TTTTT H H EEEEE
T H H E
T HHHHH EEEEE
T H H E
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The Portlandian, the Internet's premier source of Tonya News
November 12, 2002 Edition - ANNUAL TONYA BIRTHDAY EDITION
(C) 2002 Portland Ice Skating Society
As any Tonyaphile knows, today is Tonya's birthday. We celebrate
it with an extra-long edition of The Portlandian, full to the
brim with lots of Tonya and skating related news and a good dose
of ISU and USFSA bashing, as always.
TONYA GETS HEATED UP OVER HOT SAUCE RIP-OFF
As Tonya puts the unfortunate events of April behind her, she's
stepped into another legal wrangle - but this time she's the
We've always thought Tonya was rather saucy, and so, it appears,
does someone else. Tonya may not know that Paul Newman makes
salad dressing, but she certainly knows who's been making hot
sauce with her name on it - and making money at her expense.
Back several months ago we reported in our "Skate Oddities"
series about a novelty Tonya item spotted on e-Bay: a bottle of
hot sauce featuring a rather unflattering cartoon rendition of
our favorite skater. Well, this item hasn't amused Tonya, and
she's now threatened a lawsuit against the maker, one Jon Farmer
and his PDX Hot Lix company.
Farmer says he developed the recipe and has it made to order. The
label was done by Portland cartoonist Joe Spooner. It's been sold
in Made in Oregon stores, amongst others, for around $5, but was
pulled from the shelves recently after a cease and desist letter
from Tonya's lawyer.
Tonya's San Diego-based attorney William Markham says: "(The
label) portrays her as cigarette-smoking, bubble-gum-chewing
trailer trash and that's not who Tonya Harding is". "She is a
world-class athlete who trained for years on end, and in a
horrible episode lost all that." "She went from Olympic contender
to a publicly notorious person who, to pay her bills, has to
trade on her ignominity," he said. "That's bad enough. Then to
profiteer from it at her expense... that's wrong."
We think he's hit the nail on the head. Cartoons and comic books
are one thing but commercial products like hot sauce are a
different matter and are not considered protected free speech
under US law. This appears to be one area where Tonya is on firm
If you want to take a look at the sauce, you can see some
pictures of it on our "photos" page:
A Portland area TV station also has an item about it, including a
video clip that can be viewed, at:
SOMETHING CHILLY ON THE TELLY
Tonya's former manager, Michael Rosenberg, is working on a new
cable TV channel that is every skating fan's dream: called The
Ice Channel, the station plans to feature non-stop re-runs of
skating contests and skating-oriented movies.
You can see a sample listing of their proposed programming at
their web site at www.theicechannel.com (though don't bother if
you're using Netscape 4.x - it won't display at all. Mozilla and
IE seem to work fine, though).
We think that this could be the perfect opportunity to get Tonya
on the tube, maybe doing a bit of commentating, or perhaps even
her own show. It could be called "Harding's Half Hour", and would
feature Tonya as a skating schock-jock making outrageous and
controversial statements, like that Speedy should be hung up by
his private bits and boiled in oil. Oh wait, I forgot - that
wouldn't be controversial.
By the way, the E! channel is also re-running its "True Hollywood
Story" feature on Tonya over the next few days, on Nov 13 and 18.
If you've never seen this, it's well worth a tape.
TRIPLE AXELS BY THE TRUCKLOAD
October saw skating history being made, with not one but two
ladies landing triple axels at the Skate America contest. With
their achievements, Yukari Nakano of Japan and Ludmila Nelidina
of Russia became the first ladies apart from Tonya and Midori Ito
to land this jump in a major competition. Nakano, who is trained
by Midori Ito's coach, Machiko Yamada, also did one in Japan
earlier in the month at the Chuba regional contest. Another of
Yamada's proteges, 12-year old Mao Asada, did one the day before
in the novice A section at the same contest.
Those who saw the Nakano and Nelidina axels, however, generally
regarded them as inferior to both Tonya's and Midori's. Indeed,
the overall consensus was that the rest of their skating was not
very good. We think it is testimony to Tonya's achievement that
it has taken almost 12 years for more skaters to join her in this
There's even been one done recently on roller skates!
FROM RUSSIA WITH BRIBES
Back in March we wrote:
Le Gougne's ever changing accounts of what went on raise some
interesting questions: for instance, is she actually a
nutcase? Or is she someone just trying to save her sorry ass
now that the scam has been blown? It's tempting to think so.
Certainly her retraction is inconsistent with statements made
by Jon Jackson, an ISU judge and a lawyer, who has said he was
present during the exchange with Sally Stapleford when Le
Gougne is alleged to have said to her: "I did this for my
dance team. It's a deal with the Russians, first place for
first place." But is there something even more sinister going
on? Those who know Le Gougne say that until this incident she
had a reputation as being a qualified and reliable judge. Le
Gougne herself has claimed that she has been "subjected to a
series of physical and verbal attacks". Is Le Gougne being
used as a scapegoat for dirty deals being done higher up?
