Awkward! Kristi Yamaguchi took to Twitter on Monday, March 20, to send a message of good luck to her fellow figure skater Nancy Kerrigan ahead of her debut on the season 24 premiere of Dancing With the Stars. However, the wording of Yamaguchi’s tweet raised a few eyebrows.
“So excited for you @NancyAKerrigan ! Can’t wait to see you grace that ballroom floor, break a leg! #DWTS,” Yamaguchi, 45, wrote.
Though it appeared Yamaguchi was merely sending her best wishes to Kerrigan, 47, several Twitter users were quick to point out the problematic phrasing of her tweet, which reminded many fans of the infamous Tonya Harding scandal.
More than 23 years ago, in January 1994, Kerrigan’s rival skater Harding’s ex-husband, Jeff Gillooly, hired a man named Shane Stant to attack Kerrigan, hitting her knee with a baton in an attempt to stop her from competing in the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway. Though the attacker didn’t break the Olympian’s leg, he came inches away from shattering her kneecap.
The violent attack made headlines across the world — particularly Kerrigan’s cries of “Why me? Why now?” — and is still considered to be the biggest scandal in figure skating history. A month after the incident, Kerrigan went on to win a silver medal at the Olympics.
Harding, meanwhile, was banned for life from the U.S. Figure Skating Association, while Gillooly, Stant, Harding’s bodyguard Shawn Eckardt and Stant’s uncle Derrick Smith all served prison time for their roles in the attack. The saga will be recreated in a 2018 biopic titled I, Tonya, with Margot Robbie starring as the disgraced figure skater.
See how Twitter reacted to Yamaguchi’s post below.