Memories of the Tonya Harding-Nancy Kerrigan Scandal 24 Years Later

It’s hard to believe that the whole Nancy Kerrigan attack and situation took place nearly 25 years ago. People who were not alive or are too young to remember it can’t fully understand what this was like. Without a doubt, that was one of the biggest stories ever. Today, something like that would dominate social media. In a way the fact that we didn’t have any tweets and things of this nature meant you could not escape it. Mainstream media could not get enough. It dominated news, shows, magazines, papers, and whatever else existed. Even WFAN got caught up in the topic.

When we finally got down to Olympic skating, the event was not shown live. People avoided hearing results so they could watch without knowing what had happened. WFAN drew criticism for announcing results. I had become a big Mike and the Mad Dog fan. Listening meant I heard the results. It’s tough to really compare this with anything today. Maybe a Super Bowl. I definitely can’t compare it with any recorded event. This was the ultimate reality show.

I have not been interested in Olympic figure skating since, and didn’t know about it at the time. WFAN wasn’t much about figure skating before then. There was confusion. People didn’t understand how scoring worked when combining programs. I finally found out and was excited to tell my brother. He arrogantly shrugged me off and boasted about knowing already. His interest in skating was always pretty strange to me. He spun around our living room and crashed into things, but that’s another story.

The event predictably aired in primetime. I remember listening to my Walkman. Yes, I still do this. Anyway, an up-and-coming young broadcaster named Ian Eagle was hosting. I listened to him while watching the CBS broadcast. He joked about how it really didn’t matter what he said because nobody was listening. Imagine that. Basically he expected that there would be no WFAN audience because skating was on. An event from hours earlier. I’m sure the radio audience consisted of me and not very many others. That’s why I compared it to a Super Bowl. If the station just aired a regular show against the Super Bowl, their ratings would probably suck. However, in 2018 people would still be calling in during the big game.

We will never experience these events and circumstances again. I feel like the whole hype and enormity was similar to the O.J. stuff, which happened months later. Johnnie Cochran and Tonya Harding were both mocked on Seinfeld. Probably because they were two of the biggest characters and storylines of that generation.

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