ABC will present a two-hour television special that features an emotional interview with figure skater Tonya Harding, who opens up about her life now, her childhood, and her past, discussing the attack on figure skater Nancy Kerrigan that dominated headlines for weeks and the alleged tumultuous relationships she had with both her mother, LaVona “Sandy” Golden, and her now ex-husband Jeff Gillooly. The special will feature rarely seen video of Harding as a child and interviews with television news anchor Connie Chung whose interview with Harding during the 1994 Olympics was cut short when she walked out; Christine Brennan, USA Today sports columnist and ABC commentator; Dody Teachman, Harding’s former and current coach; Norman Frink, the former district attorney who prosecuted Harding and Gillooly; Matt Harkins and Viviana Olen, curators of THNK1994, the Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan museum; Sandra Luckow, director of Hard Edges, the 1986 documentary on Harding; People magazine’s Kate Coyne; sports broadcaster Ann Schatz; and “I, Tonya” Golden Globe nominated actors Margot Robbie who plays Harding and Allison Janney as Golden, as well as Sebastian Stan as Gillooly. “Truth and Lies: The Tonya Harding Story” airs on Thursday, January 11 (9:00 – 11:00 p.m.) on ABC.
After the attack following a practice session at the 1994 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, reporters followed Harding everywhere. The news cycle was dominated by articles documenting every moment and development to accommodate the public’s avid appetite for new details. It was quickly revealed that Gillooly’s friend Shawn Eckardt hired Shane Stant to attack Kerrigan in order to keep her out of the Olympics. Stant failed and only bruised her knee. Although the injury was severe enough to keep Kerrigan out of the championship – which Harding went on to win – it did not stop her from participating and ultimately taking home the silver medal at the Olympics.
While the media continued to swarm Harding throughout the Games, she maintained that she did not know about the attack in advance. After an investigation, Gillooly, Stant and Eckardt were all charged in connection with the attack and served jail time. Harding admitted to withholding information from police and received 500 community service hours, three years probation, and a fine of $160,000. She was subsequently banned for life from the U.S. Figure Skating Association and lost her 1994 U.S. Championships title.
The television special on Tonya Harding is the sixth installment of the No.1 rated “Truth and Lies” series. Launched in 2017, the first four specials were on the Menendez brothers, Charles Manson, Watergate and Laci Peterson. The fifth installment is on Waco and airs Thursday, January 4 (9:00-11:00 p.m. ET) on ABC.