Shane Stant was one of the most notorious figures in the 1990s because he was nabbed for being the actual attacker of Nancy Kerrigan.
To some degree, his name faded away with more prominent figures like Harding’s ex-husband Jeff Gillooly and Harding herself getting more of the news attention. The new Hollywood movie on the ice skating caper, the Fargo-esque and well-received I, Tonya is changing that. It has a lot of people wondering: Where is Shane Stant, the Kerrigan knee-whacker, today?
For those unfamiliar with the story, a brief recapping, pardon the pun. Harding was a powerfully athletic figure skater who was able to complete the triple axel but came from the other side of the tracks. Kerrigan was the “American sweetheart” who was one of her main competitors on Olympic ice. Before the Olympics, a man emerged from the shadows and struck her in the knee, leading to Kerrigan’s famous and plaintive cry: “Why? Why?” That man was Shane Stant.
As the Bleacher Report explains, Stant’s uncle, Derrick Smith, called Stant, who was 22 at the time, in 1993 and asked if Stant “would hurt somebody for money.” Stant told the FBI that Smith asked him if he would “take down a skater.” The Bleacher Report added, “A man named Shawn Eckardt called and said it would involve slicing the skater’s Achilles tendon. Stant said no. He wouldn’t cut anybody. They settled on injuring the person enough so she could not skate.” He tracked down Kerrigan and whacked her in the knee with a metal baton.
What happened to Stant after he went to prison? “Accounts of Stant’s personal rehabilitation can be read in letters of recommendation he filed with a court in Oregon when he tried to have his conviction in the Kerrigan assault expunged. The letters—from his mom, his sister, a former Navy SEAL/Army chaplain and a lawyer who is a former military prosecutor—glow with praise for how Stant has turned his life around,” Bleacher Report notes, adding that, in 2013, Stant had not given an interview for 20 years, choosing a life of obscurity after the scandal.
Stant said he became a Christian and turned his life around. In 2005, Stant asked a judge to clear his felony record so he could try to become a Navy Seal. A juge in Portland, Oregon refused. His lawyer told the judge that “Stant had lived a law-abiding life since leaving prison and needed a break to achieve his dream of joining the SEALs.”
According to ESPN, Stant had moved to Southern California, where he embarked on a career in marketing. Online records show that he still lived in California in 2017.
Read more about what happened to Jeff Gillooly after the Kerrigan attack here. He changed his name to Jeff Stone and also went on to a life outside of the headlines.