There was no sign of Nancy Kerrigan on the red carpet, but Tonya Harding was smiling from ear to ear at the Los Angeles premiere of “I, Tonya,” director Craig Gillespie’s movie about the former figure skater and her involvement in the bizarre episode prior to the 1994 Winter Olympics that left Kerrigan wounded.
Harding posed with Margot Robbie, the Aussie actress who plays the former skater in the movie, and also chatted with Gillespie and actress Allison Janney, who plays Harding’s fierce, foul-mouthed mom, LaVona. (Kerrigan, who has said she’s not interested in the movie, is played by actress Caitlin Carver.)
Harding appeared to wipe away tears as she made her way into the Egyptian Theatre Tuesday night. Sebastian Stan, who plays Harding’s exJeff Gillooly, told People.com he was unsure how to approach the infamous former figure skater.
“I don’t know if I should even say ‘Hi’ to her, I mean, I play Jeff,” he said. “I’m totally starstruck right now.”
Likewise, Janney seemed surprised to see Harding.
“Wow, this is incredible,” she told People.
Following the screening, Harding appeared on stage and received a standing ovation, which would have been unimaginable 20 years ago.
In 1994, Kerrigan, a Stoneham native, was attacked by a man who struck her on her knee at a practice, injuring her and forcing her to withdraw from the US Figure Skating Championships in Detroit. An investigation found that Gillooly and other members of Harding’s camp planned the attack. Harding herself pleaded guilty to conspiracy to hinder the prosecution. She was banned from the US Figure Skating Association for life.
Weeks after the attack, Kerrigan went on to win a silver medal at the 1994 Winter Olympics.
“I, Tonya” will be released in New York and Los Angeles Friday.