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The Portlandian, the Internet's premier source of Tonya News
November 12, 2001 Edition - Tonya birthday edition
(C) 2001 Portland Ice Skating Society
In our annual Tonya birthday issue, we look at Tonya's recent TV
appearance, check out some more Tonya-related oddities, and hear
from an artist working on a pro-Tonya multi-media work.
TV GUIDE IS THE REAL WEAK LINK
As you'll be aware, Tonya appeared recently on NBC's "Weakest
Link" game show. Tonya, who was playing for a charity called
NOVA, performed well, surviving until the second round. Although
it is a pity that Tonya did not stay longer, she handled her time
on air with humor and style, as always.
For those of you who missed the show, or those who just want to
relive Tonya's appearance again, David House has put some clips
on-line in the movie section of his site:
Unfortunately, Phil Mushnick of TV Guide didn't seem too
impressed by Tonya's appearance. In an article in this week's
Mushnick is heavily critical of her invitation to be on the show.
The basic theme of his article seems to be that NBC has somehow
tarnished its Olympic image by putting Tonya on air. Tarnishing
Olympic tradition? What a joke - we didn't think that it was
possible to tarnish it any more given the drugs and bribery
scandals that have been exposed in recent years.
Trying to tarnish the image of the Olympics would be like trying
to tarnish the image of a certain notorious Arab terrorist - it's
already as low as it can go. And what about the other
"celebrities" that were on? People like Gennifer Flowers, who not
only doesn't even know how to spell her name properly but whose
sole claim to fame is that she shagged a President? Hardly a role
model by any means.
We think that Mushhead - oops, I mean Mushnick, is the real weak
link here. His concerns about sleaze in television are valid but
he could find many much better examples to illustrate his case
with than Tonya. We suggest that Tonyaphiles write to TV Guide at
email@example.com and give them a large Bronx jeer for
this kind of poor quality journalism.
LET THEM DRINK COKE
While on the subject of the Olympics, we're pleased to note that
at its meeting back in July the IOC picked Jacques Rogge as a
successor to aging fascist Juan Antonio Samaranch, who has long
been past his use-by date and has finally realized it's time to
quit while the going is good (or at least before it gets any
worse). Rogge seems to be Mr Clean, with no known skeletons in
his closet, and certainly is a much better choice than the sleazy
Un Yong Kim of Korea, a former Korean CIA goon who was given a
"serious warning" (or was it a "very serious warning" - we can't
remember) back in '99 for his activities over Salt Lake City.
We've updated our IOC "Hall of Shame" table to reflect the
A quick look at the table, though, will show that there are still
a whole host of slimebags in the IOC, and that a lot of work is
still to be done. While as Rogge's election is a step in the
right direction, it's only an early step on what's going to be a
long road to reform. For instance, less impressive is the fact
that Samaranch's son (who might be termed "son of Sammy"), was
appointed to the IOC, showing nepotism is still alive and well in
Lausanne. Also unimpressive is the IOC's decision to award the
2008 Games to China, a country with an abysmal human rights
record and a long history of organized doping. It appears that
the IOC's promotional slogan of "celebrate humanity" doesn't
extend to celebrating human rights.
Awarding the Games to Beijing reveals that the Olympics is still
in the pockets of big business, and that the IOC seems to be a
modern-day Marie Antoinette whose attitude to those Tibetan monks
or Falun-Gong members languishing in Chinese "re-education" camps
is not so much "let them eat cake" but "let them drink Coke".
ARTIST PLANS PRO-TONYA WORK
Emi Jones is a mixed-media artist working on a sympathetic piece
about Tonya. It is non-commercial and it is hoped that it might
feature in an undergraduate exhibition.
Emi is looking for audio or video footage that can be used in the
work. If you know of a source for anything, get in touch with us
and we'll put you in contact. Of Tonya, Emi says:
"I think Ms. Harding was sorely abused and misunderstood
and I'm happy to see her reclaiming her life now. She's been
a good sport about it all..."
2001: SKATE ODDITIES
Tonight's oddities: a fistful of dollars - and stamps, and
Many people are into collecting things. Some collect stamps,
others collect currency, and others even phone cards. Well, if
you're a Tonyaphile into one of these things then here's a chance
to combine two hobbies. First up is this stamp featuring Tonya
from a few years back:
In case you are wondering, no, it's not real. This was one of a
series of fake stamps (or "cinderellas" as they are called in the
philatelic trade) put out in 1994/95 by a New York artist, Cati
Laporte, working under the name "F.I.R.E." (First Issue Reserved
Edition). The Tonya stamp showed her skating in handcuffs, whilst
others in the series featured such other infamous celebrities as
Amy Fisher, Dr. Jack Kervorkian, and O.J. Simpson and were a
rather tasteless joke. Reports are that several people actually
successfully sent letters through the postal system using some of
these, though we wouldn't advise it - if you're caught, it could
be YOU that ends up in handcuffs!
The next item, spotted on e-Bay a few months back, consists of a
genuine U.S. dollar bill with Tonya's picture pasted where the
President's would usually be. Unlike the stamp, the producers of
this claim that it's fully legal and spendable (though why
Tonyaphile would want to part with something with Tonya's picture
on it is anyone's guess).
