As It Happens

Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan museum unveiled in New York apartment

It was one of the biggest rivalries in American figure skating. And it's about to be immortalized. Two comedians are opening a museum dedicated to the conflict between Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan — in their New York apartment.
In this Feb. 22, 1994 file photo, American figure skaters Nancy Kerrigan (left) and Tonya Harding work out during an Olympic practice session at Hamar Olympic Amphitheater in Hamar, Norway. (Doug Mills/AP)

Even if you know nothing about figure skating, you'll likely have heard of the names Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan.

The two American skaters had a rivalry that culminated in January 1994, when Kerrigan was clubbed in the right knee after a practice session.

The attack — planned by Harding's ex-husband and a co-conspirator — was dubbed "The Whack Heard Round the World." And it defined both skaters for the rest of their careers.

More than 20 years later, what started as a joke between two roommates has morphed into a museum for all things Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan — and it's located in the very long hallway of their home.

Creators and curators of the Tonya Harding & Nancy Kerrigan 1994 Museum: Viviana Olen (left) and Matt Harkins. (Courtesy of Matt Harkins)

"Tonya's trash and Nancy is the Ice Queen, but it really is not that true," Matt Harkins, a New York-based comedian and one of the curators of the Tonya Harding Nancy Kerrigan 1994 Museum, tells As It Happens host Carol Off. "I think there's so many sides you could just, you know, read into. And that's why we have this whole joke about you're Team Tonya or you're Team Nancy. But really the joke is that there's a bit of both in all of us."

If you happen to drop by the Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan 1994 Museum, you'll be treated to a Tonya Harding diorama, a cross-stitch of Tonya Harding, and artifacts from a journalist who covered their competitions, including a 1994 Olympics ticket and backstage pass.

A Tonya Harding-related diorama to be put in the Tony Harding and Nancy Kerrigan 1994 Museum. (Courtesy of Matt Harkins)

Both museum creators were about seven years old when the incident happened, but became fascinated by the Harding and Kerrigan story after watching a recent documentary.

"We finished [watching] it and we were just, like, blown away, by all of the details of this story," he says.

"it's unbelievable that they were able to accomplish what they were able to accomplish. And I think the little details of the story.. for example, when they went to practice at the Olympics, Nancy was wearing the dress she was wearing when she was attacked. And those details make it so much more interesting, at least to us."

      1 of 0


      To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

      By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.