For those that really know me, they know I love the Olympics. Like, I really love them. Which to me is not weird. I love sports, and to me this has always been one of the greatest and purest examples of sports competition that exists in civilization.
I have long held in regard the 1994 Winter Olympiad as the greatest of all winter games. Tucked away in the mystical and beautiful mountains of Norway, the Lillehammer games truly felt magical and the last bastion of what I call the "pre-corporate" Olympics, when it really became a more business minded and corporate money extravaganza. The change would be seen just 2 years later in Atlanta in what was dubbed the "Coca-Cola Olympics". It wasn't necessarily a bad thing, but it marked a stark difference in the history of the Olympics.
I also love the 1994 games because it was historically significant for the sports stories. Obviously Dan Jansen comes to mind, and this, the final chapter in the saga of the Nancy Kerrigan/Tonya Harding ordeal. We all know what happened, and if you don't...well wow....anyway you should look it up. But it was a remarkable comeback and triumph over adversity for Nancy to recover from the injuries suffered in the attack to even skate here, and to deliver a gold medal worthy performance. As we know she only got silver as Oksana Baiul came from Ukraine to shock the world by the slimmest of margins, but it takes nothing away from the performance. And yes, I know there are many arguments to be had that Nancy should have won, i'm not saying I disagree (I don't want to hear this "she skated cautiously" nonsense), but that is a debate for a different day.
Lately, with the I Tonya movie that came out and the 30 for 30 that featured her, it seems like Tonya Harding is getting a second act of a sympathetic public, or at least history that looks more positively on her than I think it should. So, I make it my mission to resist that as much as possible. I don't want her to have a bad life or anything, I just think people should remember that Nancy was not the bad guy. Yes, I understand the troubles that Tonya had growing up and the struggles she had in her family life, but it doesn't absolve her or grant her innocence. She's really never offered a sincere apology to Nancy.
So on Tonya's birthday let's celebrate by appreciating Nancy. Who worked her ass of quietly, uncomplaining, staying clear of the drama, and focused on her recovery and skating to perform one of the most beautiful, emotional and graceful free skates in the history of the Olympics. It was a flawless performance, poised and regal, and will go down in history.