June 1, 2023

By now, most fans know what happened to infamous figure skater Tonya Harding. Of course, for many of the generation who has never witnessed the figure skater during the prime years of her career, most likely, Harding’s mark in pop culture has been marred because of the assault on Nancy Kerrigan. The recent attack was revisited in the movie I, Tonya, where it appeared that Harding wasn’t exactly the culprit behind the crime, but her on-again, off-again ex-husband, Jeff Gillooly was. While not all the events that took place in I, Tonya truly happened in real life, there’s one thing that’s made clear in the 2017 black comedy, Jeff Gillooly was a negative influence in Tonya’s life.

According to real-life documents, the relationship between Gillooly was odd from the start. The couple got together at a very young age, with Tonya being 15 years old and Jeff being two years her senior. The film showcases everything from Tonya’s perspective. The figure skater’s ex-husband came across as nice and sweet until marriage happened, and then the true monster came out in Jeff. Exactly how did Jeff feel about his relationship with Tonya? These two were young kids who got married by the time they were 21. Neither Jeff nor Tonya had truly experienced the world yet. In fact, Tonya says it herself, Jeff was her first boyfriend, so their relationship was still a new thing for both parties. Did Jeff love Tonya? He got married to the woman that’s probably an easy answer, but people aren’t as black and white as they seem. Since we never see Jeff’s side of things, we don’t know how he was prior to meeting the former figure skater. Was he popular with the ladies? Or was Tonya the only girl that gave him any sort of attention?

Tonya and Jeff’s love felt immature because both parties didn’t know how to truly navigate a real relationship. From Tonya’s perspective, she grew up with an abusive mother so it’s understandable why she thought Jeff’s toxic behavior was the norm for her, but was it a sign that Jeff just didn’t love the young woman? Perhaps he felt trapped in a marriage to the only woman who ever truly loved him. There’s no denying Jeff’s horrid behavior, but there’s an interesting layer that should be explored in regard to the way he viewed the world during his time with Tonya Harding. Of course, the meat of the story is the attack itself. Surprisingly, I, Tonya doesn’t particularly spend time building up to the assault on Nancy Kerrigan. We don’t ever see the planning stages of how the moment came together nor are we introduced into Kerrigan until very late in the film. Considering the fact that this prominent moment had a lasting impact on Tonya Harding and the sport itself, it’s surprising how little attention to detail that this film goes into when it comes to the surprising assault.

However, it’s reported that Jeff is the culprit behind hiring a hitman to do his dirty work. What actually propelled Jeff to pull a move like this? It’s been a battle of he said/she said, where Harding has stated that she didn’t know about the attack, though she heard whispers about a plan to take out someone else. However, diving into Jeff Gillooly’s world, it would give a stronger understanding on the method to his madness. What initial sparked this idea? Was Jeff trying to get Tonya’s love back? According to him, he did tell Tonya about the attack and he claims that she said it was a good idea. Is he being truthful? There’s still so many lingering questions to this bizarre incident. On the surface, it seems so cut and dry, Nancy Kerrigan was viewed as a threat to Tonya Harding and her then husband decided to execute a plan to take the former out of the equation. Clearly, there’s so many levels to the moment before, during, and after. How can this plan turn out to be so bad? Did Jeff feels any guilt as the attack was being carried out? What was Jeff doing during said moment? We’ve seen the world from Tonya Harding’s perspective, now its time to dig into the roots and focus on the mastermind who came up with the plan. The Nancy Kerrigan assault happened over two decades ago, but it’s still a notable incident that has rocked not only figure skating, pop culture as a whole. We may never know the honest truth about what went down during the moment leading up to the event, but it would give a greater perspective to show all points of viewing including the man who planned the infamous incident.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *