Tonya Harding

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Tonya Maxene[1] Harding (born November 12, 1970) is an American figure skating champion. In 1991 she won the U.S. Figure Skating Championships and placed second in the World Championships. She was the second woman, and the first American woman, to complete a triple axel jump in competition.

She became notorious after her ex-husband, Jeff Gillooly, conspired with Shawn Eckhardt[2] and Shane Stant to attack Harding's skating competitor Nancy Kerrigan at a practice session, during the 1994 U.S. Figure Skating Championships.


Early life

Harding was born in Portland, Oregon, the daughter of LaVona and Al Harding. She had a half-brother, Chris Davison (deceased). Her father had health problems that sometimes made him unable to work. Harding claims that her mother physically abused her, a claim her mother denies.[3] Harding began skating at an early age. She landed her first triple lutz at age 12. Her mother made many of her skating costumes.

She stopped attending high school during her sophomore year, and later earned a GED; she had started receiving invitations to international skating competitions while she was still in junior high school.[citation needed]

She married Jeff Gillooly in 1990, when she was 19 years old. Their tumultuous marriage ended in divorce in 1993, when she was 22.[4] She married 42-year-old Joseph Jens Price[5] on June 23, 2010.[6]

Skating career

Harding began to work her way up to the competitive skating ladder in the mid-1980s, placing sixth at the 1986 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, fifth in 1987 and 1988, and third in 1989. She was considered a strong contender at the 1990 U.S. Figure Skating Championships after having won Skate America 1989, but she had a poor free skate as a result of suffering from the flu and asthma, and dropped from second place after the original program to finish seventh overall. Harding was a powerful jumper and spinner, but performed the compulsory figures less well.

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