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The Portlandian, the Internet's premier source of Tonya News
November 12, 1999 Edition - A SPECIAL DAY FOR TONYA
(C) 1999 Portland Ice Skating Society
Today is Tonya's birthday, her last one of the millennium, so
we'd like to collect some birthday greetings for her. So why not
wish Tonya happy birthday? All you have to do is to go to any of
the Tonya sites that have message boards and leave a message for
Tonya. Many of the sites listed at the bottom of this issue have
this facility. You can also share your thoughts of the ESPN
TONYA THANKS HER FANS
To all my fans:
Hi this is Tonya. How can I ever say thanks for all of your
support through the years. I am so happy that I was able to
skate again. This was a dream come true. I skated for all of
you, as well as my friends, family and myself. You gave me the
courage to go out there and skate. I want to thank each and
every one of you from the bottom of my heart! If I could thank
each of you in person, I would. But if I get the chance to
skate again, please know that my thanks goes out to each of
you when I'm out there. Thank you all so much !!
Love to all,
Tonya recently had a chance to catch up with a long standing
supporter at a local show in Portland where Tonya was a guest.
This lady, whose name is Helen, was one of the original fan club
members and she's in her 70's. We've been sent a picture of the
A word of warning: this file is a big sucker so it may take some
time to download if you've got a slow connection. But as any true
Tonyaphile knows, a photo of Tonya is well worth the wait.
And as you can see, Helen's even wearing a Tonya t-shirt (not
quite as cool as ours, of course, but an original)...
PART ONE OF THE HUNTINGTON REPORT
Tonya's Godmother Linda Lewis accompanied Tonya to Huntington and
has sent us this report about Tonya's comeback:
Part one of my trip to Huntington West Virginia with Tonya:
Dear Tonya fans:
I've been wanting to share the wonderful time I had with Tonya in
Huntington West Virginia. To say it is one of the most exciting
moments of my life would be an understatement.
Tonya and I left for Huntington on Saturday, Oct. 16th. We met up
with Michael Rosenberg and his daughter Whitney at the airport in
Pittsburgh. This is where we met with several of the other
competitors also. Everyone had been traveling for quite awhile.
It was so nice to meet everyone in person. There we all got on a
small prop plane for our final destination, Huntington WV. While
in flight, the stewardess said that the pilot wanted to meet
Tonya. She got to go into the cockpit, (no they didn't let her
fly the plane) ha! But she said it was so much fun to see what
the pilots see.
We finally arrived in Huntington around midnight. We were taken
to our hotel, and tried to catch some sleep. The next day, we
were taken to a practice rink, where Tonya got to go through her
programs. There was a lot of press there, and thus started a
string of interviews. Many of which I'm sure you've seen or read.
I have to say, that Tonya was very impressed with the media. They
treated her with respect while she was on and off the ice. I left
a little early, as I had to do an interview with a reporter from
England, via telephone. I got the privilege of riding back to the
hotel in a van with Jumping Joe and Alexi. These are two of Kim
White's favorites, so I asked if I could take a photo of them for
her. They very nice and obliged. Kim now is smiling, I'm sure, as
I sent her the photo. We ate dinner in our room, and met with Kim
White. Kim traveled to Huntington with her mother. They drove
more than 10 hours to get there. Kim is more than a fan, she has
become a very close friend to Tonya and myself. Together with
Stacey, Kim has a wonderful website for Tonya. Hats off to these
nice ladies, as well as Terry Hall, Charlie Main, David House,
Puppetboy and all the others with websites for Tonya. Without all
of your continued support, I truly believe that none of this
would have come to pass. It was really great to see her and her
mom. We had a wonderful visit. Monday we got to sleep in for
awhile, and then it was off to the Huntington arena where
Tonya got a chance to practice for that evenings first program.
She had a good practice (more media), and then we headed back to
the hotel. By this time, the nerves had really taken hold of
Tonya. I was very nervous too, but tried not to show it. She ate
a small dinner, and then we headed for the arena. It was so
exciting to be at this event. All of the other skaters were
wonderful to Tonya. Each one congratulating her and wishing her
good luck. She tried to relax, but as you know by now, she drew
last to skate. So it was a long wait for her. She did her warm
ups, and tried to keep herself calm. It helped a lot that the
others there were so nice to her. I stayed near her, so I didn't
get to see the other skaters programs until I watched it on ESPN
Monday night. I was proud of all of them.
