‘All Hell Broke Loose’–NPR’s Don Gonyea Relives Nancy Kerrigan Attack in 1994

Gonyea, then a WDET reporter, was on-site at Cobo Hall in Detroit when the attack occurred.

Don Gonyea

On January 6th, 1994 the country gasped collectively as news broke that Olympic figure skater Nancy Kerrigan had been attacked just weeks before the Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway.

The attack happened at Cobo Hall here in Detroit during a practice session for the U.S. Nationals, a qualifying event for the Olympics. There weren’t many people there during the practice when the attack happened. 

But one WDET reporter happened to be there — waiting for an interview with professional figure skater Brian Boitano.

That reporter was Don Gonyea, now a national political correspondent for NPR

“When I was waiting for (Boitano) to come through the door for our interview, all hell broke loose,” Gonyea tells Detroit Today host Stephen Henderson.

“I heard commotion, I heard screaming,” he says, although he clarifies that he did not witness the attack itself. But, he says, “pandemonium broke out.”

Click on the audio player above to hear the full conversation.


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