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The Portlandian, the Internet's premier source of Tonya News
February 16, 2019 Edition - SPECIAL TRIPLE AXEL DAY EDITION
(C) 2019 Portland Ice Skating Society
Happy Triple Axel Day! Yes, it's now 28 years since Tonya became
the second woman in the world (and the first American one) to
land that jump in Minneapolis back in '91.
Witnessing Tonya land that triple axel in person would be the
Tonyaphile equivalent of being at Woodstock when Hendrix was on
stage. Or being at a Pistols gig in '77, and getting spat on by
Sid Vicious. In other words, about as cool as you can get. For
the vast bulk of us who were not members of that privileged
elite, however, we must make do with YouTube to fill in the gap:
Here's the real version:
And here's the movie one:
Although it's been little more than a month since our last issue,
much has been happening in Tonya-land, so let's get right down to
it. First up, an important speaking engagement for Tonya that has
been recently announced.
TONYA TO RAISE MONEY FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE VICTIMS
Domestic violence is a subject that has been in the news a lot
over the past two years since the start of the #MeToo movement,
most recently with the documentary series "Lorena", which has
seen another 90's punchline, Lorena Bobbitt, getting an overdue
Now Tonya will be telling of her own experiences: she will be
speaking at the Domestic Violence Clinicís 20th anniversary
Celebration Gala and Fundraiser at the University of Oregon in
Eugene in March:
"This is me telling people what I had to go through and how I
have gotten through it," Harding said. "Iím hoping that I can
help someone else."
Merle Weiner, professor at the School of Law and faculty
director of the Domestic Violence Clinic, believes Hardingís
story will resonate with survivors and bring to light the work
done by the clinic in Lane County.
"We serve victims of domestic violence, stalking and sexual
assault," Weiner said. "Tonya experienced all these things ó
and she survived. Tonya knows personally how victims need to
be believed and supported, and how legal help can be beyond
oneís reach. We want to ensure that women like Tonya have
access to legal resources. We can help."
"Domestic violence happens everywhere," Harding said. "It
happens every single day and so much of it we donít see."
With this new platform, Harding wants people to realize that
for many domestic violence victims, talking to a friend or
picking up a phone and asking for help is a difficult thing to
"It took a long time for me to ask for help because I was
ashamed," Harding said. "I felt small, belittled and thought
that I didnít amount to anything. I had to realize that I am
worth something. Every day, I have to push forward no matter
what is thrown my way, and thatís really hard to do. But if
you want to succeed at just living life, you have to take it
one step at a time."
The event will take place on March 14, 2019 from 6:00Ė8:00 p.m at
the University's Ford Alumni Center. Tickets range from from $25
to $100 and include hors d'oeuvres, no-host bar, music, silent
auction, awards, and presentation from Tonya:
TONYA IN A WINTER WONDERLAND
Tonya has also been busy on Instagram - she's posted a new photo
showing her truck after a recent snowfall:
"I always knew I lived in a magical Winter Wonderland!" she
commented. Well, it might not be a white Christmas, but better
late than never. And since neither Winter Wonderland, Let It
Snow, Frosty the Snowman or Jingle Bells actually mention
Christmas, there's no reason why she can't listen to them anyway.
THE LONG SHADOW OF '94
The biggest Tonya-related event of last month was one where the
participants would have rather avoided the connection - January
saw the U.S. Figure Skating Nationals being held in Detroit for
the first time since the Incident. And landing on the 25th
anniversary of that event, it was wishful thinking on the part of
the organizers to think that Tonya's shadow would not be looming
Naturally the media didn't hesitate to use the opportunity to do
a full rehash. First up was the Detroit Free Press with a very
lengthy 25th anniversary article: interviewed are The Kwan, Benny
Napoleon and Brian Boitano amongst others. The saddest revelation
is probably Boitano's one that pro figure skating is now almost
completely dead; most startling one is that the organizers
actually considered using a midnight screening of "I, Tonya" as a
publicity gimmick - but unsurprisingly the USFSA nixed the idea:
"We were talking about promotion and media," Swallow said.
"The movie, 'I, Tonya,' was about to be released. I said,
'What if Detroit did something like the ĎRocky Horror Picture
Show,' where there is a midnight showing of ĎI, Tonyaí, at one
of our great theaters, and everyone can dress up in costume
and come. (U.S. Figure Skating) didnít like that idea, so we
knew to avoid the topic to some degree. But you canít. You
canít avoid it."
If the coolest thing you could be in the 1980's was a badly-
shaven vice cop from Florida, the coolest thing you could be in
the 90's was a top-level figure skater. Skaters were like rock
stars. Sad to say, those days are long gone.
