Disgraced figure skater Tonya Harding was in attendance at Sunday’s Golden Globe Awards, where Allison Janney won Best Supporting Actress for playing Harding’s mom in the dark comedy, “I, Tonya.”
“Tonya Harding is here tonight,” Janney said in her acceptance speech. “I’d like to thank Tonya for sharing her story with [writer] Steven [Rogers], and allowing him to tell all the different sides of the story … tell a story about class in America. Tell a story about the disenfranchised. Tell a story about a woman who was not embraced for her individuality. Tell a story about truth and the perception of truth in the media.”
On Jan. 6, 1994, Harding’s 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. title 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 free skate, 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.
Australian actress Margot Robbie, who co-produced “I, Tonya,” said she thought the saga was fiction before signing up to play Harding in the movie.
Harding received an ovation at the premiere last month (video here).
The film received three Golden Globe nominations overall, including for Robbie’s performance and for Best Picture — Musical or Comedy.
Academy Awards nominations will be announced Jan. 23.
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