Assailant attacks Nancy Kerrigan
ICerri m asks 6Wliy me?9 ' Tt- c r me uguic Muuei says she will try to compete today despite suffering a serious leg bruise. A Tribune Wire Service Report DETROIT Suddenly, he was there. Like Monica Seles before her, Nancy Kerrigan's future was jeopardized in a split-second of madness. Thursday's ambush came from a assailant who has yet to be caught and, like the man who stabbed Seles last April, may never be understood. What is known is that the air of security that used to envelop athletes took another shattering blow. "Why me?" Kerrigan, tears streaming down her face, asked her father when he saw her lying on the locker room floor at Cobo Arena. Thursday night, Detroit police were trying to determine just that after Kerrigan, 24, generally considered America's best hope for a gold medal in the upcoming Winter Olympics, was attacked by a man who used a blunt object to strike the figure skater above the right knee before fleeing the scene. "It was one bad guy," Kerrigan told ABC-TV Thursday night "I'm sure there's others and this kind of thing has happened before in other sports, but not everybody is like that. "The people who were worried about me, wondering what happened, those are the people that I want to tell that I'm OK. It's not the most important thing skating so if I can't I'll have to deal with it ... It could have been a lot worse." The immediate threat is to her chances of making the U.S. Olympic team. Kerrigan will try to skate in tonight's technical program at the U.S. Championships. According to United States Figure Skating Association rules governing the selection process, she must compete and place first or second in order to secure a spot on the U.S. roster. Current regulations do not allow for a medical waiver, and Kerrigan failed to earn an automatic spot when she did not win a medal in the 1993 World Championships. According to physician Steven Plomaritis, an examination revealed no broken bones, but the blow affected muscle and tissue See KERRIGAN, Page 6 . , " ' 1 1 1 v. r .J. $ K j M j v?4-.VW - I v'w A I lit" 4t 1 V - -' - i Associated Press photo Nancy Kerrigan practices Thursday, moments before she was attacked. Associated Press photo Nancy Kerrigan's attack sparked flashbacks to last April's stabbing of Monica Seles. Seles announced Thursday she would miss the Australian Open. Story, page 6 "She's really trying to be optimistic and J strong. But, initially, she was terrified. She has to understand that she is a visible person and -for the rest of her visible life, she'll need : protection." 5 Evy Scotvold, Kerrigan's coach "I was hoping we would not have one of these Monica Seles-type attacks on athletes, so this is horrifying. We are very concerned 'I about it." LeRoy T. Walker, USOC president "When you look at the nature of the injury, ; he was clearly trying to debilitate her 24 hours before the event. I don't think that is even speculation." Steven Plomaritis, orthopedic surgeon. "I think it scares everyone out there that f something like this could happen. You just ; have to go on, focus your concentration on I what's the important thing and do your best." i Kristi Yamaguchi, former Olympic skater "When he was swinging it, it looked like it 4 had a bit of a whip to it." J Dana Scarton, reporter who was interviewing Kerrigan when the attack occurred "It's just horrifying. Why would anyone I want to hurt Nancy?" : Tammy Moscaritolo, Kerrigan's sister-in-law "She gets a lot of letters that say a lot of things. There are a lot of people out there that say some crazy things in letters, but nothing that ever would have put her or us in any frame of mind to be particularly nervous or careful."