Nancy Kerrigan is making a documentary about eating disorders in sports, and she has her own story to tell on the subject.
“A lot of times people see it as something that they can control, but, frankly, the eating disorder starts to control you,” Kerrigan said in a People magazine video interview published Wednesday. “I mean, that happened to me, to some degree, after I was attacked [before the 1994 U.S. Figure Skating Championships]. I’m being followed around by cars and the media and everything. I didn’t realize what I was doing. I mean, I lost a whole bunch of weight.”
Kerrigan was clubbed on the leg in an attack orchestrated by the ex-husband of American rival Tonya Harding. She came back to win silver at the Lillehammer Olympics seven weeks later.
Kerrigan retired from competitive skating after those Winter Games, started a family with three kids and is currently competing on “Dancing with the Stars.” She is also the executive producer of an upcoming documentary, “Why Don’t You Lose 5 Pounds?” about athletes’ eating disorders.
Kerrigan said she didn’t eat enough in the period between her attack and competing in Lillehammer.
“It was so busy that I didn’t actually realize I wasn’t eating for quite some time, and then my weight started dropping because I couldn’t skate because I couldn’t walk,” she said in a radio interview last year. “So I was training in the water. In doing so, you lose and burn so much more than even when you’re training on land that my weight started dropping off, and I wasn’t eating enough to sustain how much work I was doing.”
Kerrigan said those around her, including her mom, told her that she looked too thin and needed to eat more. She received the most support from her then-manager and future husband, Jerry Solomon.
Solomon ate meals with Kerrigan at the Olympics and encouraged her to eat two more bites, according to People.
“I was afraid, after all I had been through, I didn’t want someone else to get in the way of what I worked so hard for, and I didn’t want to get in the way,” Kerrigan said in the 2016 radio interview. “So I started to eat a little bit more so I wouldn’t be weak at the time of the championships.”
Kerrigan said she avoided food because it was one of the few things in her life she could control during the tumultuous time, according to People.
“I just started shrinking,” she said, according to the magazine. “I’d put on makeup differently to sort of hide that I was wasting away. Strangers would say, ‘Oh, that’s not enough food on your plate.'”
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