ABC's two-hour special 'Truth and Lies' revisits the Tonya Harding story

Harding speaks about the scandal which got her banned for life from skating in ABC's two-hour television special, to be aired in June 16.


                            ABC's two-hour special 'Truth and Lies' revisits the Tonya Harding story

After being the subject of an acclaimed movie, one of the biggest scandals of American sports history is coming back in the form of a two-hour television special.

Last year, the Margot Robbie-starrer 'I, Tonya' garnered critical and commercial acclaim with its depiction of figure skater Tonya Harding and her connection to the 1994 attack on her rival Nancy Kerrigan.

The ABC television special 'Truth and Lies: The Tonya Harding Story' will include iterviews with Harding and several other media personalities who reported about the scandal.

The special is scheduled to be aired on June 16 (9:00-11:00 p.m. EDT). 

As was reported widely, the incident happened during the 1994 US Figure Skating Championships, at a practice session on January 6 at Cobo Arena when Kerrigan was attacked by a man on her knee, in a bid to take her out of the competition.Harding was the immediate and obvious suspect, as the two figure skaters were set to go head to head during the 1994 Winter Olympics in Norway.

In spite of the US Olympic Committee attempting to disqualify Harding from competing, she was later allowed when she came back with a $25 million lawsuit.

However, around six months after the attack, the US Figure Skating Association banned Harding from the organization, also stripping her of the 1994 national championship title.  

The two-hour television special will feature an interview with Harding, where she will speak about her childhood and her alleged tumultous relationship with her mother, LaVona 'Sandy' Golden, and her ex-husband Jeff Gillooly.

The special will also feature interviews with Connie Chung (who had interviewed Harding during the 1994 Olympics on 'The CBS Evening News', during which Harding walked out after the first 15 minutes), Christine Brennan, sports columnist for USA Today and ABC commentator (who had reported as a staff writer with the Washington Post during 1994 Winter Olympics), Dody Teachman, Harding's former and current coach, Norman Frink, the former district attorney who prosecuted Harding and Gillooly, Matt Harkins and Viviana Olen, curators of THNK1994 (the Tonya Harding Nancy Kerrigan 1994 Museum in Brooklyn, New York).

It will also feature interviews with Sandra Luckow, director of 'Sharp Edges' (where Luckow focuses on the 15 year old Tonya making her way to her first National Figure Skating competition in 1986), sports broadcaster, Ann Schatz, and Golden Globe nominated actors Margot Robbie, Allison Janney (who played the character of Harding's mother, Golden), and Sebastina Stan (as Harding's former husband Gillooly) in the three time Oscar nominated movie 'I, Tonya'. 

Tonya and Kerrigan at the practice session in Coba Arena, right before the attack on Kerrigan. (Getty Images)
Tonya and Kerrigan at the practice session in Coba Arena, right before the attack on Kerrigan. (Getty Images)

Harding still maintains that she had nothing to do with the attack, however, it was soon revealed that the mastermind behind the attack was Harding's ex-husband, Gillooly, who plotted with a friend, Shawn Eckardt, to hire Shane Stant in order to keep Kerrigan out of the Olympics.

On February 1, 1994, he was sentenced to two years in prison, although he was released from prison in 1995. The couple divorced in August 1993. Harding too admitted to withholding information from police and received 500 community service hours, three years probation and was charged a fine of $160,000. 

The television special on Harding is the sixth installment of the No.1 rated “Truth and Lies” series. Launched in 2017, the first five specials were on the Menendez brothers, Charles Manson, Watergate, Laci Peterson and Waco.

Harding still maintains that she had no knowledge of the attack. (Getty Images)
Harding still maintains that she had no knowledge of the attack. (Getty Images)