1994: Tonya Harding wins national title, Olympic berth

Jan. 8, 1994

Tonya Harding wins the women's national figure skating title at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.

Every judge scores her first after she lands every possible triple jump for her second crown (the other came in 1991).

"I came here to win," she says. "I think I've proven myself worthy."

Nancy Kerrigan, the injured defending champion and 1992 Olympic bronze medalist, was not in the competition. Michelle Kwan, 13, is the runner-up and is named as an Olympic team alternate.

"It won't be a complete title without being able to go against Nancy," Harding says.HARDING

But the victory qualifies Harding, from Milwaukie, for the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway, where Kerrigan will be her U.S. teammate.

Harding, 23, hopes to improve on her fourth-place showing at the '92 Games and show off her skills.

"You guys say I'm controversial," she says. "So maybe I am. I guess I'm kind of the Charles Barkley of figure skating."

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