The start of the Sochi Olympics has been attended by all sorts of stories, sensational and informative, trivial and jingoistic. Some of these stories you might expect, like the security concerns, the new sports, or the hottest athletes, you may also have seen some that are more sobering, say, the stray dogs of the anniversary of Nodar Kumaritashvili’s death. Among the stories you might not have expected—or might rather not revisit—is occasioned by another anniversary, namely, the 20 years that have passed since the attack on Nancy Kerrigan.
While it’s easy enough to fall into tabloidy versions of this revisiting—helped along by Kerrigan’s new gig as a commentator for NBC—it may be more enlightening to reconsider the event by watching 30 for 30: The Price of Gold, now available on Netflix. Both careful and compelling, Nan Burstein’s film looks back on the rivalry between the golden girl Kerrigan and the hardscrabble Tony Harding as well as a number of related stories, not least being the TV coverage of every creepy or melodramatic moment. To that end, it offers a number of perspectives, primarily Harding’s, but also Kerrigan’s husband and manager, Jerry Solomon (Kerrigan herself declined to be interviewed for the film), as well as other skaters, coaches, and reporters, as well as Harding’s childhood friend. What emerges is a remarkable saga having to do with the vagaries of figure skating as sport, art, and industry, entrenched in all manner of corporate and commercial structures focused on selling product—from the Olympics per se to hair products to breakfast cereal. It’s an insight too often obscured by the lingering hysteria over Harding and Kerrigan.
See PopMatters’ review.