The film’s events start in the mid-1970’s when Tonya, just four years old, is neglected and brutalized by her mother who forces her to skate. As Tonya matures, she becomes one of the most important figures in the American artistic skating world, and her mother withdraws her from school so she can focus exclusively on her skating career. Tonya finally affirms her independence when she marries her boyfriend Jeff Gillooly.
But to her disappointment, things do not change much after marriage, because Gillooly constantly beats her and has many negative reactions from the skater community that she considers a “white mess.” She gets to compete at the Winter Olympic Games in 1992, but her performance is disappointing, reaching only 4th place and returning to a restaurant as a waitress.
After a while, Tonya tries to return to the sport world and to help her, Gillooly’s friend Shawn Eckhardt assumes the arrangement of an attack on Harding’s No. 1 rival Nancy Kerrigan. Things escalate very quickly, and the FBI comes in line, arresting everyone around her under the conspiracy charge. She is allowed to participate in the 1994 Winter Olympics, but she also does not get a better performance there, but she ends up finishing in 8th place.