I, Tonya seems unfair to Nancy Kerrigan in its desire to give Harding her say | Richard Williams

The film strips away the rhinestones and makeup but wants to leave us wondering about the real victim of the attack on figure skater Kerrigan in January 1994

As we were reminded by the events in the Michigan courtroom over which Judge Rosemarie Aquilina presided last week, rhinestones and makeup are sometimes the camouflage hiding lives damaged by callous exploitation. The courage of the young women who stood up to speak of the sexual abuse committed by Larry Nassar during his time as the US gymnastics team doctor was particularly inspiring since it came from athletes whom we are accustomed to applauding, once every four years, in their guise as beaming infant-sprites, defying gravity and the restrictions of human physiology as they launch themselves around the Olympic arena in a blizzard of stag leaps and triple back saltos.

The last occasion on which rhinestones and makeup and an Olympic sport featured in a courtroom amid such headlines followed the brutal attack in January 1994 on the American figure skater Nancy Kerrigan, when an assailant came out of the shadows of the Cobo Arena in Detroit after a practice session during the US national championships. Blows from a telescopic truncheon were aimed at a knee in what was immediately interpreted as an attempt to prevent her competing in that year’s Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, then seven weeks away.

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