Nancy Kerrigan says she never got a direct apology from Tonya Harding

The figure skating star is hoping to take home the Mirrorball trophy on this season of ABC's "Dancing with the Stars."
8:26 | 04/25/17

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Transcript for Nancy Kerrigan says she never got a direct apology from Tonya Harding
Tonight, she's fought back from adversity repeatedly to become a champion. But watching two-time olympic medalist Nancy Kerrigan, you'd never know just how many hardships she's had to endure, including the most infamous one broadcast all over the world. Kerrigan is now a contender on "Dancing with the stars." Her shoes no longer have blades on them, but she's still turning heads with her electric comebacks. She was America's sweetheart on ice, dazzling audiences at the 1994 winter olympics. She's back on track. Triple toe, triple toe combination. Reporter: And elegantly sailing across the rink. ??? Free your mind and the rest will follow ??? now 47-year-old figure skating legend Nancy Kerrigan trading in the ice rink for the ballroom. Hoping to go from medals to a mirrorball trophy on "Dancing with the stars." Why do this? Why dust off your sequins and get in the game? "Dancing with the stars"? Yeah. Because it's fun to do something new, having a new challenge. I thought it would be really exciting. Reporter: It's been more than two decades since Kerrigan won bronze in '92. Nancy Kerrigan, United States of America. Silver in '94. But it's that same olympic grit that his her going for gold on "Dancing with the stars." Do you feel like your competitive juices are flowing again? Oh, yeah. I mean, I don't know if I've ever stopped. Reporter: Ever the fierce competitor, what the audience can't see is how she's suffering from back pain. Just before the show, four doctors told her she needed surgery. It was pain for months, like massive pain. One step, two. Reporter: She says nerve damage caused her right arm to atrophy. We got to the point where we had a lunch break and we went for a sushi and she couldn't lift a bottle of the soy sauce, and I was like, that could be an issue. That could be a problem. One, two, three -- Reporter: Now, like so many times before, Nancy says she's playing through the pain. A lot of people would be like, I'm getting surgery. Yeah, no. Scary. Why would I go through surgery on my spine? So scary. But you've performed at high levels in pain. Yeah. I mean, athletes do that all the time. Reporter: Perhaps no greater example of triumph over adversity, her silver medal performance in the 1994 lillehammer games. Just weeks before that moment she was embroiled in one of the biggest scandals in sports history, involving her olympic teammate and long-time rival, Tonya Harding. Nancy Kerrigan, the American figure skater who is widely considered the favorite to win a winter olympics gold medal, was attacked at a practice session for the U.S. Figure skating championships. Reporter: Kerrigan was clubbed on the right knee with a baton by an unidentified man. Why? Reporter: The whack heard round the world, as it came to be known. So you said why? I think it's a reasonable question, frankly. Like people made such a big deal and almost like complaining, like why would I say that? But I think it's a reasonable question. Reporter: When you look back at it now, what do you see? It's sad. Because I mean, it's almost like somebody else at this point. Do you want to say anything to us this morning? You know, I -- We can't talk about the specifics. Reporter: In a soap opera-like twist, it was Tonya Harding's ex-husband Jeff Gillooly who hired the hitman hoping to stop Kerrigan from making the olympic team. But Kerrigan quickly recovered and went on to skate the performance of a lifetime at the '94 olympics. Harding did not medal. What did you say to people who thought, well, you're only famous because of the notoriety of the attack? I don't know that anyone says that. Because I have two olympic medals. Like they didn't just give them to me. I mean, I worked hard for it. Reporter: Tonya Harding always denied any involvement in the attack. But she was fined $100,000 and banned for life from competitive skating. In 2009 Oprah asked Harding about her former rival. What would you want to say to her about all of this? Well, if she'd let me, I'd love to give her a hug. And just, you know, tell her how proud I am of her being able to, you know, go forward with her life. How would you respond to that? I have no idea. I don't know. I mean, how do you know how you'd respond? You never know. Do you feel like there has been an apology? Do you feel like there was, I don't know -- We talked. We were at an event four years after I was attacked. But we didn't really speak to each other. So it was very awkward and strange. So you don't feel like you ever got an apology? Not a direct -- does it matter at this point? At some point even strangers re telling me you look so thin. Reporter: Kerrigan's focus instead is on her upcoming film documenting the stories of athletes battling eating disorders, something that resonates with Kerrigan. I've never seen a doctor. I've never been diagnosed. And yet you did struggle with food issues for a while. After being attacked, I was being followed around by camera crews and everybody wherever I went, to the training, to the pool. I guess something I didn't pay attention to a lot for a while, that I was not eating and training. Reporter: Just before the '94 games Kerrigan says she inadvertently dropped 15 pounds as a storm of media followed her after the attack. My world was completely out of control. It was crazy. So at the time I do feel like that was something I could control but the problem with eating disorders I think it starts to really control you. And it became difficult for me to eat more. It was actually hard and almost like intimidating I think. Reporter: Kerrigan says she had to push herself to eat so she could be healthy enough to compete. Olympic hardships weren't her only struggle. Her road to motherhood was paved with heartbreak. After son Matthew was born in 1996 Kerrigan and husband Jerry Solomon tried for more children. But Kerrigan suffered six miscarriages over eight years. I don't know why, and doctors had no explanation for me. And yet you like a lot of women blamed yourself. Yeah. Because something clearly was wrong with me, it felt like. It's my body that couldn't maintain the pregnancies. So what was I doing? What's wrong with me? Or what did I do years ago? Or in my life to deserve that. Reporter: Solomon says those miscarriages were agonizing. What was it like as a husband, though, to watch her go from miscarriage to miscarriage to miscarriage? It's brutal. Other than to try and be there and be a sounding board, a shoulder to cry on or whatever, there's really nothing you can do. Reporter: It's something she opened up on "Dancing with the stars." I mean, this like almost felt shameful I think because I couldn't do it on my own. Reporter: Kerrigan and her husband, who also is her manager, eventually turned to fertility treatments. Their son Brian was borb in 2005. Daughter Nicole came three years later. She deals with adversity really, really well. And has a way of dealing with that, internalizing it so that she becomes stronger when she needs to become stronger. Reporter: Kerrigan now sees her tenacity in her own kids. Daughter Nicole and son Brian are both fiercely competitive gymnasts. Tuck tight. Do you need me? Reporter: They've shown interest in the family business. For most kids when they say mom, I want to go to the olympics, you're like oh, no. I mean, but they also have a little distorted view, I think. Like my mom did it, how hard can it be? Mom's done it, she did it tgice. Reporter: And it's that strength and persistence that may very well transform America's princess on the ice -- into one on the ballroom as well.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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