About 25 years ago, U.S. figure skater Tonya Harding was a name everyone knew. It was almost impossible to not know her name in the early 1990s. Her name had been in newspapers everywhere, whether it was for being the first U.S. woman ever to land two triple axel jumps perfectly in one competition, or the huge scandal that was later attached to her.
Everyone had known her name, even if they weren't a fan of Women’s Figure Skating. The scandal had been an even bigger deal locally, because Harding had been the representative of the state of Oregon in the Olympics for figure skating.
The scandal Tonya Harding had been involved in was with her rival Nancy Kerrigan; Kerrigan’s knee had been bashed in by a mysterious person. It turned out that Harding’s husband had hired a man to do the job. Rumors and conspiracy theories went out everywhere about this incident, and soon, everyone knew about it. The true question was, did Tonya know about it?
Annie Wood a sophomore at Griswold High School seems to disagree with the theory that Harding was behind the attack. She states, “I don’t know, I don’t think she’s that horrible of a person.” Wood has been a fan of figure skating, and has definitely heard of Harding.
Seemingly, the youth of today don’t recognize Harding’s name anymore; even after the big scandal.
There may be fans of figure skating at Helix High School, but none of them knew about Tonya Harding. Wood had just been a special case. After learning the information on Harding, all the youth seemed to be interested in the story, even if they had never heard of her.
Wood seemed to especially be interested in learning about Harding’s achievements; and especially the scandal. She seems to take Tonya’s side overall stating, “I like Tonya, and I’ve always thought Nancy was kind of snobbish.”
After searching through other details, it turned out that mostly only adults knew of Harding’s and Kerrigan's name. Griswold High Senior Macey Tullis, a fellow enthusiast of figure skating, hadn’t seemed to hear of her either.
Besides their differences in knowing about famous figure skaters, both students agree that the sport of figure skating is one of the hardest sports out there. The two students agreed that it takes a lot of physical strength to do well, due to having the ability to be able to jump and land perfectly. Tullis, along with Wood, would know because of their avid watching of Figure Skating.
Tullis said, “The ability you have to do to do it, I would probably break every bone in my body.” Both of the girls wish that the sport was more popular and talked about its appeal, due to its grace mixed with strength. Tullis has been interested in figure skating since a she was a child and has taken a look at their own town, only to find a lack of opportunity to participate in the sport locally.
Tullis wishes that there was more space for more figure skaters to practice on Pendleton’s small ice rink, saying, “I think it’s a really difficult sport, but not a lot of people watch it or talk about it; there’s not a space around here for anyone to do it.”
The girls seem to agree that figure skating needs to be more accessible and “mainstream.” Wood would like to see more of the sport, and said, “Figure skating is awesome and I wish it was more mainstream.”
On a final note, fans of figure skating definitely seem to want to see the sport be played more often. Perhaps think of that the next time you turn on the TV to watch some sports. Consider figure skating a graceful, but otherwise “dangerous” sport.