On March 20th, former figure skater—and Dancing with the Stars champion—Kristi Yamaguchi tweeted the following:
If you don’t see what the big deal is, then sit right back millennial, and you’ll hear a tale of sex, jealousy, intrigue, and figure skating.
The year was 1994. It was a cold January night in Detroit and figure skater Nancy Kerrigan had just finished a practice session at the Cobo Arena. She had already won a bronze medal in the 1992 winter Olympics and was the reigning women’s U.S. figure skating champion. Her future looked quite bright. Suddenly, a man appeared in the dark corridors of the arena. Welding a police baton, he struck Kerrigan in the leg which, for those not familiar with the sport, is, like, a super-duper important body part.
“Why?!” Kerrigan screamed as her assailant ran out into the snow. Why indeed Nancy? “Why” was the question asked by the police and public alike.
It turned out the answer was jealousy. The ex-husband of rival figure skater Tonya Harding had hired a man to break Kerrigan’s leg. Although he didn’t succeed, he did severely injure her knee, in what would come to be known as–I shit you not—The Whack heard ’round the world. Over the course of an investigation, it came out the Harding knew about her ex-husband’s attack, although she always maintained that she was too afraid to speak out. In the end, Kerrigan made an amazing comeback from her injuries and won a silver medal at the 1994 Olympics. Harding came in a disappointing 8th place, and would later be barred from the sport. Oh and also she released a sex tape. That’s the sex part.
So is it any wonder that people reacted to Yamaguchi’s tweet with shock, bewilderment, and pretty much every single “surprised face” gif known to man?
Of special note this nice three tweet arc:
"break a leg" is a common phrase for good luck in entertainment business. Sorry Dave.— marybeth luther-bach (@bachluther) March 22, 2017
I think you need to google Nancy Kerrigan— Bye Bloombito (@MyNameIsntBrain) March 22, 2017
Much like Harding, Yamaguchi has maintained her innocence, and a representative released the following statement to the Huffington Post:
Kristi loves Nancy and has nothing but respect for her. No ill will was intended with the tweet and Nancy herself has received and commented on the well wishes that were sent. Kristi is finding the reactions on social media humorous but unfortunately for those who want it to have been shady, that’s not the case.
For her part, Kerrigan responded in a positive, if somewhat typo-ridden manner.
Thank you so much Kristi! I'm excited to get this started said for the advice you had for me. this its a blast! https://t.co/MMagD7gLgw— Nancy Kerrigan (@NancyAKerrigan) March 20, 2017
Later she followed it up with this tweet. It’s hard to tell if she’s referring her own typos or Yamaguchi’s poor choice of words.
The new season of Dancing with the Stars just got underway, and as a former Olympic athlete, Kerrigan has a decent shot at winning.
We’re going to play it safe and just wish her good luck.