Where were you twenty years ago?
If your name is Tonya Harding you were on top of the world.
Not only were you kicking tail on the ice at the ’94 National Championship, but your biggest rival was just violently knee-capped by a “mystery” assailant. This left you the clear frontrunner to achieve your lifelong dream; a berth on the 1994 Olympic team.
It was truly the best of times. It would soon become the worst, as a conspiracy was uncovered implicating you in the assault.
The rise and fall of Tonya Harding took approximately one month. From relative anonymity to public enemy number one.
And things only got worse. Tonya went on to…
• An 8th place finish in the Olympics
• A lifetime ban from competitive skating, a fine and community service
• A starring role in a sex tape
• A job as a professional wrestling manager
• A failed boxing career
• An odd encounter where she saved an octogenarian with CPR
• A land speed record for vintage cars
• Countless police encounters involving many ex-husbands
You can’t make it up. She’s a modern day Forrest Gump. That is if Forrest Gump lived in a trailer park and free-based opiates.
So why did I lead you on this trip down memory lane recounting 20 years of bad choices?
Because it didn’t have to be this way.
In a brilliant piece written for Bloomberg, Kavitha Davidson recounts the story of what could have been.
We could be recounting the feel good story of a hard-working blue collar girl’s rise from an abusive home. How that girl not only dominated figure skating but also revolutionized it along the way. Tonya could have been that girl.
Davidson reminds us just how good Harding was. She remains to his day one of only two women who have successfully landed a triple axel in competition. This earned Harding a perfect score of 6.0
She was not a good skater, she was great.
You don’t get great by sleeping in, or taking shortcuts or being the “loser” that the media portrayed. So why does her story end the way it does? What led her from perfection to punch line?
Two key things
Accountability and the expectations of others
Harding failed to take the former and in the process lived down to the latter. Her own choices doomed her to be the white trash villain, rather than the persevering champion. Sadly, as recounted in Ms Davidson’s piece, Harding can’t, or *won’t* see that even to this very day.
It is the story as old as time. Adam only ate the fruit because Eve told him to and Eve in turn because of the serpent.
Pointing fingers is always easier than introspection.
But the result can mean the difference between playing down to expectations or meeting our full potential. We have all fallen short and failed. The question is, are you going to take ownership and seek forgiveness, or are you going to blame others?
You may remember your sins, but God doesn’t. They’re removed as far as east is from west.
— PassionNetwork (@PassionNetwork) January 4, 2014