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The Portlandian, the Internet's premier source of Tonya News
November 2, 2000 Edition
(C) 2000 Portland Ice Skating Society
Welcome to another issue. We hope that everybody had a great
Halloween and didn't get any nasty tricks played on them. Either
way, we've got a treat - more Tonya news.
TONYA ON EYADA: NEW BOOK AND NEW VIDEO IN THE WORKS
Since our last issue, Tonya has appeared twice in interviews with
Kevin Cook on Eyada.com's "Skybox" show.
The first appearance was on September 28. This URL provides a
direct link to the show. Tonya's segment starts around 1:24:20
and ends at 1:43:11, so she was on for about 20 minutes. Be quick
- they tend to delete stuff off the server fast at Eyada. You'll
need either RealPlayer or Windows Media Player to listen to it:
Tonya started off talking about her book, which she is 75% of the
way through completing, the provisional title of which is "My
Life - Through Hell & Back" (let's see if our readers can come up
with something a bit less depressing before publication - we
suggest maybe "The Great Skating Swindle" or "Triple Axels and
Double Crosses", perhaps). Tonya says she sees it as a chance to
tell her story, as most people's view of her is through the
tabloids, which she says are 90% wrong. She explained how she has
long phone conversations with writer Linda Prouse in Canada
regularly, and this is where the source material for the book is
derived. A couple of publishers have been approached, but no deal
On the topic of future skating, Tonya says she doesn't want to
skate in a tour, just occasional appearances, or teaching kids to
skate. She also admitted she has never skated on a frozen pond,
despite often living in rural areas.
Tonya has moved recently. One piece of news is that she seems to
have reconciled with Darren. She says the incident with the
hubcap was a "one off" and that there have been no other problems
in the years they've been together.
Then host Kevin Cook asked Tonya if she would find watching the
Winter Olympics too painful, but Tonya said she will still watch
and root for the U.S. team.
Tonya also mentioned the web sites, including Blades of Gold and
the Portlandian, and described them all as "really good". She
also mentioned about how she was trying get Maxey's site shut
down and urged people not to go to it as it's "just horrible".
Cook described Maxey as a "cybersquatter", though we have much
worse names for him. Tonya says she reads all e-mails sent to
her, though obviously doesn't have time to reply to them all.
Finally, the topic of the Romanian gymnast getting shafted over
the cough medicine was raised by Cook. Tonya talked about all the
drug restrictions, and how they affected what asthma inhalers she
could use. This was interesting, as most of us tend to forget
that supposedly "bad" drugs like steroids can have legitimate
medical uses like asthma medication.
Tonya's second appearance was on the 16th of October.
Unfortunately, Eyada have now wiped this from their system,
despite the earlier show still being around. Kevin and Tonya
started off talking about Skate America, which was under way at
the time. Then they talked about the practice necessary to get in
shape for something like the Olympics. Tonya says she used to
practice around 4 hours per day, though she said some skaters
practice almost twice as long. She thought she didn't need such
long practice times herself and said she'd burn out if she tried
to practice that long.
Then Kevin logged onto Blades of Gold and looked at some of the
stuff there on one of the "updates" pages. He mentioned to Tonya
about the fund raising for her birthday (see below) and she
seemed quite surprised. He also inquired about the auction of
some Tonya items on E-bay and she said that it was all genuine.
He then mentioned the recent TNN appearance and then they started
discussing the upcoming video plans. This was where it got really
interesting, as it appears that there are plans to put together a
"Tonya's Top Ten" video of her greatest skating performances,
which she said she hoped would be out by Christmas or maybe early
new year. This sounds really promising and would certainly be a
valuable addition for any Tonyaphile's video collection. Tonya
had no idea when the earliest footage of her performing might be,
but she mentioned her first contest was just before she turned 4.
She won it, and also did her first axel there too.
Tonya said she has almost finished her book, and that Linda
Prouse's agent is soliciting offers from publishers. She says it
contains stuff that readers will find "very shocking to them".
She says people regularly approach her all the time with
questions about stuff they have read in the media, who have to be
Cook then read an e-mail from someone inquiring about Tonya's
dog, whom Tonya said was doing nicely. He sounds huge, as Tonya
says he weighs 210 pounds (which for the benefit of people
outside the U.S. means almost 100 kilos). She described the photo
session with him last Christmas, and how he got stuck to the ice!
