The recent buzz in Hollywood has been over the new movie, “I, Tonya,” starring Margot Robbie. Many who lived through the media circus that surrounded U.S. Figure Skating and the 1994 Winter Olympics know how controversial the topic of Tonya Harding is.
To those who may not be familiar, before the 1994 Winter Olympics, figure skater Nancy Kerrigan was attacked just about a month and a half before the games. Though she sustained injuries and could not participate in events leading up to the Olympics, Kerrigan went on to make the Olympic team and received a silver medal, unlike her teammate Tonya Harding who did not receive a medal.
As the investigation into the attack continued, evidence would point to Harding having been involved. Harding, to this day, claims her innocence, however, she would plead guilty in court and U.S. Figure Skating would ban her for life.
After some time away from the spotlight, Harding is making waves in Hollywood for this new movie. Along with an ESPN 30/30 special and other major television appearances, Harding does not want to back down from her story or admit any involvement in Kerrigan’s attack. Many Kerrigan supporters and diehard fans still believe she is guilty.
With all of these opinions, stories and facts floating around, VALLEY wants to know: what do our readers think? Does Tonya Harding deserve this attention? Or is she trying to shine a light away from a dark past full of inexcusable mistakes?
“I think she is guilty,” Phil Dart says. Dart, a State College resident and manager at Liberty Craft House, was eight years old when the 1994 Olympics took place. “You train your whole life to then find someone who is better than you at what you do. I think the pressure people are under can make people do something they might regret.”
In trying to understand what might have caused a young Tonya Harding to be involved in such an attack, Dart adds, “I don’t think it’s excusable. I can’t imagine that anything in that movie would be anything I haven’t seen. It wouldn’t change my mind.”
Nick Decandia, a sophomore at Penn State, gave VALLEY a similar opinion when asked about his opinion of Tonya Harding. “She’s guilty.” Decandia was, like Dart, not aware of the movie being released, however, he recalled recently watching a TV special about the Harding scandal.
“Nothing I heard was going to change my mind. She still seems guilty,” Decandia says.
Over two decades later, people still come to the same conclusion: Harding is guilty. People of all ages seem to share the same thoughts on the case and it doesn’t look like (to Harding’s despair) that a Hollywood production is going to change that.
VALLEY still wants to hear from you. Did you see the movie? Did it change your mind? Does Tonya Harding deserve the spotlight again? Let us know! Follow @VALLEYmag to tweet us your opinion or share your thoughts on Facebook!