Tonya Harding is the inspiration for the Oscar-nominated movie, “I, Tonya”. She is the first American woman to land a triple axel at the 1991 US Figure Skating Championship. Tonya was one of the most talented skaters and a rising star. But controversies ruined her career. Now, Tonya Harding net worth is just little more than $30,000.
That is a laughing amount for an athlete that was on the path to greatness. What happened?
Harding started her career during her childhood years. In the mid-1980s, she trained with Diane Rawlinson. Tonya quickly made up the ranks in the competitive skating ladder, finishing sixth in the 1986 US Figure Skating Championship. She followed it up with a fifth place in 1987 and 1988, and third in 1989.
Harding changed her coach after the 1989 Nationals Championship to Dody Teachman. In October the same year, she won the 1989 Skate America competition. But due to the flue and asthma, she finished just seventh in the 1990 US Figure Skating Championships.
Her breakthrough year came in 1991. At the US Championships, she completed her first triple Axel in competition. She was the first American woman to execute the jump. During the long program, she executed seven triple jumps, including the triple Axel. Harding won the US 1991 Ladies Singles title with the first ever 6.0 technical merit score since Janet Lynn in 1973.
At the March 1991 World Championships, Tonya completed the triple Axel again and finished second behind Kristi Yamaguchi.
After 1991, she never completed the triple Axel in competition again. As a result, her results went down. In April the same year, she parted with Dody Teachman but reunited in June.
N the 1992 US Figure Skating Championships, Tonya finished third. And then at the 1992 Winter Olympics, she finished fourth. During the 1993 season, she skated poorly and failed to qualify for the World Championship team.
In January 1994, Harding won the US Championships. She got stripped of her title later. This was the Nancy Kerrigan controversy and attack. More on that later on.
In 2002, Tonya Harding started a boxing career. She boxed against Paula Jones on the Fox Network Celebrity Boxing event, winning the fight. And on February 22, 2003, she made her official women’s professional debut. Tonya lost a four-rind split decision against Samantha Browning.
Her boxing career was under scrutiny from the beginning. Rumors were she had to fight because of financial issues.
Tonya did another celebrity boxing match, winning against Doug Stanhope. On June 24, 2004, she lost to Amy Johnson in a match in Edmonton, Alberta.
Due to her asthma issues, Tonya had to finish her boxing career. She finished with 3 wins and 3 losses overall record.
The Nancy Kerrigan Controversy
This event happened one day before the US Figure Skating Championship. On January 6, 1994, Nancy Kerrigan got attacked in a corridor after a practice session at the Detroit Cobo Arena.
The aftermath got recorded on a news camera. Shane Stant, the attacker, admitted he got hired to break her right leg. He turned himself to the FBI.
They confessed Harding’s ex-husband, Jeff Gillooly, hired them to attack Kerrigan. The intention was to injure Kerrigan so that she cannot compete in the Nationals or the Winter Olympics.
Harding won the US title, but both she and Kerrigan got selected for the 1994 Olympic team. On January 18, Tonya went to the FBI with her lawyers. After 10 hours of interviews, Harding changed her statement and said she knew of Jeff’s involvement in the incident. Later on she said her biggest failure was to publicly take responsibility for failing to report things about the assault.
Did she get any money from the movie?
The Nancy Kerrigan incident served as inspiration for the biopic movie “I, Tonya”. The movie came out 20 years after the incident.
According to reports, Tonya earned a total of $1,500 for her life rights. This might be the lowest sum anyone receiving for a motion picture. She also earned a percentage of the film’s profits.
But Tonya said her intention was to set the record straight. She thought “what is the worst thing that could happen” The worst had already happened”. So she said her side of the story.
Tonya Harding net worth is little more than $30,000. Because of her financial problems, she had to work following her skating career.
Other appearances include automobile racing, appearance on Dancing with the Stars, and Worst Cooks in America.
In April 2018, she entered the 26th season of Dancing with the Stars. She partnered with Sasha Farber and reached the Finals. They finished in third place overall. Celebrities on Dancing with the Stars earn $125,000 just for signing on.
In August the same year, she appeared on the fifth edition of Worst Cooks in America. She won the competition, with the $25,000 prize money going to the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital charity.
Everything went south after the Kerrigan incident. Harding pleaded guilty and got a $160,000 fine. She avoided an investigation but got banned from competing in amateur and Olympic competitions for life.
She lost sponsorships. Nobody wanted to get in the same sentence with her. Controversy makes companies break out in hives. Even more, she smoked in public even though she had asthma.
In the immediate aftermath, Tonya found a way to use the controversy to her advantage. She appeared in paid interviews and televisions appearances. One interview with Inside Edition in 1994 earned her $600,000. But just a few years later, in 1998, she earned $60,000 for a Fox broadcast.
She also worked as a commentator for a few shows. But she also worked odd jobs like construction work and painting houses. It is something she has to do to make ends meet. Other jobs include welder, a sales clerk at Sears, landscaping jobs, and deck-building jobs.
Today, she lives in rural Washington with her husband. He is a heating and air-conditioning worker. Sometimes, Harding joins him on construction projects.
We said Tonya Harding net worth is $30,000. But what about her personal life? Some might say her choices in personal life led to her downfall.
She began her relationship with Jeff Gillooly in September 1986. He was 17 and she was 15 at the time. They moved to a home in 1998 and got married in 1990. Tonya was 19 at the time. She said Jeff puts food on the table and a roof on my head. For a couple of years, he paid for her skating.
The reality is he helped her in the career. But the Kerrigan incident is what ruined everything. They got a divorce in August 1993.
She then married Michael Smith in 1995 but got a divorce in 1996. Tonya married her current husband Joseph Price in June 2010. The next year she gave birth to their son Gordon.
Harding is still active in skating. She practices three times a week. During the Ellen DeGeneres show on February 26, 2018, she performed several jumps and spins on the show. Tonya still trains with her former coach Dody Teachman.