Finally, there's this pair of unique phone cards featuring Tonya
and another well known skater dressed as an angel and a devil (no
prize for guessing who was the devil):
Issued by North American Telephone, probably in 1994, this mint
condition pair of cards were offered on e-Bay by a seller from
Alaska some months ago and went for the princely sum of $3.25.
That's less than half their face value. Details of the artist are
THE HARAN CHRONICLES: PART 10 - VIDEO KILLED THE SKATING STAR
Tonight Joe reveals how Tonya's most notorious off-ice
performance came to be released, and how once again Tonya got
shafted by big business and some of her so-called "friends".
16 December 1999
Terry Hall, Head
Special Duties Section
Portland Ice Skating Society
Howdy! I've only got a few more huge tomes to send you: all
that's left for me to describe regarding Tonya is what I learned
about the "wedding night" video; and I'll talk about that here.
The only other big subject left for me to relate is the media-
circus phenomenon. The latter is more about me than about Tonya,
since it marked the end of my friendship with her. The media
circus was a big deal to me at the time, but I had no idea I
would never see Tonya again. Reliving all this has been
wonderful in a way, but just now I've become saddened because
it's nearly all over. It's a personal thing, you see, because
somehow I held out the hope that more effort in her behalf would
bring a reconciliation closer to reality. Logically, as Mr.
Spock would have said, it doesn't necessarily follow. But my
heart was hoping it would.
THE WEDDING-NIGHT VIDEO LEAVES TONYA'S HOME
Here is what I learned about the "wedding night" video business.
Right after the Bad News broke in 1994, Tonya moved in with
Stephanie Quintero and her husband. An arrangement was made so
that Tonya could go back to her Beavercreek home and collect her
things in the absence of Gillooly, who continued to live there.
Tonya and the Quinteros went to the Beavercreek house; and Tonya
went into the bedroom with Stephanie to gather up her clothing.
While those two were occupied in the bedroom, John Quintero went
to the place in the living room where the "wedding night" tape
was kept and removed it. He had found out about the tape from
Stephanie, who had learned about it from Tonya some years before.
Apparently, he and Gillooly had made some kind of deal --
although I wasn't able to confirm that to my own satisfaction --
so that both he and Quintero could make some money with the tape.
Quintero knew right where to look for it. I think Tonya may have
briefly looked for the tape later; and being unable to find it
put it out of her mind. The three of them then left the
Quintero sold certain rights to tape to the television program
Hard Copy, which ran brief non-intercourse scenes on its
syndicated broadcasts. The "fuzzy pixel" technique was used to
block out Tonya's breasts and pubic area. Just how the tape
enjoyed such longevity is unknown to me; because it was next
obtained by Penthouse magazine. Penthouse sent a representative
to Portland to meet with Tonya and Gillooly. They all met at the
Benson Hotel downtown. Tonya was told that Penthouse was going
to run still-frame photographs in its magazine and then
distribute the video-tape nationwide. However, the tape would
not be available through the Penthouse mail-order service
(located in New England) to anyone residing in Oregon.
Photographs in the magazine enjoyed First Amendment rights, but
those rights did not extend to the video-tape itself. So, should
Tonya decide to sue Penthouse over the matter she would have to
do so in an out-of-state court -- which would be a greater
expense to her and she was less likely (Penthouse knew) to obtain
a sympathetic jury. Penthouse would fight her in court, so that
meant they already had Gillooly's permission via his having sold
the tape to them; and they felt that was sufficient legal grounds
to mount a court battle should Tonya sue. But they wanted
Tonya's permission as well, just to cover all the bases and so
they wouldn't have to go through the whole courtroom hassle.
Should Tonya agree not to sue, Penthouse would give her a sum of
I believe Tonya made the only decision she knew how to at that
time: she was low on funds; and everyone was going to see the
tape anyway. Portlanders who wanted to see the tape or sell the
tape in "adult" bookstores and video shops had only to drive
across the bridge to Vancouver in the State of Washington to buy
as many copies as they'd want. So Tonya signed some sort of
document and Penthouse gave her about $150,000 in return. Most
of that money went toward buying that house in Oak Grove for her
and Lemon to live in. She was still trying to get Lemon to marry
Well, that's all I know about that sordid topic. Mind, I wasn't
there in person; but some really good sources put this chain of
events together for me. It's a bit strange, isn't it? Here I
was, homeless and with no decent future in sight, yet I had
access to a telephone and thus connections with excellent
sources! It's probably the only activity that kept me going.
But I'd have traded it all in a second for a renewed friendship
with Tonya. Sigh.
That's about all for now. I'll wait until you're back up and
running again before I produce my (probably) last big Tonya Saga
installment. Let me know how things are going. I hope we can
continue to converse this way. You seem to care enough about me
to write interesting messages.
JOSEPH A. HARAN, JR.
PORTLAND PICKED TO HOST USFSA NATIONALS IN 2005
And on a final note, we are pleased to announce that Tonya's home
town of Portland has been picked to host the 2005 US Figure
Maybe we might see some of Tonya's students getting a chance to
show off their stuff?
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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