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Kerrigan Defends Image After Fielding Criticism

From Staff and Wire Reports

A week ago, Nancy Kerrigan could do little wrong.

She had overcome one of sport’s most bizarre incidents--the Jan. 6 clubbing of her knee--to win a silver medal in women’s figure skating at the XVII Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway.

On Tuesday, she was responding to criticism of her actions since winning the medal Friday.

Kerrigan’s ice-smooth image suffered some cracks almost minutes after Oksana Baiul of Ukraine edged her for the gold medal.

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When she was told--mistakenly--that the medal ceremony had been delayed because Baiul was redoing her makeup, an annoyed Kerrigan was heard on television saying: “Oh, come on. So she’s going to get out here and cry again. What’s the difference?”

Kerrigan said her remarks were not meant to slight Baiul, 16.

“I’ve been through an Olympic medal ceremony before, and they are always very emotional,” she said in a statement. “Everyone cries. I was afraid the crowd was losing its enthusiasm and was starting to leave.”

Kerrigan left Norway before the closing ceremony to attend a parade at Disney World in Orlando, Fla., although Disney officials said the parade could have been held another day.

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Then, a TV report showed a videotape of Kerrigan, sitting in a Disney World parade next to a Mickey Mouse character, saying: “This is so corny, this is so dumb. I hate it. This is the most corny thing I’ve ever done.”

Responded Kerrigan: “I was not saying that the parade was corny or dumb. I enjoyed it tremendously. Riding down Main Street with Mickey Mouse--what could be better than that?

“What I was commenting on to my mother was her insistence that I wear my medal during the parade. Since I was a little girl, I was told not to brag. I was afraid it might look like bragging and I’m not comfortable with that.”


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