Former Olympic figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi sent well-wishes to fellow former Olympic figure skater Nancy Kerrigan on Twitter and her wording was... questionable.
Kerrigan, who is currently participating in this season of “Dancing With The Stars,” had her first performance on the show on March 20th, leading Yamaguchi to wish her luck.
Using a very familiar phrase to wish someone luck ― “break a leg!” ― Yamaguchi sent out this missive:
This was clearly an innocent tweet, not meant to invoke or reminisce on harm. Yamaguchi and Kerrigan are friends, but we cannot let the irony this tweet is drenched in go.
In case you need a reminder as to why this wording is so problematic, let’s go back to the tragic happenings at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Detroit on January 6, 1994. Competitor Nancy Kerrigan was walking through a corridor at the Cobo Arena after a practice session and was clubbed in the leg (her right knee, specifically) with a police baton by a man named Shane Stant.
The horrific assault was planned by Jeff Gillooly ― who is the ex-husband of Kerrigan’s skating rival Tonya Harding ― and co-conspirator Shawn Eckardt.
Kerrigan, Harding, and Yamaguchi had competed together just three years prior at the World Figure Skating Championships and won the bronze, silver, and gold medals respectively for the United States.
Post-injury, Kerrigan would go on to win the silver medal in the 1994 Lillehammer Winter Olympics while Tonya Harding finished in eighth place.
So, “break a leg”? We know you meant well, Kristi, but this word choice is... jaw-dropping.
Kerrigan didn’t appear to notice the irony in Yamaguchi’s tweet and simply thanked her for her advice.
We reached out to Kerrigan for further comment and her representation simply said, “No.”
As for Yamaguchi, her representative gave The Huffington Post this statement:
Kristi loves Nancy and has nothing but respect for her. No ill will was intended with the tweet and Nancy herself has received and commented on the well wishes that were sent. Kristi is finding the reactions on social media humorous but unfortunately for those who want it to have been shady, that’s not the case.
Oksana Baiul, who won the 1994 Olympic gold medal ahead of Kerrigan, has not commented on the interaction. But she appears to be busy living her best life.
Wishing you the best of luck, Nancy, on the rest of this season of “DWTS”!