NBC Taps Nancy Kerrigan as Figure Skating Analyst for Sochi Olympics

Nancy Kerrigan 2011 - P 2014
AP Photo/Henny Ray Abrams, File

Nancy Kerrigan 2011 - P 2014

Figure skater Nancy Kerrigan, the victim of the whack heard around the world at the 1994 Lillehammer Winter Games, is returning to the Olympics. Kerrigan, who was clubbed on the right knee weeks before her appearance at the Games in a bizarre plot cooked up by competitor Tonya Harding, will serve as a figure skating analyst during NBC's coverage of the Sochi Winter Olympics, the network announced Tuesday.

Appearing at a press conference at NBC's Manhattan headquarters, Kerrigan said she is "thrilled to be a part of the Olympics again because it is truly an amazing event."

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Kerrigan will appear across NBC programs and platforms including Access Hollywood, E! and NBC's Today show.

She also has participated in an NBC documentary from veteran sports correspondent Mary Carillo, in which Kerrigan will speak for the first time about the ordeal that captivated the country 20 years ago and arguably kick-started the reality television genre.

"It's still one of the biggest sporting events in television history," said Carillo, referring to the women's figure skating final that earned an astounding 48.5 rating, a number unheard of in today's fractured media environment.

"What we tried to do was a character study," said Carillo. "It took years to convince Nancy. Tonya Harding has been very public for 20 years. She has used her fame and infamy to get all kinds of things; she was on a TV show, she boxed. [Kerrigan] has stayed very quiet. And I understand that. They both became something of a punchline."

Sitting on a dais in Studio 8H between NBC Olympics executive producer Jim Bell and Carillo, Kerrigan's face twisted into a frown as Carillo recounted the incident. "Getting attacked," said Kerrigan, "that's not something to celebrate."

The documentary does not yet have an air date. But it will air in primetime during NBC's coverage of the Sochi Olympics, which begins Feb. 6 with the team figure skating competition.

Kerrigan admits she was nervous about how she would be portrayed and that her on-camera statements "would get twisted and turned because that's happened before," she said. "That always made me reluctant to be part of something."

But Kerrigan said she agreed to cooperate with the documentary because she felt comfortable with Carillo and Carillo's longtime producer, Margaret Grossi.

"Ultimately," she said, "I trusted Mary and Margaret to really tell the story with my perspective."