Just six weeks earlier, Nancy Kerrigan suffered the notorious knee-blowing attack at the hands of Tonya Harding’s henchmen. The usually placid, graceful world of figure skating took on a soap opera-like quality when just weeks after the botched attack, Kerrigan and Harding would have to put aside their animosity and instead have to compete for the same team. TIME highlighted the disparity between the two in its 1994 cover story:
“But Harding’s body is not ideal; she has thick thighs and forearms. Also, she is not musical. Kerrigan is — and a good deal else. … Her balance of skills is the strongest among women skaters, and she performs with an undulating, pleasing lyricism.”
Sure, Harding was not in the public’s good graces as the Olympics leapt off, but without a doubt she had the potential to bring glory to the U.S. Perhaps it was that – but more likely, it was the sensationalized feud – that brought all eyes on the women’s figure skating event. In the end, though, Harding’s vicious ways couldn’t bring her to beat Kerrigan. She took eighth place against Kerrigan’s silver medal performance.