Tonya Harding: Essay on Ice Skating
Tonya Harding was the first woman to ever land a triple axel in an international competition, which made her a world renown skater. Tonya Harding was never looked as like a stereotypical skater because her mom abused her as a child and she was not very supportive. She was never rich like many professional skaters, her mom used to make her dresses for skating instead of buying them like the others, and she would never have songs like Mozart for her solos. Tonya was always a person who wanted to become a successful skater and be better than everyone with her own style that ultimately led to Nancy being hit in the knee. Even though Tonya Harding was a successful Olympic figure skater, jealousy toward others motivated her to cause the attack on her rival, Nancy Kerrigan, as a result, she lost her career, and it ruined her reputation as an American skater.
At a young age, Tonya Harding had a toxic relationship with her mother and they lived in a small poor neighborhood which caused her to become jealous of many who were richer and had a better life as a child. Tonya was not as fortunate as other skaters, her mother was never there to encourage her and help her become a better woman. After her parents separated, Tonya did not have someone to look up to and “her own mother didn’t seem to like her” (Akner). Tonya moved a lot at a young age so she never had friends and her mother was always tired of taking care of her. Tonya skating was expensive, so her mother would abuse Tonya until she would get her jump right, which made Tonya hate her mom and it turned Tonya into an envious person who wanted a perfect life.
She was a terrific skater but did not have support from her mother that constantly said she was fat, ugly and that she would not amount to anything (Akner). Since Tonya was not a stereotypical rich skater, many had no faith in her and thought she was never going to make it professionally. When her parents divorced, she quit school so she did not have much of a social life with others but “her social life revolved around shooting pool, and smoking cigarettes, dancing, and drinking in bars” (“Tonya Harding”). As a teenager, she started making bad choices and became jealous of people who had a more joyful life because her childhood had been so terrible, she simply wanted to live a nice life without any problems.
Tonya received a lot of negative comments after the attack that she and her ex-husband supposedly planned which caused her to lose her whole career that she had worked so hard for. She lost her reputation as a skater since everyone only saw her as a criminal because she “received a sentence of three years probation, including 500 hours of community service, a fine of $100,000, and a forced resignation from the United States Figure Skating Association” (“Tonya Harding”). After the attack, she was like a celebrity, everybody made fun of her and she couldn’t go anywhere without being noticed. Her career as a skater was ruined because she wanted to get rid of her greatest threat, Nancy who had a perfect life with perfect parents.
Even if the attack was bad for Tonya’s image, figure skating became more popular by the public which led to “television ratings for skating events soared, resulting in new skating shows, competitions, and television specials” (Trevino). There were more films coming out about skating which included one about Tonya and the story of her life. Tonya knew she couldn’t be skater anymore and future skaters would not want to skate against her, so “she made a number of boxing appearances, as well as personal appearances around the country signing autographs” (“Tonya Harding”). Tonya did boxing, so she could let her anger out after she lost her career and even if she was not good at boxing she still did it for her own good. Tonya took the media and losing her career in a good way because she kept living a normal life by saving someone else’s life, and she did odd jobs here and there to regain her usual way of life.
Tonya Harding showed that one childhood can impact one to make a poor decision in life which can cost a career but one can move on and live a normal life. Tonya knew she could not skate again and if she skated people would not accept her, so when “she was asked to move to Australia to skate for that country and represent it? She turned them down” (Akner). She learned that when you make a mistake it is hard to come back and keep going, so it is better to move on and do something better in life. Tonya life changed when “she became a mother for the first time when she gave birth to their son” (“Tonya Harding”). Tonya turned her life around after the attack even if she knew she would still be judged for the actions she took. Tonya overcame failure and the comments by others and she still managed to live a great life without any jealousy involved despite her childhood.
Tonya Harding jealousy toward others who had a better childhood caused her, to attack another Olympic skater, which cost Tonya her career as a skater. Tonya had a rough childhood with an abusive mother and was always looked down upon. After the attack, Tonya received numerous hate comments from the media for her actions but she turned her life around by forgetting about her past and moving on. She learned and understood her mistake since it ruined her reputation but she still managed to become a mother and not give up in life. Even if Tonya will be remembered as the villain she still impacted many with the choices she made.