Maybe Kristi Yamaguchi should have just left it at “Good luck, Nancy.”
“Dancing With the Stars” alum Yamaguchi raised plenty of eyebrows this week when she extended her well wishes to fellow former figure skater Nancy Kerrigan, who’s competing on the current season of the ABC competition series.
Unfortunately, Yamaguchi’s choice of words could have been better.
“So excited for you @NancyAKerrigan! Can’t wait to see you grace that ballroom floor, break a leg!” Yamaguchi tweeted at Kerrigan.
The traditional showbiz phrase “break a leg” took on a dark overtone in this case, in light of the 1994 attack on Kerrigan, during which she was clubbed in the knee with a police baton in a staged attack at the hands of an assailant hired by the ex-husband of her skating rival, Tonya Harding.
Talk about opening up old wounds, figuratively if not literally.
Twitter users were quick to make the connection, posting a flurry of GIFs expressing their shock and amusement.
“Kristi Yamaguchi wished Nancy Kerrigan luck on ‘DWTS’ with possibly the worst choice of words ever,” one observer noted.
“@kristiyamaguchi @NancyAKerrigan savage stuff Kristi,” another opined.
“@kristiyamaguchi whyyy, whyyy, whyyy hasn’t this tweet been deleted…are you that naive? #BreakALeg @NancyAKerrigan,” read yet another response, in an apparent response to Kerrigan’s post-clubbing query.
“That may or may not have been a good choice of words. O.o,” offered yet another Twitter user.
Kerrigan, anyway, seemed to take the comment in her non-injured stride, tweeting, “Thank you so much Kristi! I’m excited to get this started said for the advice you had for me. this its a blast!”
Yamaguchi is married to Bret Hedican, the former North St. Paul High School and St. Cloud State University star who played 17 seasons in the NHL and was a member of the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006, when they won the Stanley Cup. He also played in the Olympics in 1992 and 1996.
According to the Associated Press, Yamaguchi's spokeswoman says in a statement that "Kristi loves Nancy" and "no ill will was intended."