Tonya Harding is the notorious American figure skater who made headlines in 1994 by attacking her skating competitor Nancy Kerrigan. During a practice session for the 1994 United States Figure Skating Championships, Harding and her ex-husband hired her husband's friend to physically assault Kerrigan. The attack was intended to improve Harding's chances to make the Olympic team, which she did. The plan was to break Kerrigan's leg, but was not successful. Kerrigan only suffered severe bruising. She was also part of the Olympic team in Lillehammer, Norway.
When it was discovered that Harding was behind the attack, a media frenzy ensued. Kerrigan was on the cover of both Time, and Newsweek in January 1994. The media descended onto the Olympic city in great numbers, and the video of the competition became one of the most watched shows in American history. The following month, Harding's husband cooperated with authorities by testifying against Harding and her co-conspirators in a plea-bargaining agreement. Harding was banned from competing for life by the United States Figure Skating Association after pleading guilty for her part of the attack on March 16, 1994. By pleading guilty, she was able to avoid a jail sentence.
Harding remained in the American limelight for several years following the incident. Her ex-husband released a wedding sex video of Harding and himself. Some of those images were published by Penthouse Magazine. She competed in a Fox TV network broadcast of Celebrity Boxing in 2002. She went on to try a professional boxing career the following year, but with little success. Kerrigan, on the other hand, fell out of the American culture scene, never to be heard of again.