Local skaters sound off about Tonya Harding saga and ABC special

DAVENPORT, Iowa -- Nearly a quarter-century after former Olympic figure skater Tonya Harding's mishaps, local skaters are still talking about the 1994 "whack heard 'round the world."

Figure skater Kristen McCutcheon was lacing up at The River's Edge in Davenport on Thursday, January 11.

"It's infamous," she recalled.

That's the notorious incident meant to disable skater Nancy Kerrigan.

"Figure skating became a sport that everybody knew about," she continued. "It was the infamous Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan, and what's going to happen next?"

A new movie, "I, Tonya," captures that mix of skating and soap opera.  ABC follows up with a special, "Truth and Lies: The Tonya Harding Story," airing at 8 p.m. Tonight, Jan. 11, on Channel 8.

"Everyone knew this was a big rivalry, but no one expected anyone to get beaten on the knee," recalled local coach Shari Baker.

McCutcheon says that the upcoming Winter Olympics, movie and television coverage are reviving the long-ago controversy.  There are lessons from the ice that still offer twists and turns.

"It's a teaching moment in the sense like, don't fall into the bad crowd," she said.  "But at some point now, it's kind of like a story from the past."

It's a legend that still lives on the ice and for those old enough to remember.  In some ways, it's a classic tragedy.

"We're all going to get together and have a little celebration to watch," Baker said.

Harding is portrayed favorably in the film and comes off brassy as ever on ABC.

"At times, I almost feel bad for her," McCutcheon concluded.  "Her life was on a train wreck that she couldn't get off of."

January is National Skating Month. The River's Edge will celebrate on Saturday, January 13.  It will feature $5.50 admission and $3.50 skate rental.  There will also be free mini-lessons to enjoy. It's at 700 W. River Drive in Davenport.