The subject of the Masters Skating Tournament was then discussed
and Cook asked Tonya if she would be interested in competing in
one should the opportunity arise. Tonya admitted she'd never
heard of masters skating before but seemed keen, provided it
didn't take her away from her dog for too long.
Perhaps the most disappointing factor is that Tonya reckoned it
would take 6 months for her to get in shape for a competition.
Even for an exhibition she estimated 3 months without the triple
Axel, or 4 months with. This seems to smash any hopes we will see
Tonya performing this season.
Cook then finished off quizzing Tonya about the Triple Axel, such
as whether she thought we might see a woman doing one at Salt
Lake (she was doubtful, but you never can tell). She says she
landed her first one in competition when she was 12 at the
Pacific Northwest Regionals in Portland, but she was not given
credit for it because it was not landed cleanly. Tonya says that
it all happens so fast - she takes of at about 25 mph and the
whole thing lasts less than two seconds.
This will hopefully not be the last we hear of Tonya on Eyada -
her own show may start before the end of the year.
A BIRTHDAY SURPRISE FOR TONYA
Tonya's 30th birthday is coming up, so the good folks at Blades
of Gold were looking for something special to do to celebrate. If
you've got some ideas, why not drop by and let Kim and Stacey
They've also taken up a collection for Tonya. U.S. residents can
also make a donation via credit card at the Puppetland site using
WEB SITE UPDATE: MORE TONYA PHOTOS FROM PEGASUS TIMES
Tonyaphile Lisa Smith has had several Tonya sites running for
some time now, each featuring many beautiful photos of Tonya
skating, courtesy of such great skating photographers as Barry
Mittan. Now she has added another one at www.pegasustimes.com,
with many new pictures of Tonya that have never been published on
the Web before. You can find it at:
Lisa also has lots of photos of other skaters as well (including
some of Nicole Bobek, our second favorite skater) at:
So when you're finished looking at her Tonya photos you might
like to check these out too.
Meanwhile, David House has put a new messageboard on line at his
site, so you might want to help him give it a test run.
YAHOO! TONYA FANS DISCOVERED
Yet another group of Tonyaphiles has now been revealed, this time
on the Yahoo! Clubs network:
Founded by someone who goes by the name of "The Black Knight",
this has apparently been operating for some time (about a year),
but has been plagued by problems with a handful of idiots posting
ridiculous rumors about Tonya. Fortunately, the founder seems to
have now cleaned out these dimwits, and it looks like it has the
potential to become a serious Tonya discussion forum - which is
more than can be said for the Usenet Tonya groups, which today
are little more than dumping grounds for porn and spam. You won't
find any of that at this club, however, so we'd encourage people
to join up.
Many thanks to Joe Haran for drawing this to our attention. And
speaking of that subject...
THE HARAN CHRONICLES - PART 4: TERROR ON ICE
Last issue former "Skater" editor Joe Haran began the first of a
two-part account of his experience at the controversial Pacific
Northwest Regional contest of November 1993, where somebody made
a death threat against Tonya. In this issue, he concludes his
description of this frightening chapter in Tonya's career.
10 December 1999
Portland Ice Skating Society
To whom it may concern:
Well, let's see: last night I was in the middle of describing my
experiences during the 1993 Pacific Northwest Figure Skating
Championship (Regionals); and I just got done with the part about
United States Figure Skating Association (USFSA) tournament
referee Joseph Driano's merciless tirade directed at Tonya M.
Harding. As Tonya was still recovering from that uncalled-for
tongue-lashing by Driano, her attorney-at-law Dennis Rawlinson
finally arrived. I told him about Driano's actions, for whatever
good it did. Anyway, he and Tonya (with her coaches and
Gillooly) went into the rink office. Driano and all the USFSA
factotums were in there; and the blinds were drawn. After about
30 or 45 minutes, they all emerged: Tonya would not have to
skate in the Regionals and she'd be given a bye to the United
States Figure Skating Championships (Nationals) as long as she
skated in the NHK tournament at Kobe in Japan. Apparently
Rawlinson the attorney asked Driano and the shopping-mall
security chief to state whether or not they could absolutely
guarantee Tonya's safety at Regionals. The chief of security
said they could not. So even though the USFSA originally saw this
as a serendipitous way of eliminating Tonya from the Nationals,
Rawlinson pointed out that the USFSA would look ridiculous if it
said Tonya couldn't be guaranteed her safety and they were to yet
insist that she expose herself to danger by skating. So, the
USFSA gave in. At one point during the meeting, Tonya was told
the gist of the telephone threat and broke down in tears.
