50 years.

This for a gymnast whose early goal was to earn a college scholarship. Biles did, to UCLA, but had to give it up by turning professional.

“So I’ve exceeded that,” Biles said. “And then I wanted to go to world championships and Olympics, and I’ve been to five worlds and one Olympic Games. So, I’d be more than happy [to walk away].”

After gymnastics, Biles has another goal — to be a voice for foster kids. She was in foster care multiple times before being adopted at age 6 by grandparents Ron and Nellie.

Those plans, along with so much else for Biles and so many others, have been pushed back a full year.

“I was already being mentally drained and almost, not done with the sport, but just going into the gym and feeling tired and being like, OK, I’m going to get my stuff [done], get out,” she said. “We have this one end goal, and now that it’s postponed another [year], it’s just like, how are we going to deal with that? We’re already being drained, and so it’s to keep the fire in the sport within yourself alive.”

MORE: Top U.S. gymnasts disagree with Tokyo Olympic age rule

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2022 Pan Pacific Championships canceled as swimming calendar shifts

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The Pan Pacific Swimming Championships, a quadrennial major international meet, will not be held in 2022 “out of respect for the recent changes to the international sporting calendar,” according to a press release.

The Pan Pacs’ charter nations — the U.S., Australia, Canada and Japan — agreed to the move. The 2026 event will be held in Canada, which was supposed to be the 2022 host.

The decision came after the 2021 World Championships were moved to May 2022, following the Tokyo Olympics moving from 2020 to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The quadrennial multi-sport Commonwealth Games — which includes Australia and Canada, but not the U.S. or Japan — are scheduled for July 27-Aug. 7, 2022.

“Organizing a third major championships in that window presented several challenges,” according to the Pan Pacs release.

Pan Pacs mark the third-biggest major international meet for U.S. swimmers, held in non-Olympic, non-world championships years.

MORE: Caeleb Dressel co-hosts a podcast. It’s not about swimming.

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