15 Best Moments From ESPN's Tonya Harding-Nancy Kerrigan Doc 'The Price of Gold' - Rolling Stone
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15 Golden Moments From ESPN’s Tonya Harding-Nancy Kerrigan Doc

Revisiting the most bizarre Olympic scandal of all time

Tonya Harding Nancy KerriganTonya Harding Nancy Kerrigan

Tonya Harding, Nancy Kerrigan.

Chris Cole; Bob Martin/ALLSPORT

Last night’s installment of ESPN’s documentary series 30 for 30 was undoubtedly one of the greatest of all time. The Price of Gold, directed by Nanette Burstein, took us back to the winter of 1994 and the tragic story of Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan. Twenty years later, the Biggie vs. Tupac of women’s sports still hasn’t lost a shred of its epic power to shock and terrify. Harding, who was kicked out of skating shortly after attaining global infamy, is defiant, unrepentant and even more in denial than she could’ve possibly seemed at the height of the kneecapping scandal that continues to define her. Here are a few highlights:    

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Best triple cliche put-down of Tonya Harding by a skating expert: “An ugly duckling with a frizzy hair from the wrong side of the tracks.”

Saddest moment: Footage of a young Harding calling her abusive mom after a successful competition and getting castigated for a mistake during her routine. “What a bitch,” Tonya says, hanging up.

Best outfit: The hot pink dress Harding has to sew herself because she can’t afford to buy a different one. A judge tells her that if she wears the dress to another competition she’ll be kicked out of skating. Harding responds, “I told them, if you can come up with $5,000 for a costume for me, then I won’t have to make it.” 

Best quote: Harding on Kerrigan: “She’s a princess. I’m a piece of crap.”

Best idiot: Harding’s husband Jeff Gillooly. His name became a verb. His mustache should’ve become a noun: “A Keith Hernandez porn ‘stache, only sleazier.”

Weirdest likeness: Shawn Eckhardt, the 300-pound goon who conspired with Gillooly to take out Kerrigan, looks like a cretin version of D. Boon from Eighties indie-rock greats the Minutemen.

Best mean girl who isn’t Tonya Harding: Connie Chung, who pops up in the doc as a talking head.

Best off-ice feud: Harding’s battles with her own hairstyles. She makes Hillary Clinton’s early-Nineties hair wars look like backyard squirt-gun fights. When she finally lands on the severe ponytail pull-back it’s the hair equivalent of cutting your losses and pulling the troops out of Vietnam.  

Best catty moment from an FBI guy: “You have to be a moron to trek across the country to do a hit and put it all on Visa”

Best soul-wrenching GIF to be: “Why! Why! Why!” In the annals of sports footage Kerrigan’s anguished howling after the attack is the Zapruder film crossed with the Hindenburg disaster, if those films also had sound and a running commentary by the victim. 

Best moment of quiet pathos: Kerrigan giving an impromptu press conference outdoors in softly falling snow shortly after her attack. When asked if she could imagine why someone would try to hurt her, she answers, without missing a beat, “I can’t think that viciously.”

Most surreal moment: Harding skating across the ice in mascara-smearing tears trying to get a do-over from the Olympic judges at the games in Lillehammer, Norway, because her skate lace broke.

Most gangsta moment: Kerrigan makes her triumphant return to skating at the 1994 U.S. Nationals wearing the same dress she wore when she was attacked. Harding: “That’s rude.”

Most insane thing Harding says: Harding on Kerrigan’s mild breakdown after missing out on the gold at the 1994 Olympics, six weeks after being attacked: “I’ve never said this before, but shut up.”

Best heavy-handed symbolism: The blue-collar sociopath.

In This Article: Olympics, sports


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