It's been nearly 24 years since Tonya Harding was accused of allegedly attempting to sabotage the career of fellow ice skating competitor, Nancy Kerrigan. The recently released I, Tonya trailer, starring Margot Robbie, seeks to relive the details of the '90s Olympics scandal with a darkly humorous twist. The snippet, which features Robbie in the role of Harding, chronicles the figure skater's highly publicized rise and fall from grace after the infamous allegations.
Nancy Kerrigan was viciously attacked and struck in her leg with a metal bar as she trained for the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Detroit on Jan. 6, 1994. The injury, which narrowly missed Kerrigan's right knee, would ultimately render her unable to participate in the competition and allow top rival Harding to easily take home the victory. In the days following the attack, Harding's ex-husband, Jeff Gillooly, and three of his friends were arrested for the assault. Speculation that Harding was involved in planning the attack would come into play as both women began to prep for the 1994 Olympics. At the time, Harding said in a statement in the New York Times that she had no prior knowledge of a planned attack Kerrigan, only explaining, "I am responsible, however, for failing to report things I learned about the assault."
Robbie seems to capture the essence of Harding's demeanor, while still managing to add a bit of a sympathetic element to her portrayal. "America, they want someone to love," the actor says in the voiceover of the trailer. "And they want someone to hate." All of this is overlaid with images of the press, of Robbie as Harding, and of the attack that would change everything. Based on the events that took place in the mid-'90s, I, Tonya will reportedly offer viewers an inside look at Harding's life, which has been adapted from a series of interviews that were conducted by the film's screenwriter Steven Rogers, according to BuzzFeed.
Ultimately, Harding was permitted to compete against Kerrigan in the Winter Olympics skating event. Despite her injury, Kerrigan went on to snag the silver medal during the competition, while Harding would come in eighth place. Following the Olympics games of that year, Harding would plead guilty and be convicted of conspiracy to hinder prosecution in reference to the incident. The U.S. Figure Skating Association would, in turn, ban her for life after conducting its own investigation and concluding that Harding was aware of the attack before it happened.
In a 2008 tell-all book entitled The Tonya Tapes, Harding alleged that she had suffered years of abuse by her mother as a child, and later by her ex-husband whom she married at the age of 19-years-old, according to People. Both of the accused have continued to deny her allegations over the years. However, Harding’s mother, LaVona Golden — portrayed in the film by Allison Janney — did once admit to NBC that she hit Harding once on the arm with a hairbrush. Nevertheless, she said, “I did the very best I could as a mother. I still love her. I always will.”
Harding, who once reached the heights of becoming the first woman in America's history to a complete a triple axel jump in competition, saw her career take a steep decline after the incident with Kerrigan occurred; the scandal has become a stigma that has been associated with her name ever since. But it appears that I, Tonya may offer more insight from the disgraced skater and, in doing so, flesh out a narrative that has long been one of the more quiet stories in the media.