TONYA STUNT DOUBLE COMPETES AT NATIONALS
There are some things you can always rely on.
That the Pope wears a funny hat. That the sun will come up
That Christine Brennan would write a Tonya-themed article while
the US Figure Skating Nationals were being held on the 25th
anniversary of The Whack in the same city.
For a moment, we thought we'd got away cleanly. What fools we
Fortunately this one is about something positive: also competing
was Heidi Munger, who was one of Margot's two stunt doubles in
the movie. She also plays one of Tonya's competitors, the girl
who is skating before her to classical music at Skate America
around 21 minutes in:
Here's some more pictures of Heidi, at the "I, Tonya" premiere in
L.A. - including some of her with the real Tonya!
A box of stuff Margot sent to her as a token of appreciation for
ALYSA LIU LANDS TRIPLE AXELS AND BREAKS RECORD
Even without the media doing their predictable regurgitations of
you-know-what, Tonya couldn't be avoided in other ways: the
Nationals saw Alysa Liu, who at 13 has become the youngest U.S.
Ladies champion, landing not one but TWO triple axels in her Free
Skate (and one in her Short Program as well), thereby giving the
announcers an excuse to mention Tonya again. Could we be looking
at the next Kwan?
ICY BLASTS FROM THE PAST
If '91 for Tonyaphiles was like Woodstock, then '94 was more like
Altamont. Here's a guy who was actually at the Joe Louis arena in
'94 when it all went down:
Ron Runyon says: "I'll never forget nor can ever accurately
describe the 'sound wave' of the rumor of what transpired once
off-the ice as it spread and circulated up into the stands. . .
It was distinct, roaring, person to person, upward row by row!!!!
... when my ice dance partner was told, then turned to me to
relay the news - I SAID 'You KNOW that was Tonya Harding and her
red-neck husband '... lolol, everyone laughed, I did not, I
KNEW!!!!! Nancy should kiss Tonya's big toe, WHAT OTHER SILVER
OLYMPIC MEADLIST can you name off! ?!"
You can read his full account here at the THNK1994 Museum's
He's also got a nice photo of himself and Tonya as well.
Meanwhile, Twitter user @ByColtonWood has posted pictures of his
copy of the official program from '94:
"The last time nationals came to Detroit was 1994, a year marred
with the Tonya Harding-Nancy Kerrigan controversy. John Engler
was the governor of MI and Bill Clinton was the president. This
1994 nationals official program is a real blast from the past."
Thanks to Olivia Rose Sanchez of the WeTonya Facebook page for
alerting us to this.
THNK1994 MUSEUM HOLDS RETROSPECTIVE EXHIBITION
This weekend also sees the THNK1994 museum in New York holding a
retrospective exhibition. In addition to the Permanent Collection
of THNK-related artwork, there will also be pieces from the
various special exhibitions devoted to Millennial pop culture
that they have held over the past four years:
- The Olsen Twins Hiding From the Paparazzi
- Yama Kippi Yay Bo: A Celebration of Kim Cattrall
- Popculturediedin2009: Nicole Richieís 2007 Memorial Day BBQ
- Real Housewives Pointing Fingers
- The Moon is a Planet, Darling
- Celebrities Smoking in the Bathroom at the Met Ball
- Davidís Dead: A Celebration of Tiffany Pollard
- Anna Wintour Double Crossing Her Legs
- The Fantasy Art of Celebrity Perfume
The Museum has come a long way over the past four years since it
started off its existence in the hallway of a small Brooklyn
apartment. If you're not familiar with it, this article gives a
good intro, along with pictures of some of the merch they've got
As an example of the kind of stuff they have, here's something by
- well, we don't know if we should even be mentioning his name.
It's Derek. Derek Smith. But definitely not to be confused with
that other Derrick Smith with a different spelling:
For more info, check out the details at:
ROCK OPERA RETURNS TO NEW YORK
The start of the month also saw a new performance of "Tonya &
Nancy: The Rock Opera" in New York, which took place at the
Lucille Lortel Theatre in New York on February 4th for one night.
