11 Books Like 'I, Tonya' To Read For More Olympic Drama, Figure Skating, And True Crime
The story of Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan is the stuff of legend. But it wasn't until the 2017 release of the widely celebrated film I, Tonya that interest in their violent ice skating rivalry was renewed. For those unaware, Kerrigan was attacked with a police baton in January 1994 by an assailant hired by the ex-husband of her rival Tonya Harding. Though Kerrigan recovered in time to eventually win a silver medal at the 1994 Winter Olympics, and Harding was found guilty of nothing more than hindering an investigation in a court of law, the two women will be forever linked in the lexicon of sports rivalries and celebrity controversies.
And questions of whether Harding deserves sympathy for her role in Kerrigan's attack have only continued the conversation that stunned the sports world in the '90s. With that resurgence of interest in this decades old drama comes the desire for more information wherever we can get it including, of course, through books. The picks below all delve in to the competitive world of ice skating in one way or another, whether they delve into the true story behind I, Tonya, investigative reporting, or just fiction featuring characters who are immersed in the world. If you've found yourself desperate to don some sparkles and strap on some skates, this is the TBR for you.
'Fire On Ice: The Exclusive Inside Story Of Tonya Harding' by Abby Haight and J.E. Vader
This first full scale biography of Tonya Harding explores one of the most provocative figures in figure skating at the height of the controversy. Fire on Ice, zooms in on Harding’s childhood, painting a portrait of a girl traumatized by abuse, financial problems, and unceasing pressure and belittlement by her mother.
'Little Girls In Pretty Boxes: The Making And Breaking of Elite Gymnasts and Figure Skaters' by
First published in 1996, Little Girls in Pretty Boxes investigates the training of girls as professional gymnasts and figure skaters, arguing that the pressure to succeed and to look beautiful results in mental and physical harm — from eating disorders to psychological trauma.
'Power Games: A Political History of the Olympics' by Jules Boykoff
The Olympics have not always been the commercialized juggernaut we know today, but as Jules Boykoff makes clear in Power Games, the Games have always had a checkered political history. Boykoff, a former member of the US olympic soccer team, takes readers from the 19th century origins of the modern Games and into the contemporary era of corrupt, corporate control.
'Sequins and Scandals: Reflections on Figure Skating, Culture, and the Philosophy of Sport' by M.G. Piety
Is figure skating sport or art? Is the judging corrupt? Why has figure skating's popularity gone into a death spiral? These essays and articles, compiled by M.G. Piety, dive into these issues and more.
'Being Sloane Jacobs' by Lauren Morrill
Sloane Emily Jacobs is a seriously stressed-out figure-skater from Washington, D.C., who choked during junior nationals and isn’t sure she’s ready for a comeback. Sloane Devon Jacobs, a spunky ice hockey player from Philly who’s been suspended from her team for too many aggressive hip checks. When the two Sloanes meet by chance in Montreal and decide to trade places for the summer, each girl thinks she’s the lucky one. But it’s not long before the Sloanes discover that convincing people you’re someone else might be more difficult than being yourself.
'The Second Mark: Courage, Corruption, And The Battle for Olympic Gold' by Joy Goodwin
It was billed as the greatest event in the history of pair skating: three of the best teams of all time battling for Olympic gold on one night in Salt Lake City. Technical ability was approximately equal. It was the artistic merit score that would decide the gold medal — the second mark. Representing Canada, China, and Russia, the three pairs illuminated their distinct cultures. On the second mark, whose culture would triumph? The Second Mark takes readers deep into the world of the Olympic athlete, illuminating the fascinating differences between East and West.
'Bittersweet' by Sarah Ockler
Once upon a time, Hudson knew exactly what her future looked like. Then a betrayal changed her life, and knocked her ice skating dreams to the ground. Now she obsesses over what might have been. So when things start looking up and she has another shot at her dreams, Hudson is equal parts hopeful and terrified. It’s time for Hudson to ask herself what she really wants, and how much she’s willing to sacrifice to get it. Because in a place where opportunities are fleeting, she knows this chance may very well be her last.
'Women In Sports: 50 Fearless Athletes Who Played To Win' by Rachel Ignotofsky
Women in Sports highlights notable women's contributions to competitive athletics to inspire readers young and old. A fascinating collection full of striking art, the book features 50 profiles and illustrated portraits of women athletes from the 1800s to today including trailblazers, Olympians, and record-breakers in more than 40 different sports.
'Edge of Glory: The Inside Story Of The Quest For Figure Skating's Olympic Gold Medals' by Christine Brennan
They practice for years in cold, dark rinks with a single dream: to skate onto the ice with the whole world watching to try to win the Olympic gold medal. If they stumble, the gold is gone. If they succeed, their lives can be changed forever. In Edge of Glory Christine Brennan tells the riveting stories of the world’s best figure skaters as they travel through the most intense year of their young lives. Brennan goes backstage at major competitions and behind the scenes at the practice rinks to chronicle the figure skaters’ quest for victory at the 1998 Winter Olympic Games in Nagano, Japan.
'You Will Know Me' by Megan Abbott
Katie and Eric Knox have dedicated their lives to their 15-year-old daughter Devon, a gymnastics prodigy and Olympic hopeful. But when a violent death rocks their close-knit gymnastics community just weeks before a competition, everything the Knoxes have worked so hard for feels suddenly at risk. As rumors swirl among the other parents, revealing hidden plots and allegiances, Katie tries frantically to hold her family together while also finding herself drawn, irresistibly, to the crime itself, and the dark corners it threatens to illuminate.
'The End of the Perfect 10: The Making and Breaking of Gymnastics’ Top Score' by Dvora Meyers
For years, gymnastics was scored on a 10.0 scale. During this era, more than 100 “perfect” scores were awarded in major international competitions. But when the 10.0 scoring system caused judging controversies at the 2004 Olympics, international elite gymnastics made the switch to the open-ended scoring system it uses today—forever altering the sport in the process. Here, Dvora Meyers reveals how the United States became the gymnastics powerhouse it is today, and what the future of gymnastics may hold.