Even in her glory days, Tonya Harding was regarded as a “white trash” figure skater. She never fit the image that was forced on her. She was poor, had a bad mouth, and a rough look. But she was a good figure skater. No matter how many people didn’t like her, they knew that she was good.
The movie, “I, Tonya” illustrates her life story; growing up in Portland, her skating career, and one of the most infamous scandals to ever happen in the Olympics.
Harding was constantly abused by her mother. If she didn’t land right, she was beaten. If she spoke her mind, she got hit. She was never “good enough” for her mother. Tonya just wanted her mother to be proud of her, for once in her life. Her mother drank, spiking her coffee with brandy for morning practices. She worked multiple jobs to pay for her training and always made sure that Tonya knew that. Her mother even threw a steak knife at her once.
Tonya’s coach, Diane, said it best: “Skating for Tonya is her ticket out of the gutter.”
Then Jeff came.
Tonya fell in love and married the first guy who told her she was pretty. However, Tonya moved out of one abusive household into another. They had a toxic, on-again off-again relationship, that often involved the police. During this time, Tonya was preparing for the 1991 Nationals. She became the first American woman to land a triple axel in competition. She was on top of the world: the highlight of her career. After that, things went downhill.
In 1994, Tonya’s teammate, Nancy Kerrigan, was assaulted, struck at the knee. The movie reveals everything you never knew about the Olympic scandal. Tonya’s life was in crisis.
As the investigation unfolded, her career came to a halt.
The movie, overall, was well done. The use of a filter gave it the vintage 1980s look. The clothing was spot on: puffy jackets and colorful scrunchies. There couldn’t have been a better cast to portray Tonya and the people in her life. It was great acting. The movie was funny, and brutally honest: it was real.
People think Nancy Kerrigan was the only victim in this story. When really, Tonya was a victim her whole life. She was abused, poor, no one believed her, and was someone who looked and lived a way that people didn’t approve of.
Despite it all, her famous triple axel is something no one can ever take away from her. Something that Tonya will forever be proud of.