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  Harding Eyes Return to Figure Skating

By Christine Brennan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, March 20 1996; Page F2

Two years after she left figure skating in disgrace, Tonya Harding wants to come back.

"O.J. Simpson has his image back," Harding said in a recent interview. "I have done everything anyone has asked of me. What I want is a chance to skate again. I want my image back."

Responding to the requests of several reporters at the World Figure Skating Championships, David Hans Schmidt, Harding's newest agent, said an early April news conference is planned at which Harding, 25, will discuss her future. It is anticipated she will announce her intention to regain her Olympic eligibility, or, failing that, begin skating in professional events.

Harding has been hoping to skate again since getting kicked out of the U.S. Figure Skating Association in 1994 — and in fact could have been skating in the new made-for-TV pro events the past two years — but none of the promoters invited her, fearing a backlash from other skaters.

Nothing significant has changed yet, except that there have been indications that promoter Dick Button's professional competitions might have some interest in signing Harding

Harding, who pleaded guilty to hindering the prosecution in the Jan. 6, 1994 attack on Nancy Kerrigan, has paid $160,000 in fines and court costs and has one year remaining in her three-year probation. She skates almost daily at the rink in the Clackamas Town Center in the outskirts of Portland, Ore., and has landed a triple flip, once the third-most difficult triple jump in her repertoire. "Everyone is making money in the sport but me," Harding said. "I don't think that's fair, especially because I am the reason they are making all this money."

© Copyright 1996 The Washington Post Company

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