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February 25, 1994 – Reports from Lillehammer + News On The Hour – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
February 25, 1994 – Big news this day came from Lillehammer, Norway and the 1994 Winter Olympics. On this day it was Women’s Figure Skating. On 6 January, Tonya Harding’s ex-husband, Jeff Gillooly and his friend Shawn Eckdardt, conspired with Shane Stant to club fellow female figure skater Nancy Kerrigan in the knee. Both Harding and Kerrigan were selected for the Olympic team. After Harding admitted to helping to cover up the attack, the United States Olympic Committee initiated proceedings to remove her from the Olympic team, but Harding retained her place after threatening legal action. In the ladies’ singles, Ukraine’s Oksana Baiul won ahead of Kerrigan and Chen Lu, with Harding finishing eighth. In the men’s singles, Russia’s Alexei Urmanov won ahead of Canada’s Elvis Stojko and France’s Philippe Candeloro. Relaxation of the amateurism rules led to several former stars returning, such as ice dancing 1984 Champions Great Britain’s Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean, who took a bronze behind Russians Oksana Grishuk and Evgeny Platov, and Maya Usova and Alexander Zhulin. In pair skating, the Russians also took a double, with Ekaterina Gordeeva and Sergei Grinkov winning ahead of Natalia Mishkutenok and Artur Dmitriev.
At the 1994 Winter Olympics, Baiul was second to Nancy Kerrigan after the short program of Ladies’ singles. During a practice session before the long program, she collided with Germany’s Tanja Szewczenko, sustaining a wrenched lower back and a small cut on her right shin, which required three stitches. She received two Olympic-approved pain-killing injections of anesthetics in her lower back and shoulder, which enabled her to compete in the free skate. She won the free skate over Kerrigan by the slimmest of margins, and so won the gold medal. It was a controversial win that was nevertheless defended as deserved by the referee saying Baiul skated in an artistic and engaging style while Kerrigan skated cautiously. She won the Olympic gold medal at age of 16 years and 101 days, becoming one of the youngest figure skating Olympic champions. Kerrigan placed second and Chen Lu placed third. Baiul was announced as the winner after Surya Bonaly and Katarina Witt completed their respective programs out of medal competition. In addition to her Olympic title, she was also named Merited Master of Sports by Ukraine in 1994.
There was other news this day, including the expulsion of Russian Diplomat. The United States expelled a senior Russian diplomat today after Moscow refused to withdraw him in atonement for its possible role in employing a Central Intelligence Agency officer who was arrested on espionage charges this week.
The diplomat, Aleksandr Lyskenko, whom American officials described as the top officer of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service here, was given seven days to leave the country.
All that, and much more for this February 25, 1994 as presented by CBS Radio Sports and CBS News On The Hour.