Tonya Harding gets ovation at ‘I, Tonya’ premiere (video)

AP
1 Comment

Disgraced figure skater Tonya Harding received an ovation after the premiere of “I, Tonya,” a dark comedy film about her life, on Tuesday night.

“I am specially excited that she got to watch it all with you,” actress Margot Robbie, who plays the film’s title role, said on stage. “Let’s give a round of applause to the woman at the center of this story, Tonya Harding.”

Harding then came on stage and received a hug from the Australian actress. Video is here.

Harding also posed for red-carpet photos at the Los Angeles premiere — it hits theaters Friday — with Robbie.

The Australian actress previously said she met Harding and that the skater was complimentary of the film and Robbie’s skating.

“I wanted there to be a clear distinction between the ‘real’ Tonya and the one I would be playing,” Robbie said, according to W Magazine. “I didn’t want to sugarcoat her. … The more I became Tonya, the more I saw things from her point of view. I’m on her side 100 percent. I don’t think she did anything but be different from what the world wanted. There are cool misfits, and then there is Tonya. She didn’t fit in. And I love that.”

The film premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in September.

Harding, 47, was actually skating in October after losing weight, according to People magazine, citing an unnamed friend in People magazine.

On Jan. 6, 1994, Olympic teammate Nancy Kerrigan was clubbed on the right leg by a hitman hired by Harding’s ex-husband, Jeff Gillooly, in Detroit, where she was preparing for the U.S. Figure Skating Championships.

Kerrigan’s bruised right knee kept her from competing at nationals, but she recovered in time for the Lillehammer 1994 Olympics. Harding won the U.S. Championship in her absence, so both went to the Olympics.

Tonya and Nancy became a media soap opera in Lillehammer with Super Bowl-like TV ratings. Kerrigan won silver, just behind Ukrainian Oksana Baiul. Harding broke a skate lace in her long program, reskated and finished eighth.

Four months later, Harding was banned for life by U.S. Figure Skating, which concluded that she had prior knowledge of the attack.

Robbie, who co-produced the film, said she thought the saga was fiction before signing up for the movie.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Figure skating season TV schedule

https://www.instagram.com/p/BcWiLYbjAi-/

Tonya Harding, left, and Margot Robbie arrive at the Los Angeles premiere of “I, Tonya” at the Egyptian Theatre on Tuesday. (AP)

Mikaela Shiffrin heads to world championships with medal records in sight

0 Comments

Before Mikaela Shiffrin can hold the World Cup wins record, she can become the most decorated Alpine skier in modern world championships history.

Shiffrin takes a respite from World Cup pursuits for the biennial world championships in France. She is expected to race at least four times, beginning with Monday’s combined.

Shiffrin has a tour-leading 11 World Cup victories in 23 starts this season, her best since her record 17-win 2018-19 campaign, but world championships do not count toward the World Cup.

Shiffrin remains one career victory behind Swede Ingemar Stenmark‘s record 86 World Cup wins until at least her next World Cup start in March.

Shiffrin has been more successful at worlds than at the Olympics and even on the World Cup. She has 11 medals in 13 world championships races dating to her 2013 debut, including making the podium in each of her last 10 events.

ALPINE SKIING WORLDS: Broadcast Schedule

She enters worlds one shy of the modern, post-World War II individual records for total medals (Norway’s Kjetil Andre Aamodt won 12) and gold medals (Austrian Toni Sailer, Frenchwoman Marielle Goitschel and Swede Anja Pärson won seven).

Worlds take place exactly one year after Shiffrin missed the medals in all of her Olympic races, but that’s not motivating her.

“If I learned anything last year, it’s that these big events, they can go amazing, and they can go terrible, and you’re going to survive no matter what,” she said after her most recent World Cup last Sunday. “So I kind of don’t care.”

Shiffrin ranks No. 1 in the world this season in the giant slalom (Feb. 16 at worlds) and slalom (Feb. 18).

This year’s combined is one run of super-G coupled with one run of slalom (rather than one downhill and one slalom), which also plays to her strengths. She won that event, with that format, at the last worlds in 2021. The combined isn’t contested on the World Cup, so it’s harder to project favorites.

Shiffrin is also a medal contender in the super-G (Feb. 8), despite starting just two of five World Cup super-Gs this season (winning one of them).

She is not planning to race the downhill (Feb. 11), which she often skips on the World Cup and has never contested at a worlds. Nor is she expected for the individual parallel (Feb. 15), a discipline she hasn’t raced in three years in part due to the strain it puts on her back with the format being several runs for the medalists.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Lucas Braathen, world’s top male slalom skier, in doubt for world championships

Lucas Braathen
Getty
0 Comments

Norway’s Lucas Braathen, the world’s top male slalom skier this season, is doubtful to compete in the world championships slalom on Feb. 19 after appendix surgery on Tuesday.

“It’s been a tough couple of days fighting after surprisingly finding out about quite an intense infection on my appendix,” Braathen, a 22-year-old soccer convert with a Brazilian mom, posted on social media. “I’ve been through surgery and I’m blessed that it went successfully.”

The Norway Alpine skiing team doctor said Braathen’s recovery will take a few weeks, but there is a small possibility he can make it back for the world championships slalom, which is on the final day of the two-week competition.

Braathen has two slalom wins and one giant slalom win this World Cup season. He will miss Saturday’s slalom in Chamonix, France, the last race before worlds. Countryman Henrik Kristoffersen and Swiss Daniel Yule can overtake him atop the World Cup slalom standings in Chamonix.

Braathen entered last year’s Olympics as the World Cup slalom leader and skied out in the first run at the Games.

ALPINE SKIING WORLDS: Broadcast Schedule

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!