Nancy Kerrigan

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Nancy Kerrigan

Kerrigan interviewed in Turin, Italy, February 22, 2006
Personal information
Country representedUSA
Born(1969-10-13) October 13, 1969 (age 42)
Height1.62 m (5 ft 4 in)[1]
Former coachEvy Scotvold
Mary Scotvold
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Nancy Kerrigan

Kerrigan interviewed in Turin, Italy, February 22, 2006
Personal information
Country representedUSA
Born(1969-10-13) October 13, 1969 (age 42)
Height1.62 m (5 ft 4 in)[1]
Former coachEvy Scotvold
Mary Scotvold
Olympic medal record
Women's figure skating
Competitor for  United States
Silver1994 LillehammerSingles
Bronze1992 AlbertvilleSingles

Nancy Ann Kerrigan (born October 13, 1969) is a two-time American Olympic figure skating medalist and 1993 U.S. champion.


Early life and skating career

Kerrigan was born in Woburn, Massachusetts, to Daniel Kerrigan and Brenda M. (Schultz) Kerrigan. Her ancestry includes Irish, English, and German (she has stated "There's very little Irish in me, just my name").[2] She began ice skating at age six at the local rink in her hometown of Stoneham, Massachusetts. Her two older brothers, Michael and Mark, played hockey, but hockey was not considered an appropriate activity for girls at that time so she took up figure skating instead.[3] She did not start private lessons until age eight, and won her first figure skating medal at age nine.[4]

The Kerrigan family was of modest means. Kerrigan's father, a welder, sometimes worked three jobs to fund her skating career, and also drove the ice resurfacer at the local rink in exchange for lessons.[5]

Kerrigan was coached by Theresa Martin until she was 16, then after a brief period with Denise Morrissey began working with Evy and Mary Scotvold.[6] They remained her coaches through the rest of her competitive career.

Kerrigan began to reach prominence at the national level when she placed 4th at the junior level at the 1987 U.S. Figure Skating Championships. She made an early impression as a strong jumper but was comparatively weak in compulsory figures.[7] Kerrigan made her senior debut the following season, moving up the national rankings each year: 12th in 1988, 5th in 1989, and 4th in 1990.[8] However, she continued to be held back by compulsory figures until they were eliminated from competitions after the 1990 season.[citation needed]

1991–1993 competitions

Kerrigan's rise at the national level continued when she placed 3rd at the 1991 U.S. Figure Skating Championships. She qualified for the 1991 World Figure Skating Championships, where she won the bronze medal. Her achievement was considered especially astonishing in that it was part of the first-ever sweep of the women's podium by a single country at the World Championships, as her teammates Kristi Yamaguchi and Tonya Harding won gold and silver, respectively.[9]

In the 1992 season, Kerrigan again improved on her placement at the previous year's national championships by placing 2nd. She received a bronze medal in the 1992 Winter Olympics (Yamaguchi won the gold), and the silver medal at the 1992 World Championships.[10]

The following season, with Yamaguchi retired from eligible competition, Kerrigan became United States Champion, although with a flawed performance she admitted she would have to improve upon for the World Championships.[11] She won the short program at the World Championships in Prague, but had a disastrous free skate that resulted in her tumbling to fifth in the standings.[citation needed] This was followed by an even worse performance at a televised pro-am event, where Kerrigan fell three times and botched the landing of another jump, and appeared dazed and depressed.[12]

After the 1992 Olympics, she had received many corporate sponsorship contracts (with companies such as Seiko, Reebok, Campbell's Soup, and Evian)[13] as well as opportunities to perform professionally, which was permitted after the International Skating Union abolished the earlier strict amateur status rules that had governed eligibility for the sport.[citation needed] In preparation for the 1994 Olympic season, she curtailed these activities in order to focus on her training instead. She also began working with a sports psychologist to better handle her nerves in competition.[13]

January 1994 attack

Kerrigan gained considerable fame beyond the skating world when, on January 6, 1994, she was clubbed in the right knee with a collapsible police baton by Shane Stant at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships at Cobo Arena in Detroit, an assault planned by rival Tonya Harding's ex-husband Jeff Gillooly and friend Shawn Eckardt.[14]

Kerrigan was captured on camera after the attack grabbing her knee and wailing "Why, why, why?" Although Kerrigan's injury forced her to withdraw from the U.S. Championships, her rivals agreed that she merited one of the two spots on the Olympic team.[15] The USFSA chose to name her to the Olympic team rather than second-place finisher Michelle Kwan.[16]

Kerrigan recovered quickly from her knee injury and resumed her intensive training. She practiced by doing complete back-to-back double runthroughs of her programs, until she felt completely confident in her ability to compete under pressure.[17] At the same time, the fame she had acquired from the attack led to further professional opportunities; it was reported that she had already signed contracts for $9.5 million before the Olympic competition began.[18]

