Tonya Harding is back on her skates with a reminder that everyone who makes a mistake deserves a second chance — at least when it comes to obtaining car insurance.
The disgraced Olympic figure skater, who has revived her image in recent years after the 1994 controversy involving rival skater Nancy Kerrigan, is featured in a new commercial for Direct Auto Insurance in which she pokes some fun at herself by saying that "we've all made mistakes."
Harding, 48, walks around an office in a red suit and tan ice skates as she talks about how "sometimes life doesn't go exactly as planned."
She delivers the message that Direct Auto Insurance is willing to look "past your past" to get customers the car insurance they need.
The two-time Olympian is one of three celebrities in the company's ad campaign who have endured disgrace. Rapper Fat Joe, who served four months in prison for tax evasion, and former NFL quarterback Johnny Manziel, who is out of the league following several controversies, are also featured in commercials.
"In choosing celebrities, we wanted to hone in on people who share the same everyday issues our audience faces,'' Nick Sonderup, executive creative director at Pereira O’Dell, told Ad Age. "Sure, they’ve risen to great heights in their careers and lives, but, at the end of the day, they’re just like everyone else.
"Direct Auto Insurance believes in giving them, and you, a second chance. We wanted to develop creative that celebrates that idea in a fun yet poignant way."
Cast members even admitted to being "star struck" when Harding walked the red carpet with them at the movie's Los Angeles premiere.
The film portrays Harding's rough upbringing under a domineering mother in Oregon and then the attack that made her a notorious sports figure. Allison Janney won an Oscar for best supporting actress for her portrayal of Harding's mother.
Harding was famously implicated in a plot led by ex-husband Jeff Gillooly to injure rival skater Nancy Kerrigan so that she would not be able to compete in the 1994 Winter Olympics.
Gillooly and bodyguard Shawn Eckhardt hired Shane Stant to hit Kerrigan in the knee with a metal pipe after a practice session in 1994 and injure her ahead of the Olympics. Harding went on to win the U.S. championship, but finished eighth at the Olympics in Lillehammer and was later stripped of her championship title. Kerrigan recovered from a bruised knee to win the silver medal behind Oksana Baiul.
Gillooly, Stant and Eckhardt all served prison time for the attack, while Harding was given three years probation. She was also banned for life by the U.S. Figure Skating Association.