Shane Stant, the hit man who was hired to attack Olympic figure skater Nancy Kerrigan with a collapsible baton 24 years ago, has told Inside Edition exclusively that he is regretful for the act that shook the figure skating world to its core.
“The truth is, I just thought, ‘Well, I’ll do this and kind of go on with my life and she’ll go on with her life,'” he told Inside Edition.
He said there was talk of doing much worse to Kerrigan in the January 1994 attacks at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Detroit, Mich.
“There was initial talk of cutting her Achilles tendon, which obviously would cripple her,” he said. “I didn’t think it was necessary. I wasn’t willing to do that on top of that.”
Stant, who was 22 years old at the time, was hired by Shawn Eckhardt, a close friend of Tonya Harding’s then-husband, Jeff Gillooly.
He compared the “hit” to going hunting.
“At the time, you’re not humanizing the person,” he said. “You’re just like, ‘OK, this is kind of a job in what you’re doing.”
The attack occurred before Harding and Kerrigan were about to face off at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Detroit. Kerrigan had just finished a practice session and Stant was waiting in the wings. Just seconds later, he struck.
“There was a camera guy that was right behind her so I had to go behind the camera guy,” he recalled. “I probably was a foot-and-a-half behind him. I knew once he put his camera down and walked away it would shut off.”
Stant says that was his cue to hit Kerrigan. He hit the figure skater and kept walking.
There was panic in the arena and a frantic search for the suspect. Stant managed to get away though after crashing through a glass door. He was paid $6,800 dollars for the job.
He believed he was going to get away with it or else he “wouldn’t have done it.”
But when he saw footage of Kerrigan, he felt awful about his attempt to crush her Olympic dream.
“I had no problem until it saw the effect of it,” he said, admitting he felt guilty for what he had done.
It didn’t take long for everyone involved to get arrested.
In the movie, I, Tonya, the conspirators are played as a bunch of hapless incompetent goofballs. Stant has seen the film and he says he “liked it a lot.”
Questions still linger over whether Harding knew about the plot, and the controversy has been thrust back in the spotlight with the release of the film and a subsequent interview she has given.
When Stant was asked whether he believed Harding knew, he shook his head, saying, “I don’t know.”
Harding, however, is adamant that she never knew Kerrigan was about to be attacked.
“The only person who really knows is her and Jeff and I guess from what I know he’s saying she did; she’s saying she didn’t,” Stant claims.
He says he was never in a room with Harding and had never formally met her.
“No one ever told me, ‘this is what Tonya wants you to do,'” Stant said.
Stant says he’s happy Harding is getting her moment of redemption but he believes the one person who truly deserves an apology is Nancy Kerrigan.
He said that if he could, he would tell Kerrigan “that I hope that she understands that I was sorry for what I did and that I’m a different person.”
Stant served 15 months in prison and turned his life around after getting out. He became a bouncer and now owns a delivery company in Southern California.
His story will be featured in an upcoming documentary his sister is working on, called My Hero’s Shadow.
“My actions were idiotic, and obviously it could’ve [gone] a lot better. I’m glad that it didn’t because who knows where I’d be now, probably in prison or dead or something,” he said.
He believes getting caught was a blessing for him.
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