1994 Winter Olympics and post-event controversy

Seven weeks after the attack, Kerrigan skated what she considered to be the best two performances of her life[17] and won the silver medal in the 1994 Lillehammer Winter Olympics at the Hamar Olympic Amphitheatre, finishing second to Oksana Baiul. Kerrigan had won the short program, but lost the free skate to Baiul in a close and controversial 5–4 decision.[citation needed] CBS Television further played up the controversy by portraying it as a Cold War East-West split, particularly singling out German judge Jan Hoffmann for supposed biased judging.[19]

Then, while Kerrigan and bronze medalist Chen Lu waited over 20 minutes for Olympic officials to find a copy of the Ukrainian anthem, someone mistakenly told Kerrigan the delay in the presentation was because Baiul was putting on make-up. Kerrigan, showing obvious frustration, was caught on-camera saying "Oh, come on. So she's going to get out here and cry again. What's the difference?"[20] CBS chose to air the undiplomatic comment, marking a distinct shift in the way Kerrigan was portrayed in the media, which had been somewhat protective of her image up to that point because of the attack against her.[21]

Kerrigan then chose not to attend the closing ceremonies at the Olympics; her agent claimed this was because Norwegian security had advised her not to do so due to death threats that had been made against her, but this was later denied.[21] Instead, Kerrigan left Norway to take part in a pre-arranged publicity parade at Walt Disney World, her $2 million sponsor. During the parade, she was caught on microphone saying "This is dumb. I hate it. This is the most corniest thing I have ever done."[22] She later said her remarks had been taken out of context: she was commenting not on being in the parade, but on having to wear her silver medal in the parade because showing off and bragging about her accomplishments was something that her parents had always taught her not to do. She went on to say that she had nothing against Disney or Mickey Mouse by responding, "Whoever could find fault with Mickey Mouse? He's the greatest mouse I've ever known."[23]

News articles described Kerrigan as "grumpy" and "bitchy", as well as shy and uncomfortable with the attention that was focused on her as a result of the attack.[24] Commenting on the media backlash, Mike Barnicle of The Boston Globe said "Now the thing is over so we've got to kill her. That's us [the media], not her."[25] Whether as a result of the bad publicity or her own inclinations, some of Kerrigan's previously-announced endorsement and television deals were dropped following the Olympics.[21]

Kerrigan's Olympic skating fashions

Nancy Kerrigan's Olympic skating outfits were designed by noted fashion designer Vera Wang. Along with Christian Lacroix's designs for Surya Bonaly in 1992, Wang's designs marked a new trend for couture designs in figure skating.[26] Kerrigan's white 1992 free skating costume resembled a wedding dress with sheer illusion sleeves and a basketweave design on the bodice.[citation needed] For the 1994 games, Kerrigan wore another white dress by Wang, trimmed with black velvet bands and sheer black sleeves for the original program, and a champagne-colored dress set with 11,500 rhinestones for the free skate. Wang donated the latter two dresses to Kerrigan; their value was estimated at $9,600 and $13,000, respectively.[27]

Post-Olympic skating career

Kerrigan retired from active competition after the Olympics. She subsequently appeared in a few professional competitions such as Ice Wars, but instead chose to focus her professional career on performing in a variety of ice shows.[28] She has appeared in Champions on Ice, Broadway on Ice, and an ice show adaptation of the musical Footloose, among other productions.

She played a small part in the 2007 film Blades of Glory with Will Ferrell. Kerrigan also appeared in the 2006 FOX television program Skating with Celebrities.

She hosted Nancy Kerrigan's World of Skating on the Comcast Network and has also done commentary work for other skating broadcasts. During the 2010 Winter Olympics, Kerrigan served as a "special correspondent" for Entertainment Tonight.[29] She has written an instructional book on advanced figure skating technique, Artistry on Ice (ISBN 0-7360-3697-0).

In 2003, Kerrigan became a national spokeswoman for Fight for Sight (U.S.).[30]

Kerrigan was inducted into the United States Figure Skating Hall of Fame in 2004.[31] She was honored at Ice Theatre of New York's annual benefit gala in 2008.[32]

Personal life

Kerrigan graduated from Stoneham High School and attended Emmanuel College in Boston to study business.[citation needed]

She created The Nancy Kerrigan Foundation to raise awareness and support for the vision impaired. Kerrigan's mother, Brenda, is legally blind.[citation needed]

Kerrigan married her agent, Jerry Solomon, on September 9, 1995. The marriage was her first and his third.[33] In addition to his children from prior marriages, the couple have three children together, Matthew, Brian, and Nicole.[34][35][36] Jerry Solomon also has a son from his second marriage.[37]

Kerrigan's father died at age 70 on January 24, 2010,[38] allegedly due to a violent struggle with her brother Mark.[39] Mark Kerrigan was charged with manslaughter in connection with the death.[40] The family said her father died of a longstanding heart condition.[41] Nancy Kerrigan called the allegation of homicide "unjustified" and said she would defend her brother. She and her mother appeared on a joint witness list to possibly testify at Mark Kerrigan's trial, which was due to begin on May 13, 2011.[41] Following the court proceedings on May 19, 2011,[42] Kerrigan was involved in a two-car accident in Wakefield, Massachusetts. There were no injuries to either party.[43] On May 25, 2011, Kerrigan's brother was acquitted of manslaughter but found guilty of assault and battery by a Middlesex County jury.[44] He was sentenced to 2½ years with six months suspended.[45]