Well, it looks as if our speculations have proven to be right -
just when the skating corruption scandal semed to be as bad as it
could get, it got worse: what was already something extremely
seedy and disgusting has now turned into something criminal with
the arrest of an Uzbek man with ties to Eurasian organized crime.
Alimazan Tokhtakhounov is alleged to have links to drug & arms
dealing, art smuggling and stolen vehicles. He was also earlier
accused of involvement in a plot to extort $10 million from the
head of a Russian sports foundation. Wiretaps by Italian
investigators involving matters unrelated to skating recorded a
conversation between him and another man identified only as
"Chevalier", in which he discussed rigging the results at Salt
Lake City. Also recorded were incriminating conversations between
Tokhtakhounov and French ice dancer Marina Anissina and also
Anissina's mother. Tokhtakhounov is now being sought by the FBI,
who want to extradite him from Italy where he currently resides.
Quoted in the New York Times, former ISU council member Claire
Ferguson said "So much has happened in the past - Tonya and
Nancy, everything - but this could reach a whole new level as far
as damage to the sport". "It's very serious and frightening. No
one knows what is coming next" said Ferguson, was also head of
the USFSA at the time of the Tonya/Nancy scandal.
With this comes a possibility that everybody except our readers
will probably find shocking: that Russian skating may be in fact
controlled by the mafia. It also is a blistering indictment of
the ISU, who after supposedly conducting a full investigation
into the irregularities of the 2002 Winter Olympics completely
missed this aspect altogether.
Some people have accused us of being anti-Russian with our
comments earlier this year about cheating by the former Soviet
bloc countries. We're not anti-Russian, merely anti-cheating, and
these revelations back up our claims that cheating and corruption
are deeply ingrained in the skating culture of that part of the
world. They also dispose of the last feebly-hanging tissues of
credibility that the self-righteous Tonyaphobes may have had in
their concerns about Tonya violating the "sportsmanship" of
USFSA TRASHES TEDDY BEARS IN "SECURITY" SCAM
2002's Skate America may have come and gone, but a short, barely
noticed thread on rec.sport.skating.ice.figure back in November
of last year about the previous Skate America shows the spirit of
Ebenezer Scrooge is alive and well at the USFSA.
In a "security" policy that sounds like something the World
Bodyguard Service would dream up, the USFSA instructed its staff
to junk the dozens of teddy bears, stuffed animals and other
gifts thrown onto the ice at 2001's Skate America contest
because of fears they might be contaminated with anthrax.
Given the apparent concern for the safety of its skaters, you'd
expect the USFSA would follow this up by having these supposedly
highly dangerous objects collected from the ice by guys dressed
in space suits and then sealed up in plastic bags and incinerated
as is normal with hazardous waste. But no. Instead the toys were
collected by children given the stringent protection of - rubber
gloves!!! The toys were then tossed in with the normal trash.
Apparently the USFSA doesn't care if the garbage collector is
exposed to anthrax. Heck, at least the kids had gloves.
Equally laughable was the fact that this policy was not
accompanied by equally strict security elsewhere at the rink.
There were, according to the posters to rssif who were present,
no background checks on food service staff, surely a much easier
avenue for those wanting to sabotage the event. Indeed, some of
the food staff weren't even observing basic hygiene practices,
with loose hair spotted by some observers dangling into the food.
Apparently anthrax from teddy bears is bad but botulism from
poorly prepared food is okay to the the USFSA's security gurus.
Nor is it consistent with the policy of the IOC, who imposed no
ban on such objects at the Salt Lake City Olympics.
To cap it off, as is typical of the USFSA's bungling bureaucracy,
there was no public announcement that such gifts were banned for
security reasons, nor were the skaters even told. No doubt many
foreign skaters must think Americans are a bunch of tightwads as
a result. Too bad, also, for the many skating fans who must have
wasted thousands of dollars on such gifts, money that could have
perhaps been redirected to something more beneficial for skaters,
like a donation to the USFSA's Memorial Fund, rather than spent
on toys to be tossed in the trash. Attempts by fans to even find
out what was and wasn't allowed were fruitless, with nobody being
able to give a straight answer, about par for the course for this
Since then, the policy seems to have been relaxed - now only toys
brought in from outside banned. Fans can now buy stuffed toys at
arena to toss (the fact these toys can be tampered with after
purchase seems to have escaped these guys). Which, of course,
brings us to what's probably the the real reason is for this
policy: like the camera policy, it's just an excuse to make
people buy overpriced merchandise rather than allowing people to
take their own photographs and bring their own gifts.
The events of September 11 were despicable. But in our opinion
almost as bad as the terrorists are the sleazebags who exploit
legitimate "security" concerns as a cover for money grubbing and
profiteering. I'm sure Bill Gates, Mr Monopoly himself, would be
proud of the way the USFSA is gradually doing to skating what he
so successfully has done to the software market.
