Adam Rippon's Honest Feelings About Tonya Harding And DWTS

Adam Rippon on Dancing with the Stars and his honest feelings about Tonya Harding
(Image credit: ABC)

Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon is currently winning over the judges and viewers on Dancing with the Stars' athletes-only season. As fans know, Rippon is not the only big-time figure skater competing on this season of the reality dance competition, as he's been competing against fellow 2018 Olympian Mirai Nagasu and two-time Olympian Tonya Harding. Now, Rippon has opened up about his feelings on Harding's legacy, as well as her placement on the show, saying:

I think it's great that she's getting to have a moment. I can't imagine what it's like to be her and have everybody just not want anything to do with you, so I think that it's really nice that she gets to have a moment. But I think it's also important that we remember that she was banned from skating for a reason. It wasn't taken away from her, she was part of something that was not good and should never happen again.

Adam Rippon shared his conflicted reflections on Tonya Harding with ET, when they asked for a follow-up of sorts to his comments earlier in the month. At the time, Rippon was asked about being on "Team Tonya or Team Nancy," and he answered by saying he was Team Nancy, with his reasoning being that "Tonya tried to kill someone." For clarity's sake, that is a crime she was never actually accused of.

On Dancing with the Stars's latest episode, Adam Rippon and Tonya Harding were both assigned the same dance style to perform. Rippon and his pro partner Jenna Johnson scored 37 points for their Quickstep, while Tonya Harding and her pro partner Sasha Farber scored 33 points for theirs. But Rippon didn't come off as boastful about it. And in his remarks, he didn't leave things off by talking about the past, following up about how Harding's experience on Dancing with the Stars is a good thing to behold. Rippon continued, saying:

At the same time... it's really nice to see somebody being able to have a moment and enjoy it, and you can see that she's really alive out there.

Adam Rippon's statements come as Tonya Harding has reemerged in the public spotlight over the past few years. Her stint on Dancing with the Stars is only her latest entry into modern pop culture. Harding was the subject of Craig Gillespie's biopic I, Tonya in which Margot Robbie portrayed the skater, earning an Oscar nomination for her performance. The movie's sympathetic narrative on Harding ran in contrast to the media's portrayal of her in the timespan that closely followed the attack on Nancy Kerrigan.

Following the film's release, Tonya Harding has appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and has been interviewed for an ABC special that focused on telling her side of that big scandal. A few months later, Harding joined the cast of Dancing with the Stars, and both she and Adam Rippon have successfully made it through the first two weeks. By surviving Week 2's elimination, they will make it to the penultimate week of the shortened competition.

New episodes of Dancing with the Stars air Mondays on ABC at 8 p.m. ET. For info on what is coming up on ABC and television in general, check out our guide to TV's summer premieres. Find out exactly when the Dancing with the Stars Season 26 finale will air by checking out our guide to the upcoming slot of season finales.

Britt Lawrence

Like a contented Hallmark movie character, Britt happily lives in the same city she grew up in. Along with movies and television, she is passionate about competitive figure skating. She has been writing about entertainment for 5 years, and as you may suspect, still finds it as entertaining to do as when she began.