Skating star heads for Norway while rival heads for court

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The Independent Online
LOS ANGELES - The US figure skater Tonya Harding has launched an all-out battle to perform at the Winter Olympics by filing a lawsuit against the United States Olympic Committee seeking dollars 20m ( pounds 13.6m) damages and an injunction postponing a hearing over her possible disqualification, writes Phil Reeves.

Her lawyers want to delay the hearing, due to take place in Norway on Tuesday, because they say the 23-year-old needs more time to prepare her defence against allegations arising from an assault on her figure-skating rival, Nancy Kerrigan, by a paid attacker.

In what is becoming an increasingly muddled legal dispute, the committee has asked Ms Harding to appear before its 11-member administrative board to answer seven charges that she has violated standards of ethics and sportsmanship. It has asked her chief accuser - her ex-husband Jeff Gillooly, who has confessed to plotting the attack - to be available to tell his story.

Last night a court in Portland, Oregon, was due hear the application for an injunction. The committee has said it will honour the judge's decision and that - if the hearing is blocked - Tonya Harding will be eligible to skate.

Winter Olympics, pages 38 and 39

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