The Harding-Kerrigan scandal, and other wacky museum displays

If you’re into Olympic figure skating, you probably know about the blow that almost shattered a kneecap and the sport itself.

It was more than 20 years ago. Someone went after figure skater Nancy Kerrigan’s knee with a club just before the Olympic trials in 1994. Despite her injuries, Kerrigan went on to win a silver medal. Skating rival Tonya Harding was implicated in the attack and banned from the sport for life in the U.S.

I just never got into it. Reading about it now, it hit home that it was the supposed differences between them that made it such an American soap opera. Kerrigan was portrayed as a privileged ice princess, while “hardscrabble” Harding had blue-collar roots.

Technically, both were middle-class. Got to say Kerrigan’s always been the classier dresser and seems to honor the maxim that less is more when it comes to eyeliner.

Here’s what happened. And here’s them now.

If you still can’t get enough, and I don’t know why, you might want to include a pilgrimage to an apartment in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, address unknown, for a peek at the “Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan 1994 Museum“. It’s in the hallway.

The roommates that came up with the idea (after seeing a documentary) had some help — they raised $2,036 on Kickstarter. And they’ve been getting lots of press, including a swipe from Keith Olbermann. (Yes, they’re proud of that. I would be, too.)

Sour grapes on my part? No. Can’t blame them for trying, and wish I’d had a hallway big enough.

But the so-called exhibit raised about $2,000 more than it should have, IMO.

As I understand it, much of the money was spent on pictures from the time, which were blown up at their neighborhood drugstore, and mixed in with other historical footage. I take it they got the rights to all that stuff.

Fans of the idea donated some kitsch.

Admission is free, “but please don’t try anything weird and if you want to, you know, leave a little something on our dresser we won’t say anything,” declares their website.

To each his own, I always say. And I’d normally never pass judgment on a creative effort without seeing it in person.

I know they’re not going to lose sleep over this, but I’m not going to waste my time.

I don’t care that it’s a big bunch of nothing. I care that they thought trash was intriguing. And I’m greatly bothered that folks on Kickstarter gave a damn as well.

But this is America, after all.

What really bothers me are the organizers themselves. Take a look at this official tour video, and you’ll see what I mean. They call themselves comedians, or pardon me, performers.

I couldn’t get past more than a third of the 13 minutes of their schtick. The backstory about their flimsy collection is just not that compelling. They appear sincere; too sincere. Their delivery is so over-the-top, I had the urge to stick my fingers in my eyes, as well as theirs. And that’s being polite.

They keep trying to remind us that everyone is a Tonya or a Nancy. Um, no, they’re not. I don’t think the great philosophers were quite that simplistic.

At one point, one roommate says to the other “We see through you.” Yes, we do.

But hey, this is America.


Speaking of wacky museums, here’s something I hit upon a while back, written for The Dallas Morning News.

Plus, this seriously great place in Australia, for folks who really don’t like museums.

And skulls and cockroaches. Here’s a few more than I collected for, a former Travel Channel colleague’s site.

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