PORTLAND, Ore. -- Twenty-four hours after threatening to abruptly end a satellite-interview with Piers Morgan on Good Morning Britain, Oregon’s infamous Olympian laid out her case for sympathy again Wednesday in an intimate New York Times article titled “Tonya Harding Would Like Her Apology Now”.
In the piece, Mrs. Tonya Price, a now re-married mother of one, discusses everything from first spotting her husband singing “Great Balls of Fire” on a karaoke stage in 2010 to the mistreatment and abuse she feels she endured at the hands of the public, the media and even her home state.
“I moved from Oregon to Washington because Oregon was buttheads,” she’s quoted as saying. “’It’s like, how can I disappoint a whole state? Wait a second, how can I disappoint a whole country?’”
Harding has been on a high-profile media tour in conjunction with the publicity of "I, Tonya", the feature film based on interviews with Harding, her mother, her ex-husband and the friend convicted of hiring a man to club Nancy Kerrigan in the knee at the January 1994 U.S. Figure Skating Championships.
In the NYT piece, Harding calls the movie “magnificent,” with the writer adding “The reason she loves the movie is because it conveys something she doesn’t feel was ever conveyed before. There were mitigating circumstances. Her life was terrible. She was beaten. She was threatened. You don’t get this way unless you were counted out completely.”
Norm Frink, Multnomah County Deputy District Attorney in 1994, said despite Harding's portrayal in the film, she doesn't deserve an apology.
“There's no question she had a rough life and rough time. But apology for what? Apology for the fact that she committed a crime and got caught? I don't know what the apology would be for,” said Frink.
“Oh, she knew before [the attack]. There’s no question about it," said Frink.
"She didn’t plead guilty to that, but the evidence was pretty significant that she did… There were those famous documents found in the dumpster at the Dockside restaurant that indicated that she, in her handwriting… Before the actual hit on Kerrigan took place, there was going to be an attempt at her practice rink."
Months after the 1994 attack, Harding pleaded guilty to a felony charge of conspiring to hinder prosecution and was sentenced to three years’ probation and a $100,000 fine. She was also forced to resign from the U.S. Figure Skating Association.
“It wasn’t the most important case, by far, that we’d ever handled," said Frink. "I mean, there was nobody dead. There was nobody sexually abused. There was nobody who was robbed at gunpoint, and to have carried on in a prosecution where we have an acceptable plea agreement, just to try and prove the one point that she knew before… there’s no way that would have been in the community’s interest.”
KGW has a standing request in to interview Harding.