Sarah Marshall at The Believer:
First, the facts: on January 6, 1994, Nancy Kerrigan left the ice after a public practice session in Detroit’s Cobo Arena, where she was to compete in the US Figure Skating Championships the following day. “I was walking toward the locker rooms, away from the ice,” she said later, “and someone was running behind me. I started to turn, and all I could see was this guy swinging something… I don’t know what it was.” The man had been aiming for her left knee, but missed, instead hitting her on the lower thigh. Later, in an exclusive interview with Jane Pauley, Nancy put a brave face on the assault, reassuring Americans that she knew how lucky she was, because if the man had actually hit her knee she would undoubtedly have been unable to skate at the Olympics. She had to feel thankful, she said in a moment of good-natured wit, for his poor aim. By then, however, it didn’t really matter what she had to say. To the public, her injury had already been transformed into a gangland kneecapping, while the assailant’s weapon, revealed soon after the assault to have been a collapsible police baton, was routinely characterized as everything but—a crowbar, a wrench, a lead pipe—in an ongoing public game of Clue. Nancy, meanwhile, would be remembered not for anything she was doing now, but for the way she had acted immediately following the assault. There was room for only one image of Nancy in the public’s memory, and it had already been chosen.