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 Figure skating section




  Kerrigan, Harding: Now the Rest of the Story

By Christine Brennan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, February 27, 1994; Page D1




HAMAR, Norway, Feb. 26 — On the day after the Olympic figure skating competition ended, Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding began heading down distinctly different paths.

Kerrigan is positioned to receive the most money any Olympic athlete ever has earned immediately after the Games. Harding has no endorsements to look forward to, and faces an uncertain future.

It has been said that an Olympic figure skating gold medal can be worth $10 million over a lifetime to the woman who wins it. But Kerrigan, who won the silver medal Friday night, already has signed corporate contracts with the likes of Disney and Revlon that are believed to be worth a total of about $5 million.

And three or four more deals are expected to be signed within the next week or so, said her agent, Jerry Solomon of Arlington, Va.-based ProServ.

Because of her flawless performance here, her all-American reputation and the unceasing attention she has received since the Jan. 6 attack on her knee, Kerrigan, 24, eventually might become the highest-paid Olympic athlete of all time, experts have said.

Harding, on the other hand, is scheduled to return home to Portland, Ore., Sunday, where she will find the criminal investigation continuing into her alleged involvement in the Kerrigan attack.

The U.S. Figure Skating Association also has scheduled a hearing for March 9 in Colorado Springs, at which Harding might be expelled from the organization for ethics violations and taken off the world championship team heading to Chiba, Japan, March 22-27.

Her attorneys have asked for an indefinite delay in that hearing.

In Portland, a grand jury has been hearing testimony and gathering evidence for more than a month in the Kerrigan case, and it has until March 21 to return any indictments.

Harding's ex-husband, Jeff Gillooly, said he hatched the plot to injure Kerrigan so Harding could have a better chance of winning a medal and making more money in the sport. So far, Harding reportedly had been paid $500,000 by the syndicated television show "Inside Edition" for a series of exclusive interviews.

The fortunes to be earned in figure skating by the two U.S. skaters parallel their performances here. While Kerrigan had the competition of her life, Harding was a disappointment, finishing eighth after two lackluster routines, not to mention the confusion caused by her broken skate lace during Friday's free skate.

As for Kerrigan, who also won a bronze medal at the 1992 Winter Olympics, she said today that she "is going to Disney World."

And right away. Kerrigan and her family travel Sunday to Orlando for a working vacation. On Monday afternoon, Solomon said, she will be in a parade at the amusement park. It's part of her new Disney package, which includes appearances at Disney World and Disneyland, a televised skating special, a skating video, a made-for-TV movie, a children's book, a commercial and at least one acting role in a Disney production.

Kerrigan recently signed a lucrative deal with Revlon, reportedly worth $750,000, to join Cindy Crawford and Lauren Hutton, among others, as one of six spokeswomen for the cosmetic company.

Solomon said that Kerrigan also will have her own ice show, another very lucrative proposition. In addition, a deal to make a Nancy Kerrigan doll is expected to be announced this week, and there even have been discussions about a Nancy Kerrigan coin.

All this is in addition to a variety of endorsements Kerrigan had prior to the Olympic trials. Those included Campbell Soups, Seiko, Reebok and Team Xerox.

"We had started discussions on these deals prior to the attack," Solomon said. "Nancy always has been very marketable. The stars are properly aligned for her."

In addition to the tremendous popularity of her sport, Kerrigan came along at just the right time. The Olympic calendar was altered for this year, with the Winter Games coming two years after the previous Olympics so they can be staggered from now on with the Summer Games.

So Kerrigan had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to compete in two Olympics within two years — and won medals in both.

Both Solomon and Michael Rosenberg, who represents Olympic gold medalist Oksana Baiul, believe Kerrigan did herself no harm by winning the silver medal.

"Nancy Kerrigan has broken all the conventional molds," Rosenberg said during the Olympic skating exhibition today. "Everything goes out the window with Nancy. Her performance was incredible overcoming this horrendous incident. She is one of the great ice queens of our time."

"The way the thing unfolded, she skated perfectly and got beat," Solomon said. "That happens. One guy pitches a no-hitter and another guy pitches a one-hitter and loses. She could not have done a better job. As a result, from a marketing standpoint, there's no difference."

Solomon added that the only potential negative effect of Kerrigan not winning the gold medal could come outside the United States.

"It would be that maybe she's not as marketable in Europe and other parts of the world as she would have been with the gold," he said. "But there's only so much she can really do. With so many things in place, there's not much more she can do."

This is not to say, however, that Kerrigan is entirely happy with the silver medal.

"It's just a little bit upsetting," she said after skating in the exhibition. "I was flawless, I didn't have any touch-downs, I didn't make any mistakes, I was clean. Oksana wasn't clean. She two-footed two jumps. But it's out of my hands. I can't complain about it. I skated great. I did what I came here to do."

She said her recovering right knee, which held up well through the short and long programs, still bothers her.

"It's stiff today because I didn't have time to warm up," she said.

What bothers her even more, she said, was all the attention she received here.

"I've been going through a circus," she said at a news conference earlier in the day. "It's pretty ridiculous, and I didn't like taking away attention from the other athletes. I didn't ask for the media to come in hordes and watch me practice. It was too much."

Kerrigan has plans to be in a parade in her home town of Stoneham, Mass., March 6, and will host "Saturday Night Live" March 12. She said she still is uncertain whether she will compete at the world championships in late March.

She will participate in a skating show in Richmond on April 9, and then begin the traditional, three-month-long Olympic skating tour April 10. The show comes to USAir Arena on April 16.

© Copyright 1994 The Washington Post Company

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