Finally it came time for Tonya to skate. It was a moment in
history that we all have hoped for, and it was here. We walked
through the curtain, and out to the rink area. I knew that Tonya
was very nervous (to tell the truth, so was I). They introduced
her, and the rest is now history. I only hope that you were able
to watch the event on TV. It all seemed quite surreal at the
time. Tonya's music started, and she began her program. I think I
held my breath for most of it. I was so proud of her. The crowd
stood to their feet and gave her a standing ovation. There were
shouts of "we love you Tonya". Even thought it wasn't a perfect
program, it was still a wonderful moment for all of us. I don't
know of to many people that could have even stood, not to mention
skate under this kind of pressure. She handled it with class
and a smile ( and some tears of pure joy!!) After she left the
rink, there were hugs from everyone. Then on to more interviews.
We finally got back to the hotel, and tried to sleep.
Part two will be coming after you watch Tonya's second program!
Please do, it's spectacular!
When I write part two, I'll also include my trip to Washington DC
with Tonya for the Larry King show.
I will be sending photos to the websites of the two trips also.
Love to all of you for your years of support and belief and
prayers for Tonya... She has made it this far because of all of
you, so my heartfelt thanks to each one of you.
BLADES OF GOLD TONYA MAILING LIST
Kim and Stacey have started a mailing list for Tonyaphiles who
want to keep in touch or just talk about Tonya. It's at:
Note that if you are not currently registered with Onelist, you
will need to sign up at:
before you can read or post messages.
TONYA BREAKS NET AND TV RATINGS
Since our last report, Tonya has featured on CNN's "Larry King
Live" and made an appearance on the Geraldo Rivera show. This, of
course, is the second time Tonya has appeared on "Geraldo", the
last time being in July 1996. Back then, Rivera gave Tonya a warm
reception at a time long before it became fashionable.
Tonya's comeback has proved a big ratings winner both on line and
on the air. Tonya was one of the fifty top search terms on Lycos
for the week of October 26, coming in at #34 on the list, which
even put her ahead of Star Wars and The Simpsons:
Meanwhile, "Entertainment Tonight" scored its highest rating of
the season so far thanks to their two-part report on Tonya's
return, which aired on Oct 18 and 19 and averaged a 6.4 rating on
PEGGY COMES OUT - AS A TONYAPHILE!
In her new autobiography, "The Long Program": Skating Towards
Life's Victories", Olympic gold medalist Peggy Fleming has
several positive things to say about Tonya.
Commenting on the scandal that wrecked Tonya's career, Peggy
says: "Tonya came out of it as a villain, which I don't think she
was. She just surrounded herself with the wrong people, starting
with her husband and his thug friends".
"As a kid from a background not terribly unlike my own - parents
without a whole lot of money who had to scramble to keep their
very dedicated daughter in an expensive and demanding sport - I
could relate to her".
"She had a rebellious attitude." "I like some of that in a
NOT A PRETTY PICTURE
Watch out! The USFSA's skate police wants to get its grippers on
your camera - at least if it looks at all like it's a
"professional" model (whatever that means).
Skating shutterbugs who turned up at Skate America recently
hoping to get some good pictures were shocked to find themselves
continually harassed by security nazis if they looked like
hauling out any vaguely decent photographic equipment. When asked
for an explanation, rink staff responded that they were only
obeying orders - in this case from the USFSA - that any
"professional" photographic gear was not permitted except for
officially accredited press photographers. Unfortunately, some
security guards idea of "professional" gear seemed to include
anything from a Kodak Box Brownie on upwards, which was even more
annoying. It seems that anything that was capable of taking an
even halfway decent picture was verboten.
Speculation abounded on rssif as to the reasoning behind the
policy: some initially suspected it was prompted because of the
common problem of idiots blinding the skaters with flash guns -
but this didn't make sense, as it's exactly the sort of cheap and
nasty cameras the USFSA think are okay that are most likely to
have inbuilt automatic flashes, not the 35mm SLR's they seem to
be hung up about which generally have detachable flash units.
