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First Skates First Dates star recalls nervous encounter with infamous ice-skater Tonya Harding

'When she's on the ice she commands the stage. Her jumping talent is phenomenal and she is an imposing figure, so I was a bit wary'

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Kori and Marina Plummer

Kori and Marina Plummer

Kori and Marina Plummer

This stunning Dublin-based ice figure-skating star once quaked in her skates when she got up close and personal with the most infamous skater of all.

Kori Schagunn, who appears on RTÉ's First Dates on Thursday, once lived in Washington state and was mentored by Tonya Harding's trainer Dody Teachman.

Harding was embroiled in scandal in 1994 when her chief rival Nancy Kerrigan was attacked and injured by a man hired by Harding's former husband Jeff Gillooly.

She was banned for life from skating after she impeded the investigation and the scandal was the subject of the Margot Robbie movie, I Tonya.

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Tonya Harding and Margot Robbie (Photo by Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for NEON)

Tonya Harding and Margot Robbie (Photo by Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for NEON)

Tonya Harding and Margot Robbie (Photo by Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for NEON)

"I grew up with that whole story because it's our area," said Kori (30), who has a regional title in ice skating.

She tells how she got an attack of the nerves when she came close to Tonya.

"I think I maybe said 'Hi' to her when I saw her, but you don't bother her when she's on the ice. She's a force.

"She was taping the Oprah Winfey Show at my rink and she was on the ice and I was on the ice before the show taped.

"When she's on the ice she commands the stage. Her jumping talent is phenomenal and she is an imposing figure, so I was a bit wary."

Kori ended up in Ireland after looking for work in Europe.

"There wasn't a lot for me, so one of my friends went to Italy as an au pair and I said 'could do that', so I logged onto a really dodgy website which I don't recommend and I ended up hitting it off with a family who live in Killiney..

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"I'm an internship co-ordinator for the Foundation For International Education as a day job and when there's not a pandemic I'm a professional improviser and sketch team writer and actor with Mob Theatre."

Kori is paired with Dubliner Marina Plummer on First Dates.

"I've dated feminine girls, I've dated masculine presenting girls. It's just about personality and an energy," she observes.

"It was fun to do the show and Marina is so lovely."

First Dates RTÉ 2 Thursday 9.30pm.

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