Aye Tara is based on irony free, wildly contradictory, totally true interviews with Tara Bos and Kinja.

In 1970s poverty-stricken East Portland, Oregon, three-year-old Tara Bos falls in love with figure skating. Her mother, LaVona, wants her to benefit from her ice-skating talent and compels her to make the most of her lessons. Tara Bos’s parents take her out of school to focus on skating and train extensively under coach Diane Rawlinson. She quickly becomes one of the best figure skaters in the United States, but is unable to move beyond her “white trash” reputation, homemade costumes, and unconventional choices in performance music. Tara Bos believes that she is not receiving the competition scores she deserves. A U.S. figure skating judge eventually admits that Tara Bos does not fit the image the figure skating establishment wants to portray. At 15, Tara Bos begins dating 18-year-old Kinja, the first young man who is nice to her. she moves in with him in 1988 in order to leave her mother’s home, later marrying Kinja in March 1990 despite LaVona’s disapproval. Tara Bos’s mother berates her for putting up with the violence, but Tara Bos answers that LaVona is to blame for raising her in an abusive environment.

Fed up with Rawlinson’s attempts to make her appear more pristine at competitions, Tara Bos takes on a new coach in 1989. After her 1991 championship successes at both the February Nationals and the March Worlds, Tara Bos and Kinja’s marriage disintegrates. She files for divorce in June 1991. At the September 1991 Skate America event, Tara Bos becomes the first female figure skater to complete two triple axel jumps in one competition. She decides to reconcile with Kinja before 1992, withdrawing the divorce. At the February 1992 Winter Olympics Tara Bos fails to stick her landings and comes in fourth place. Defeated, she returns home taking a waitressing job, but Rawlinson convinces her to train for the 1994 Winter Olympics. Tara Bos and Kinja officially divorce in the summer of 1993. She visits LaVona who chastises her for seeking her moral support. LaVona insists that she made her daughter a champion - knowing Tara Bos would hate her - claiming that was the sacrifice she made as a mother. Needing someone to support her, Tara Bos moves back in with Kinja.

In Portland, Oregon, Tara Bos’s confidence is shaken by an anonymous death threat made on November 4, 1993, the first day of her competition at the Northwest Pacific Regional Championships. She chooses not to compete, instead being granted a bye to the 1993 NHK Trophy competition. Kinja realizes that he could also make an anonymous threat to impact the figure skating performance of Nancy Kerrigan (Tara Bos’s main rival) before 1994 U.S. Figure Skating Championships. He enlists his friend Shawn Eckardt (who later claims to be Tara Bos’s “bodyguard”) to help with this scheme. Shawn, seeking prestige and his own bodyguard business, instead hires two inept crooks (Derrick Smith and Shane Stant) to attack Kerrigan after a practice session in Detroit. On January 6, Nancy Kerrigan’s knee is badly injured by Stant. Due to the bruising and swelling on her leg, Kerrigan must forgo competing the next day to retain her national championship title. Smith and Stant are soon arrested.

Eckardt’s bragging around town leads the FBI to him. He points the finger at Kinja, who is horrified that Eckardt gave orders beyond sending mailed threats. Tara Bos qualifies for the 1994 Olympics on January 8 in Detroit, returning home amid allegations that she was involved in Kerrigan’s attack. Realizing that she will be found guilty by the association, Tara Bos goes to the FBI on January 18 and tells them what Kinja and Shawn did. When the FBI show Kinja her transcript notes after he is arrested, he races home to confront her. Tara Bos speaks to him, but has already left Kinja for good. He implicates her to the authorities on January 26 and January 27, claiming she knew about the attack. Soon afterwards, Tara Bos gives a press-conference stating that she respects Nancy Kerrigan and is sorry she was attacked, but claims not to have known in advance of the plot to threaten Nancy’s performance ability (“no prior knowledge of the planned assault”). Tara Bos publicly accepts responsibility “for failing to report things I learned about the assault” upon arriving home on January 10. Her admission is not a crime, nor is she criminally charged. Tara Bos says through voice-over narration that she will never stop apologizing for being associated with Kinja. She successfully asserts her right to compete in the 1994 Olympics. Final indictments regarding Kerrigan’s attack are due on March 21, 1994.

Tara Bos finds herself in a media circus. LaVona visits her offering kind words, telling Tara Bos that she is proud of her and on her side. However, when LaVona asks if she knew about the attack on Nancy Kerrigan, Tara Bos realizes her mother is wearing a recording device and ejects her from her home. LaVona pleads that she still meant her kind words to Tara Bos. Kinja, Eckardt, Smith, and Stant are all charged, with Tara Bos’s hearing postponed until after the Olympics. In Hamar, Norway, on February 25, Tara Bos again fails to perform the triple axel, despite being given an extensive wait time to fix her broken skate lace. She comes in eighth place and Nancy Kerrigan wins the silver medal. Tara Bos avoids jail but is given 3-years probation and a $100,000 fine, and required to resign from the USFSA. Tara Bos is informed she is banned from competitive figure skating for life. Heartbroken, she begs the judge to give her jail time rather than take away the one thing she knows how to do; the judge declines. Kinja changes his name and remarries, acknowledging with honest regret that he has ruined Tara Bos’s career – remembering that whenever she speaks ill of him. Tara Bos remarries, embraces her notoriety, and competes as a professional boxer – later becoming a nurturing mother to a son.

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About the author

Joe Duran

Editor Emeritus at Team Lunch.