Directed by Rachel Klein, the cast included Becca Kotte as Tonya,
Sara Jean Ford as Nancy, Cheryl Stern as both mothers, Jared
Zirilli as Jeff, and Heidi Friese, Chase Kamata, Ryan MacConnell
and Colin Barkell, among others, with Henry Aronson as Musical
Director. A selection of photos from the performance can be found
at the link below:
Word is that further productions "on both coasts" are in the
works. For more information, see:
TONYA'S NOT IN THE HOUSE
Long-time Tonyaphiles will know that Tonya has frequently had to
put up with people spreading false rumors about her as a way of
getting cheap publicity. January saw another example of this with
a rumor floating around for several days claiming that Tonya
would be on the upcoming season of "Celebrity Big Brother". The
rumor stemmed from a list posted by someone calling themselves
"Secret Susan" who claimed to be a Big Brother insider.
Well, the official list has now been released by CBS, and guess
what? Tonya's name was NOT on it. In fact, Secret Susan's list
was almost completely wrong, with only three names being correct,
and those were probably just lucky guesses anyway.
It's yet another case of some bulls**t artist using Tonya to
promote themselves. But hey, it keeps Tonya's name in the public
eye, so perhaps it wasn't a bad thing. And we can tell you that
Tonya will definitely be on the celebrity edition of "America's
Worst Cooks" in a few weeks, as that was all shot and in the can
AT THE VIDEO STORE: DIAGNOSIS MURDER - MURDER ON THIN ICE
"The Incident" has inspired several fictional stories over the
years; one of the early ones was an episode of the TV series
"Diagnosis Murder" from 1996 called "Murder on Thin Ice". For
those unfamiliar with the series, Dick Van Dyke plays a doctor
who is occasionally brought in as a consultant by his police
detective son to use his medical knowledge to solve crimes.
The episode starts in the expected manner, with a figure skater
being assaulted at a skating contest - but in this case it's the
Tonya-type skater who gets attacked. The assailant, who is
quickly apprehended, is a Gilloolyish-looking thug called Shawn,
the ex-manager of her Nancy-type rival Debbie (though it seems
he's more of a crazed fan than a real manager). However, it
actually turns out that the Tonya-skater has paid him 50 grand to
fake the attack so she wouldn't have to compete against Debbie.
When Gillooly-guy starts to get greedy and threatens to expose
the whole plot unless he gets more money, Tonya-skater kills him
by hitting him with one of her skates, and then swaps the skate
blade with those of Nancy-skater to frame her for the murder.
Like "Columbo" two decades before, it's a "how catch 'em" rather
than a whodunnit, with the mystery being what mistake the killer
will make that gets them caught rather than their identity. Van
Dyke's doctor eventually pins the crime on Tonya-skater after
recognizing that the distinctive marks left on the ice by her
triple axel places her at the scene of the crime that evening.
It's pretty dismal even by the standards of 90's network TV, and
definitely isn't likely to get any fans amongst Tonyaphiles. They
could have had the originality to make the Nancy-skater the
murderer, but at least they didn't call the villain "Sonya" or
"Tanya" or something else obvious, so perhaps we should be
grateful for small mercies. Main asset here is blonde hottie
Julie Benz as the Tonya-skater - who, as a former competitive
ice dancer, actually does her own skating here, thereby affording
the director more freedom as he doesn't have to hide the use of a
stunt double - and cameos by Peggy Fleming, Tai Babilonia & Randy
Gardiner as themselves.
This has been on line for some years, but only as grotty off-air
VHS rips, and only recently has it been uploaded in broadcast
quality. But if this is typical of what the rest of the series is
like, I'll be sticking to my old "Columbo" DVDs - in the case of
this episode, the diagnosis is one of call an ambulance.
SKATE IT LIKE BECKHAM
Finally, it seems Tonya has acquired another fan - footballer
David Beckham's seven-year-old daughter Harper. David and his
wife, former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham, took their entire
family ice skating at Queen's Skate Dine Bowl in London recently
to celebrate their son Cruz's upcoming 14th birthday.
The idea came from Harper, who has become a big ice-skating fan
after watching "I, Tonya" and was given a pair of skates for
Christmas as a result.
Sadly, David wasn't so competent, having to resort to a penguin-
shaped teaching aid to keep upright. I think we can safely say he
won't be exchanging his football boots for figure skates anytime
soon. And much as we welcome another Tonyaphile, we do have to
wonder why a 7-year-old girl is watching a 15-rated movie.
VISIT THESE GREAT TONYA WEB SITES:
PortIce - http://www.pdxiss.org
David House - http://www.tonyaharding.org
Charlie Main - http://www.charliesweb.com/tonya/tonya.html
Puppetboy - http://www.usapaul.net/tonya/
Valerie Smith - http://www.olywa.net/radu/valerie/LilHam.html
Swan Lake - http://members.tripod.com/~TonyaHarding/index.html
Blades of Gold - http://members.tripod.com/tmhfan/index.html
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