Aug 23, 2013, 11:50 AM EDT
Olympic figure skating silver medalist Nancy Kerrigan spoke about the attack on her before the 1994 Olympics and about her father’s death, in a rare interview, to Matt Lauer on TODAY.
Kerrigan, now 43, was clubbed on her right knee at a practice session in Detroit on Jan. 6, 1994.
Shane Stant, a man sent by Jeff Gillooly, the ex-husband of another figure skater, Tonya Harding, attacked Kerrigan at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships.
The oft-played video showed Kerrigan clutching her knee and crying, “Why? Why?”
“Watching anything sort of horrific, it’s disturbing to see anybody in pain,” Kerrigan said Friday. “To think it’s me …it’s a lifetime ago. It hurts to see anybody in such pain. It’s a long time ago. I just moved on.”
Kerrigan recovered in time for the 1994 Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway, seven weeks later and finished second to Ukraine’s Oksana Baiul in a close, controversial decision.
She said people still come up to her and say she should have won gold, or that they thought she won.
“I only got second place by .1 or something so I think a lot of people really thought I should’ve won, so 20 years later you just think, ‘Oh she must’ve won,'” Kerrigan said. “I was just happy with the performance and to even be able to go and compete again after being attacked. It was such a thrill to be part of an Olympic team again and to be able to represent our country.”
Kerrigan also spoke about the death of her father, Daniel, after an altercation with her brother, Mark, in January 2010. Mark was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison for assault and battery in connection with the death in June 2011.
The Kerrigan family has said Daniel died from a pre-existing heart condition, but a district attorney charged Mark with involuntary manslaughter.
“He shouldn’t have been charged,’’ Kerrigan said. “My dad had a heart attack and that’s that. Since then, we did the same thing we’ve always done — take things one thing at a time, and you get through it. Life’s challenging and hard, and we stick together and move on.”
Mark was released in 2012.
“He’s just getting on with his life,’’ Kerrigan said. “I’m sure not easy when it’s brought up like this because unfortunately being my (brother) it’s brought up again, which is really too bad for him because he wants to move on with his life.”
Kerrigan still does the occasional skating show, she said.
“I drive and cook and clean,” she told Lauer. “That’s basically what I do now.”
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