Conditions there were almost as bad. Kerrigan's room in the Olympic Village in Hamar was tiny, almost cell-like. Solomon had forbidden her to go anywhere without a security guard; she felt like a prisoner in the Olympic Village. At the Albertville Games in '92, where she won the bronze medal, she had roomed with fellow American skater Kristi Yamaguchi, a good friend and the eventual gold medalist, which gave the gregarious Kerrigan someone to hang out with, to eat meals with. But in Hamar she found herself uncomfortable in the Village cafeteria, where she was ogled by curious competitors. "Everyone would be looking at me like I was some sort of freak," she said.
When the news came on Feb. 12 that the U.S. Olympic Committee, under the threat of a $25 million lawsuit, was dropping its disciplinary hearing and allowing Harding to compete in the Games, the entire Kerrigan camp went into a seething funk. Brenda and Dan, still in Stoneham, were livid. Evy went on a one-night bender. As for Nancy, Evy had never seen her so angry. She was swearing a blue streak, and Evy had seldom, if ever, heard her cuss. The FBI had been keeping the family informed of the criminal investigation, and the Kerrigans had been led to believe that Harding might be arrested any day. In his testimony to the FBI, Gillooly, Harding's ex-husband, had implicated Harding in the planning of the attack. But she had denied being involved, no charges had been brought against her, and now Harding was going to be Kerrigan's teammate. To add potential injury to insult, the International Skating Union had ruled that Harding and Kerrigan would have to practice together. All of Kerrigan's worst nightmares were being realized.
But by the time Harding arrived in Lillehammer on Feb. 16, Kerrigan had gotten the anger out of her system. There would be no hugging between the two women, as Harding had disingenuously proposed—"She's never hugged Nancy before, why should she start now?" Mary Scotvold said—but Kerrigan did say a few civil words to Harding before their first practice together. "Tough month for both of us, eh?" Kerrigan said.
Harding, surprised, replied, "Yeah."
"Well," said Kerrigan, "I've got to get ready now."
Kerrigan seemed determined to prove she was just as tough as the hardscrabble Harding. She could easily have moved out of her cubicle in the Olympic Village and taken up residence at Heramb Farm, the handsome 19th-century manor 20 minutes north of Hamar where her parents were staying with Nancy's former sponsor, Lisa Webster. But Kerrigan didn't want it to look as if she were going out of her way to avoid contact with Harding. She did her best to enjoy the Olympics, braving the crowds to take in two U.S. hockey games and to watch U.S. speed skaters Dan Jansen and Bonnie Blair each win a gold medal. She dined out nearly every night with Solomon at the festive, buffet-styled Sea Side fish restaurant. "I'd never heard someone order dinner before they asked for a reservation," said Kerrigan. "Jerry would walk in and say, 'We'd like the chicken, the vegetables, some potatoes, some wine and a sundae. O.K.? And, oh, do you have a table?' I could never do something like that."
But the restaurant was happy to have her, and the sundae was delivered with an embarrassing sparkler on top. "Next time hold the fireworks," she told the waiter. One night she was serenaded at the restaurant by the Dutch speed skating team. "Nancy, Nancy, Nancy...were the words," she said. "They were led by some guy with a whistle."
Harding, by contrast, was spending her evenings with family and close friends in the house rented by her new best buddies, the folks at Inside Edition, the tabloid TV show. Allergic to the seafood that's ubiquitous on Norwegian menus, she ate at the house every night. About the only times she was seen in public were at her practices, which were abysmal. She never ran through even half of her program, either short or long. She was at her worst when her music was playing. In those rare moments when she did successfully complete a triple jump, her coach, Diane Rawlinson, a Stepford-wife grin plastered on her face, and her choreographer, Erika Bakacas, would applaud mindlessly, as if Harding were six years old.
So it came as little surprise on Wednesday night when Harding, wearing a red sequined elephant-trainer outfit that she had grown out of 10 pounds ago, stumbled through her triple Lutz-double toe combination in the technical program, effectively removing her from medal contention 30 seconds into her program. "She looked slow and tired and out of shape," said Jill Trenary, a former U.S. and world champion. Did that surprise Trenary? "Not after seeing her skate all week. She hasn't seemed happy or confident." Harding ended the night in 10th place.
Kerrigan, who was the 26th of 27 skaters to perform, felt a strange calm before her short program. It was different from anything she had experienced before. "I felt a little too calm," she said. "I had to tell myself, All right, this is it. This is the Olympics." She did some sprints before lacing on her skates to get the adrenaline flowing, but when she took to the ice, her face still betrayed nothing but peace. "She was so deliberate, with every gesture, every jump," Mary Scotvold said later.