Piers Morgan Calls Out Tonya Harding During Interview for 'Playing the Victim'


Growing up, I loved watching figure skating. The race to the 1994 Olympic games in Lillehammer, Norway, however, was clouded in drama and scandal not before seen in the sport.

Kristi Yamaguchi had left amateur competition, opening the door for the next generation of ladies: Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding.

Competitive ice skating in the western world is an expensive sport with an affluent culture. But neither Kerrigan or Harding came from affluent backgrounds.

Harding had more athletic skill and she was the first American woman to land a triple axel in competition.

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But Kerrigan had stronger artistic abilities. She also possessed the grace typically associated with the sport, while Harding’s rough edges were often on display.

This won Kerrigan many endorsements and a general acceptance into the sport — privileges Harding was excluded from.

Harding, who consistently lost to Kerrigan, believed that the only way to win such endorsements and respect was to win the 1994 Olympic games.

In desperation, a plan was hatched to disable Kerrigan so she couldn’t compete. Two days before Olympic trials were to begin, Kerrigan was attacked by Shane Stant, who used a club to bash in her knee.

Later, it was found that Stant was hired as part of a conspiracy to incapacitate Kerrigan, headed by Harding’s husband Jeff Gillooly.

But the plan backfired at every pass. First, the original hit location was botched. Then, the ice skating commission held Kerrigan’s spot on the Olympic team open without her competing through trials.

Kerrigan was able to recover in time to compete in the Lillehammer games and took home the silver medal. Harding, on the other hand, came in 8th place overall.

Despite Harding denying direct involvement in the assault, she pleaded guilty to conspiring to hinder prosecution of a case. She was sentenced to probation, fines, and community service, and received a lifetime ban from U.S. Figure Skating. Her career was over.

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Since, Harding has appeared on “World’s Dumbest,” a long-lasting clip-and-commentary series on TRU TV. A recent Biopic “I, Tonya” (2017), told her side of the story starting from youth.

The movie depicts an abusive up-bringing. “My movie now, to me, is going to help so many people to realize that it is okay to ask for help. It took me so long to be able to ask for somebody to help me,” Harding said of her childhood to Morgan on Good Morning Britain.

But Morgan wasn’t having it. “Maybe it suits you to play the victim,” he said, “but I think the victim in all this wasn’t you. It was Nancy Kerrigan who had her Olympic dream shattered.”

Morgan was focused on the notorious assault, while Harding wanted to focus on the abuse narrative. “I think that many people are the victims of abuse every single day and can’t stand up for themselves.

“People need to be able to understand that we need to stand united and that abuse should not be happening anymore.” Harding felt that people don’t understand what she was going through back then.

But then Morgan asked her directly about her involvement in the 1994 assault. Harding denied knowing about the assault before it happened, despite the U.S Figure Skating commission’s investigation finding otherwise.

Once Harding denied prior knowledge, Morgan ended the interview with “Okay, we’ll leave it there.”

Harding has identified as a victim of abuse since the 1994 scandal. But while there is truth to Harding’s abusive background, what she is most known for clouds the view that she is truly a victim.

For now, it would probably be best for Harding to either leave the limelight for good or to contribute to society in a way that allows public memory to associate her with something positive.

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