Tonya Harding's figure skating career was hampered by her assault scandal involving Nancy Kerrigan. However, beyond the controversy, Harding's life was filled with other tragedies.
Tonya Harding is a known name in the world of sports and pop culture. However, her relevance in pop culture came as a result of an infamous incident with fellow competitor Nancy Kerrigan.
The headline-making incident had a negative effect on Harding's sports career and sent it spiraling down the rabbit hole. However, that was just the start of more drama for the athlete.
Tonya Harding at the 75th Annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 7, 2018 | Photo: Getty Images
HARDING AND KERRIGAN'S SCANDAL
It happened that before the 1994 U.S. Figure Skating Championship first Ladies' Singles competition, Kerrigan, Harding's rival and greatest competitor, was attacked after finishing practice in Detroit.
Kerrigan was hit in her right knee with a baton causing a severe injury that forced her to withdraw from the competition. Harding ended up taking home the medal for the match but was later stripped of the title.
Olympian Nancy Kerrigan at the grand re-opening of Boston's Emerson Colonial Theatre with the gala performance of "Moulin Rouge! The Musical" at Emerson Colonial Theatre on July 29, 2018 | Photo: Getty Images
However, upon investigation, it was discovered that Harding was involved in the assault. The two-time Olympian's bodyguard Sean Eckardt confessed to hiring the assailant that committed the crime.
Perhaps, the heaviest blow Harding suffered was her father's demise.
Harding was also implicated in the assault and pled guilty to hindering the prosecution and was sentenced to three-year supervised probation and was ordered to set up a fund for the Special Olympics.
Alongside the saga with Kerrigan and fake claims of skate problems, to get a chance for a redo during competitions, Harding was banned from the U.S Figure Skating Association for life.
ARRESTED FOR ASSAULT
In 2000, Harding was arrested and charged for fourth-degree domestic violence assault involving her then-boyfriend, Darren Silver. Silver and Harding were living together at the time.
The disgraced sports icon reportedly threw a hubcap at Silver that left him bruised. Silver, who had lived with Harding for three years, claimed that she punched him in the face repeatedly, likening her to the boxer, Mike Tyson.
A FAILED BOXING CAREER
After being forced to say goodbye to figure skating, Harding decided to put her punching skills to use and appeared in a celebrity boxing match against Paula Jones in 2002.
After winning the match, the Oregon native began training as a professional boxer and earned about $15,000 per fight. However, her success was short-lived. After six professional fights, she quit as she couldn't keep up.
HER FATHER'S DEATH
Perhaps, the heaviest blow Harding suffered was her father's demise. The former athlete had a tumultuous relationship with her family throughout her life but always remained close to her dad.
Unfortunately, in 2009, the patriarch Albert Gordon Harding died. He was 76 years old. Harding was devasted and described him as "an excellent man and father." In his obituary, it was written that Albert's greatest joy was watching his daughter.
"I mean, my dad just gave me 100 percent unconditional love. When I was young, my dad had to leave — he never abandoned me."
Despite all the downs that Harding has experienced in her life, she still has a reason to smile, thanks to her family. The Olympian is married to Joe Price, and they have been together for more than a decade.
A year after tying the knot, Price and Harding welcomed their son, named after her late father, Gordon. Harding and her family live in Washington, and she keeps busy with hobbies like hunting and woodworking.
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