Olympic great Nancy Kerrigan on staying fit at 52: ‘It’s important to keep going’

Olympic figure skater Nancy Kerrigan discusses fitness, aging and the ‘notoriety’ of her 1994 attack.

Video transcript

NANCY KERRIGAN: It's so funny because people bring up comments like I can't believe you said this. I'm like, wait, I was 24 years old. Like, that's almost 30 years ago. I don't know why people feel that they're OK to say whatever they want that can cause harm or can cause fear. I'm grateful I don't understand it, frankly.

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Social media is a great tool. And it's something I can use for work purposes or supporting my kids. But it is a vehicle for people to just say whatever they want. Actually, it's the direct messages that people don't see that are really cruel. They bring up the past. And it's time to move on and move forward. And I don't see a benefit in life to be negative towards other people.

My name will be forever linked to being attacked, and with Tonya Harding and the whole incident that happened in 1994. But I think people forget I was just basically a bystander that was injured. Somebody injured me. I was just training and skating and doing what I do.

I had such a great support system that I was able to come back and compete seven weeks later at the Olympics, and how I was able to do something positive out of it. You know, how many people would want to put their children into a sport that seems dangerous and negative, or wow, look at the resilience, look at the comeback.

What my body has taught me in my 50s, that I'm still very capable. I do realize that people don't expect me to perform as I did when I was in my 20s, or even 30. Facing that reality is definitely a challenge because I have a very competitive brain still. But to be able to perform and to be able to still be athletic, it feels good.

I don't miss competing because I don't think I can compete at such a high level. And I really would only probably want to be at that high level. It's definitely a challenge for me to face reality that I'm not 25. And I can't stretch as far as I used to. And I can't move as easily. But if I stop moving, I feel worse. So it's important to keep going.

A strong, healthy body in your 50s is not easy. Exercise is really important. I can focus better, and I can think better and be more productive. If you're careful about what you eat, everything's easier. Your joints move better. So it's just important to treat ourselves well.

I worked with iFIT on this series that they did through the Olympics, where different athletes performed and it was like a champion series. It was just fun to be part of something so new and different, and be able to exercise with people. I would like to be true to who I am. And I think that's an empathetic, kind, thoughtful person. I think it's important for not just women to support other women, but people to support other people. To be there for another person not only may help them, but it helps you.

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