It was the eve of the 1994 U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Detroit, and both Harding and Nancy Kerrigan had their eyes on the chance at Olympic gold. During a practice round, Kerrigan was struck in the right knee with a baton by a suspect, later identified as Shane Stant.
In a revealing new interview for ESPN Films' "The Price of Gold," Harding said the media attention following the attack on Kerrigan became too much for her.
"Trying to train in front of everyone was so much mania," Harding said. "Every time I'd jump, they would all flash, I would fall on my face and hurt myself a couple of times."
An investigation revealed that Harding's ex-husband hired a group of hit men to hurt Kerrigan and her Olympic odds. Harding denied any involvement in the plot, but there were suspicions about her possible role in the attack.
"I just couldn't believe what was being said and stuff," Harding said.
Two months after the attack, Harding pleaded guilty to hindering the prosecution, saying she learned of the scheme after the fact but failed to report it. Harding was banned from competitive skating for life.
Harding went on to a career in professional boxing to make a living. She remarried in 2010 and now has a 2-year-old son. She says she apologized to Kerrigan for her ex-husband's plot, but claims Kerrigan blew her off, something Harding still feels was rude.
Watch Tonya Harding's interview in "The Price of Gold" on Thursday, Jan. 16, at 6 p.m. PT on ESPN.