At that point -- a large crowd of journalists having by then
gathered outside the office -- it was decided by the chief of
security we would quickly exit via the office's front door, hang
a fast right to the nearby back-corridor doors and go double-time
through those utility hallways to the exit doors nearest the car.
The security chief asked me to lead the way and gave me a signal
when he figured the media throng was looking the other way. So
we went, escorted by the chief and other security officers. As
we emerged from the exit doors into the parking lot, one
television videographer had almost caught up with us; so I got in
the back seat, as we figured that's where he'd first focus his
camera. Tonya got in the front-passenger seat and sure enough,
the videographer turned on his sun gun and pointed his rig at me
in the back seat! So I waved and off we went. The first place
we stopped was at a large Fred Meyer variety store, as Tonya
wanted to purchase an indoor television antenna so she could
watch the local news coverage at 11:00 p.m. (they had canceled
their cable access, so all they could receive was a lot of
static). I told her it would be a good idea for her to issue a
statement to her fans and the public, saying how sorry she was
that she wasn't able to skate for them et cetera. Then, with her
father behind the wheel, I was driven home to my small rented
house in Northeast Portland (it wasn't long after that I ended up
moving in with her father). Tonya and I hugged and off they
Later, I heard from an excellent source (and eventually I saw a
print-out of the message itself) that a vice-president of the
USFSA -- whose name I cannot recall -- sent a message over
America On Line (AOL) stating several falsehoods: although I
cannot now remember all of them, one that sticks out in my mind
is his claim that Tonya was seen shopping at Clackamas Town
Center "within minutes" of the afternoon's skating session having
been canceled; and that this indicated she was part of a death-
threat conspiracy. Well, I was with her (except for her initial
exit through the back door of the skaters' area) nearly the whole
night until well after the shopping mall closed. Her father and
I even had her car in constant sight as we earlier followed her
and Gillooly to their home in Beavercreek.
Ah, yes! I remember now that another of this USFSA big-shot's
claims in his AOL message to lots of people was that Tonya must
have been involved in a death-threat conspiracy because she had
access to the telephone number the caller used (it was a number
for official USFSA use only). People to this day cite that as an
example of her "obvious" involvement. Well, folks, every other
skater and "skating parent" and official had access to that
telephone number as well; and since at least two other skaters in
that competition were very jealous of Tonya -- well, you get the
idea. Mind, I have come to believe that it is entirely possible
the death threat was a conspiracy; but again, given the fact that
Tonya sincerely wanted to blow everybody away via her programs in
that tournament, to show the public and the USFSA how wrong they
were in considering her a has-been (another media device used at
the time to denigrate her), I cannot conceive of Tonya being a
part of such a stupid undertaking. But I can easily believe
Gillooly and Eckardt (and friends) could have manufactured the
death threat. They were just that stupid, as how could they have
foreseen that things would turn out Tonya's way during an
unscheduled closed-door meeting?
Well, Tonya's reputation for courage in the face of crises was
confirmed when she skated in a scheduled exhibition at Clackamas
Town Center a few days later. She told me that she had to get on
with her life and not let demented people run it for her. She
also felt bad, as I could plainly see, that she'd let down her
fans and the public. (There had been a huge crowd at the rink on
the afternoon of the death threat; and they sure didn't come to
see a couple of unknown local wannabes.) Anyway, the exhibition
went forward before another huge crowd which overflowed into the
main corridors of the shopping mall (the escalators had to be
closed down as too many people were crowding onto them trying to
get to rink level). Tonya had, some days before, asked me to
contact a particular handicapped figure-skater who was a big fan
of hers and had always wanted to skate with her in an exhibition.
This young lady was a Special Olympics skater. I remember her
parents were near tears when I told them Tonya wanted her to
skate in the exhibition! Anyway, the young woman did skate; and
she was very nervous, of course; but it was the high point of her
life up to that time. Tonya was beautiful, of course: always
looking like a million dollars no matter what.
Well, that's all for now. More later! Best wishes to you.
JOSEPH A. HARAN, JR.
VISIT THESE GREAT TONYA WEB SITES:
PortIce - http://www.geocities.com/portice
David House - http://www.tonyaharding.org
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
Pegasus Times - http://www.pegasustimes.com/harding/
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