Harding faces hearing but can compete: Figure Skating

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The Independent Online
Tonya Harding must face disciplinary proceedings for her alleged role in the attack on her American rival Nancy Kerrigan. American figure skating officials said yesterday they had 'reasonable grounds' to believe Harding violated their code of ethics with her role in the assault. There is nothing in the United States Figure Skating Association's regulations to allow for Harding's removal from the Olympics, so Harding will be able to compete at Lillehammer alongside Kerrigan, who was clubbed on the leg while training in Detroit on 6 January. The USFSA ordered Harding to appear before a disciplinary hearing that must be conducted within 30 days, but it could be held sooner than that if the skater and her attorneys agree, according to Bill Hybl, the chairman of the USFSA panel investigating the case. Sharon Watson, a panel member, said: 'We've tried to be very fair. I think we've bent over backwards to give Tonya the benefit of the doubt.' Harding left the Portland, Oregon, apartment where she has been staying after the announcement but made no comment. 'I don't think it would be in Tonya's best interest at this point to get involved in the hearings procedures,' Brian Burton, one of her attorneys, said in a radio interview. 'Obviously we're not happy that they decided it was sufficient to proceed. But we're not overly concerned at this point.' The proceedings could go ahead without Harding, whose ex-husband, Jeff Gillooly, and three others have confessed involvement in the attack. Harding has not been charged, but Gillooly claims she was deeply involved in the attack.

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