Winter Olympics3rd2nd
World Championships3rd2nd5th
U.S. Championships11th J.4th J.12th5th4th3rd2nd1st
Skate America5th2nd
Trophée Lalique3rd
NHK Trophy5th
Nations Cup1st
Goodwill Games5th
Novarat Trophy1st


  1. ^ Kubatko, Justin. "Nancy Kerrigan Biography and Olympic Results". Olympics at Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved June 3, 2011. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Nancy Kerrigan", Skating magazine, December 1990, p34
  4. ^ Buzzle Biography of Nancy Kerrigan
  5. ^ Nancy Kerrigan Releases a Statement
  6. ^ "Nancy Kerrigan", Skating magazine, December 1990, p33
  7. ^ "Excitement Under the Dome", Skating magazine, April 1987, p42
  8. ^ "Nancy Kerrigan", Skating magazine, December 1990, p35
  9. ^ "Victory in Munich", Skating magazine, June 1991, p29-31.
  10. ^ "Yamaguchi Caps Her Year With World Title". The New York Times. March 30, 1992. Retrieved May 26, 2011. 
  11. ^ "Kerrigan's chase ends", The Arizona Republic, January 24, 1993
  12. ^ "Hershey's Kisses Pro-Am Championships Point to the Future with a Past", Skating magazine, May 1993, p14
  13. ^ a b "Reaching for Gold". Skating magazine: p. 22. December 1993. 
  14. ^ SportsCenter Flashback, Wednesday, November 19, 2003
  15. ^ Longman, Jere (January 8, 1994). "Rivals Agree Kerrigan Rates Olympic Spot". The New York Times. Retrieved August 23, 2011. 
  16. ^ [1] Poisoned Ice, "People Magazine", January 24, 1994.
  17. ^ a b The Official Book of Figure Skating, ISBN 0-684-84673-X, p174
  18. ^ Beverley Smith, Figure Skating: A Celebration, ISBN 0-7710-2819-9, p5
  19. ^ Scott Hamilton, Landing It, ISBN 1-57566-466-6, p262-264
  20. ^ Kerrigan's Latest Foe: Her Image, AP, March 2, 1994
  21. ^ a b c [2] Kerrigan's Off-Ice Spins Create `Image Meltdown', The Chicago Tribune, December 11, 1994.
  22. ^ Harding, Kerrigan are linked forever by skating incident, accessed July 11, 2006.
  23. ^ More Will Be Heard From Kerrigan
  24. ^ "In Search of the Real Nancy Kerrigan", The Boston Globe, March 10, 1994
  25. ^ The Souring of America's Sweetheart, The Washington Post, March 4, 1994
  26. ^ Two skaters give couture a twirl, The New York Times, February 16, 1992
  27. ^ Beverley Smith, Figure Skating: A Celebration (ISBN 0-7710-2819-9), p70
  28. ^ Scott Hamilton, Landing It, ISBN 1-57566-466-6, p270
  29. ^ Nancy Kerrigan Parties at the 2010 Olympics, ET, Feb. 15, 2010 (accessed Feb. 24, 2010)
  30. ^ The Ice Storm, Sports Illustrated Vault, June 30, 2003 (accessed June 4, 2010)
  31. ^ "Hall of Fame Members". World Figure Skating Museum and Hall of Fame. Retrieved 26 January 2012. 
  32. ^, December 1, 2008
  33. ^ Marriages: Nancy Kerrigan, Jerry L. Solomon
  34. ^ Skater Kerrigan Gives Birth to Baby Boy – Birth, Nancy Kerrigan :
  35. ^ Nancy Kerrigan Welcomes Third Child
  36. ^ Brannen, Sarah S.; Meekins, Drew (August 25, 2011). "The Inside Edge: Bradley takes mound for Royals". Icenetwork. Retrieved August 25, 2011. 
  37. ^ Skating on Thin Ice by Michelle Green, People Magazine, Nov. 28, 1994
  38. ^ Death Notice, Boston Globe, January 25, 2010
  39. ^ Kerriagn's dad dies, brother accused of assault
  40. ^ Nancy Kerrigan's Brother Charged With Manslaughter in Dad's Death
  41. ^ a b "Nancy Kerrigan may testify at brother's trial". Associated Press. March 28, 2011. Retrieved April 6, 2011. 
  42. ^ "Nancy Kerrigan in minor car accident after trial" May 19, 2011, Boston Herald
  43. ^ "Nancy Kerrigan involved in car crash in Wakefield" April 20, 2011, Channel 7, WHDH
  44. ^ "Jury acquits Nancy Kerrigan's brother in father's death". USA Today. Associated Press. May 25, 2011. Retrieved May 25, 2011. 
  45. ^ "Nancy Kerrigan's brother sentenced to 2½ years". Associated Press. CBC News. May 26, 2011. Retrieved June 8, 2011. 

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