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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Schumacher injury ..... Nancy Kerrigan whacked !!

Cricketers are larger than life……. as we follow even smaller games.. there are many other sports too.. Grenoble, a city at the foot of French Alps is in news … for wrong reasons .. as fans are converging on a hospital to honour their champion on his 45th birth day – sad that he is no position to understand -  critically injured in a skiing accident. There is news that French cops are hoping to get hold of a mobile phone video that is said to capture the moment, the sportsstar collided with a rock while skiing, leaving him fighting for life in hospital. According to German magazine Der Spiegel, a blurred figure, thought to be  the star is  apparently seen travelling off-piste at a "leisurely pace" of up to 20kph (12mph) before he fell. His head struck a rock in the French Alps and he was left in a critical condition in hospital.

Skiing is a recreational activity and competitive sport in which the participant attaches skis to boots or shoes on the feet and uses them to travel on top of snow.  The man in news is a retired racing driver – one who reigned at the top of the game ~ Michael Schumacher, a seven-time Formula One (F1) World Champion- widely regarded as one of the greatest F1 drivers of all time. In 2002 he became the only driver in Formula One history to finish in the top three in every race of a season and then also broke the record for most consecutive podium finishes. Schumacher and his younger brother, Ralf, are the only brothers to win races in Formula One, and they were the first brothers to finish 1st and 2nd in the same race, a feat they repeated in four subsequent races.

This is no post on Schumacher, his accident or on Skiing but more read on a trail…. Figure skates are a type of ice skate used by figure skaters. The skates consist of a boot and a blade that is attached with screws to the sole of the boot. Nancy Ann Kerrigan is a retired American figure skater. She is the 1994 Olympic silver medalist, the 1992 Olympic bronze medalist, a two-time World medalist, and the 1993 U.S. national champion.

Kerrigan gained considerable fame beyond the skating world when, on January 6, 1994, she was clubbed in the right knee with a police baton by Shane Stant during a practice round on the eve of the U.S. Figure Skating Championships at Cobo Arena in Detroit, an assault planned by rival Tonya Harding's ex-husband Jeff Gillooly and co-conspirator Shawn Eckardt. The incident became known as "The Whack Heard Round the World. Some of the attack and its aftermath was caught on camera and broadcast around the world, particularly the now famous footage of attendants helping Kerrigan as she grabs at her knee wailing "Why, why, why?" Although Kerrigan's injury forced her to withdraw from the U.S. Championships, her rivals agreed that she merited one of the two spots on the Olympic team. The USFSA chose to name her to the Olympic team rather than second-place finisher Michelle Kwan.

Kerrigan recovered quickly from her knee injury and resumed her intensive training. She practiced by doing complete back-to-back double run-throughs of her programs, until she felt completely confident in her ability to compete under pressure. The fame she acquired from the attack led to further professional opportunities; it was reported that she had already signed contracts for $9.5 million before the Olympic competition began. Seven weeks after the attack, Kerrigan skated what she considered to be the best two performances of her life and won the silver medal in the 1994 Lillehammer Winter Olympics, finishing second to Oksana Baiul. Kerrigan won the short program, but lost the free skate to Baiul in a close  5–4 decision. Then, while Kerrigan and bronze medalist Chen Lu waited over 20 minutes for Olympic officials to find a copy of the Ukrainian national anthem, someone mistakenly told Kerrigan the delay in the presentation was because Baiul had cried off her make-up and was getting it retouched. Kerrigan, with obvious frustration, was caught on-camera saying "Oh, come on. She's going to get up there and cry again. What's the difference?".  CBS chose to air the undiplomatic comment. This marked a distinct shift in the way Kerrigan was portrayed in the media, which had been somewhat protective of her image up to that point because of the attack against her.

Kerrigan then chose not to attend the closing ceremonies at the Olympics. Her agent claimed this was because Norwegian security advised her not to do so because of death threats that had been made against her, but this was later denied.  Instead, she left Norway early to take part in a pre-arranged publicity parade at Walt Disney World, her $2 million sponsor.

Nancy Kerrigan's Olympic skating outfits were designed by noted fashion designer Vera Wang. Along with Christian Lacroix's designs for Surya Bonaly in 1992, Wang's designs marked a new trend for couture designs in figure skating. Tonya Maxene Harding who was accused in the attack was  a two-time Olympian, and a two-time Skate America Champion. In 1991 she won the U.S. Figure Skating Championships and placed second in the World Championships. Her ex-husband, Jeff Gillooly, conspired with Shawn Eckhardt and Shane Stant to physically assault her skating competitor Nancy Kerrigan at a practice session during the 1994 U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Detroit.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

6th Jan 2014.

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