Others suspected that the skate Fuhrers in Colorado were
concerned that some people were exploiting the skaters by selling
their photos - but this didn't stack up either, as if this was
the case then surely the best solution is to ENCOURAGE as many
people to take as many good-quality photos as possible, thereby
flooding the market and driving the price of the photos down to
little more than the cost of the prints. Such a tactic would also
result in valuable publicity for the sport, surely something the
USFSA should welcome.
Attempts by one Usenet poster who contacted the USFSA to get a
straight answer as to the motive for the policy were fruitless -
something that doesn't come as any surprise to anyone who has
ever dealt with this organization. USFSA spokesperson Carrie Wolf
initially seemed to imply that the ban was so that the "value of
the our credentialed photographers does not go down", however
another senior USFSA official subsequently stated on r.s.s.i.f.
that the USFSA doesn't make any money off press photographer's
photographs. When questioned further, Ms. Wolf changed her story:
now they were worried that they might be sued by the skaters
should someone use photos taken at USFSA events in an
Exactly what this means was never explained. We can only assume
it means people doctoring them on a computer like a certain
Portland porn peddler likes doing to Tonya photos. If this is the
case, then the USFSA's solution is laughable. Anyone interested
in doing such a thing would simply use one of the authorized
press photos from a newspaper, website, or TV broadcast as their
source material rather than going to the bother of buying a
ticket and bringing their own cameras. After all, someone who
isn't concerned about a possible libel suit isn't likely to be
worried about a potential copyright infringement suit either. The
people who came up with this policy must be completely brain-dead
if they think they can somehow lock up all images of a skater and
"protect" them from abuse. And the skaters must be too if they
seriously believe that themselves. Certainly it's out of kilter
with other major sports that seem to encourage photography as a
useful way of promotion.
We at the Portlandian wonder what the true motive behind this
policy is. If it really is a genuine attempt to protect skater's
images from abuse then at best it's a half-baked and poorly
thought-through idea that is doomed to fail at its goal and
certain to alienate fans, a policy that is breathtaking in its
arrogance and witlessness even by the usual standards of the
USFSA. At worst, it's a cover for something more sinister, like
maybe a future plan to gouge fans and skaters for money by
cornering exclusive rights on the skating photo market (hardly
surprising considering that the USFSA is effectively the
Microsoft of figure skating), or most disturbingly, an attempt at
controlling what is reported by independent skating commentators.
This, of course, is not the first time the USFSA has tried to
censor coverage of their skating events: back in 1996 this
organization temporarily banned prominent skating journalist
Christine Brennan for several months for reasons that were never
made clear. We also have to wonder what their next step will be
if they're allowed to get away with this by skating fans. Perhaps
a complete ban on cameras altogether (which was apparently hinted
at as a possibility by Ms. Wolf)? Frisking everybody to make sure
they aren't carrying a camera? Making it a condition of entry
that people aren't allowed to publish anything about the
competition without prior approval?
We suggest that if the USFSA is really concerned about skater's
images being misused by Jim Maxey clones then a better course
of action would be for them to offer legal assistance to any
skaters who want to sue these bastards, rather than having
jackbooted security goons goosestepping over honest skatefans
who just want a few photos in a manner that could have well
have been inspired by Senor Samaranch's close mate General
Franco. The Brennan ban ended after a hail of criticism from
other media made the USFSA realize just what a bunch of dorks
they were making themselves look like in front of the sporting
press. Hopefully this latest PR blunder will suffer the same
fate in double-quick time, especially if fans make a fuss about
it. Perhaps a boycott of USFSA events by those aggrieved might
clarify the picture for them?
VISIT THESE GREAT TONYA WEB SITES:
PortIce - http://www.geocities.com/portice
Dave House - http://www.davidhouse.com/tonya/index.html
Charlie Main - http://www.charliesweb.com/tonya/tonya.html
Puppetboy - http://www.puppetland.com/mirrortony2.html
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
Jim Polk - http://www.angelfire.com/tn/tohar/index.html
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