THE HARAN CHRONICLES: PART 11 - TONYA GETS STUCK WITH A LEMON
We resume our series in which former "Skater" editor Joe Haran
gives his perspective of his time with Tonya. Tonight, Joe talks
about what happened to Tonya in the months following the 1994
"incident", in particular how one of Tonya's romantic partners
not only sabotaged her attempts to defend herself against the
USFSA but also scuttled her attempt at a film career.
13 December 1999
Terry Hall, Head
Special Duties Section
Portland Ice Skating Society
Thank you for your message! Yes, I think my problems in fully
accessing various Tonya M. Harding sites are due to the antiquity
of my equipment; but I shall contact my mentor in these Apple
matters, Robin H. Shaylor, to see if there's any more system-
tweaking I can do. Regarding upper-case sensitivity: yes, I
learned from Robin that care must be taken in that area; so
whenever I enter any URL I always use lower case. It's only in
letterhead, address and body-of-letter situations that I use both
MORE SELF-SERVING TRIPE ABOUT WHY TONYA IS MAD AT ME
Okay, I'll try describing bits of the situation surrounding
Tonya's involvement with Douglas Lemon.
When Tonya vanished from my view behind the Linda (Cloud)-
Stephanie-Vonnie Wall in January of 1994, I figured it would only
be a matter of a few days until I would see her again. By "see
her" I mean "be with her" as in the past. Apart from a few very-
brief encounters at the skating rink, that former state of
relations never re-materialized. As the weeks and months wore
on, I became both angry and sad that my excellent little friend
had gone away. Of course, I was heartbroken for her:
vilification in the public media, extreme punishment by the
justice system, cruel punishment by sports-governing bodies, et
cetera. I longed to see her, to give her a big hug and tell her
how much I cared for her and how much she meant to so many of us,
et cetera. But that was not to be.
In spite of my efforts in defending Tonya to the media circus,
which efforts were appreciated by journalists in the field but
not by their bosses in home offices -- in spite of my well-
received "PDXS" cover article about Tonya in June of 1994 -- and
in spite of my history of support for her, Linda Cloud and Vonnie
Reifenrath continued to stone-wall with feeble excuses my
attempts at discovering from them why Tonya would not see me. I
had known for some time that Tonya's latest boyfriend, Douglas
Lemon, was a jerk: he told people with whom he worked that he
didn't care for Tonya, but was only using her for sex and would
"take her for all she's worth" money-wise and then dump her.
Nevertheless, Tonya was smitten by Lemon. And Cloud couldn't
have been happier.
Lemon was a loading-dock worker at the large Meier and Frank
department store at Clackamas Town Center. I don't know how they
initially met, but she developed a relationship with him during
the time in '93 when she and Gillooly were apart. Lemon would go
to rinkside during his work breaks to watch Tonya skate; but he
would always do so from the upper level, never coming down to
rink level. He'd stand there with his arms folded across his
chest, usually in the company of several co-workers from the
For reasons known not only to herself, Lemon's mother Cloud kept
encouraging Tonya to please Lemon at all costs -- a task Tonya
embarked upon with maximum effort: constantly trying to please
him at the expense of her skating career (she didn't go to the
United States Figure Skating Association [USFSA] hearing at which
she was banned for life, though a prominent civil-rights attorney
had thoroughly prepared her defense and was stunned when Tonya
decided not to appeal), because Lemon didn't want her to go;
constantly trying to please him at the expense of her sojourn
into film making (Lemon, against the wishes of the producers,
insisted Tonya not do anything "sexy" nor even so much as kiss
anyone); constantly playing a totally-submissive role at home
(Lemon would rant and rave at Tonya whenever anything to do with
figure skating came up, he would order her to send visitors away,
et cetera); spending her hard-earned money on a house in the
riparian Oak Grove area of the City of Milwaukie, which house was
in both their names; et cetera. Well, as attorneys say, "there
came a time" when I'd reached the limit of my tolerance for the
Cloud/Lemon machine. (Dan Cloud was actually a nice guy, but he
wasn't up to the task of intervening in this catch-Tonya campaign
of his wife's.)
There was, no doubt, a manifestation of my depressed state of
mind involved in what I did next. Consider the survival-mode
nature of my life at that time: angry at Tonya's failure to
communicate, bereft of money, depressed by the loss of Tonya's
friendship and by the difficulties thrust upon her, homeless,
retaining few friends, scrounging for food (called "cruising" by
the homeless community), et cetera. An acquaintance of mine,
also upset by Lemon's stifling of Tonya's future, suggested I
write an over-the-top handout which he would distribute rinkside
at Clackamas Town Center. Well, I wrote it: a biting and
sarcastic announcement of the formation of a "Doug Lemon Fan
Club." Everything I wrote, apart from the assertion that the
non-existent "fan club" actual did exist, was true. I had
impeccable sources, who were ear/eye witnesses to all these Tonya
events. No, I should never have done such a thing: Tonya's
"private" life, however masochistic and screwed up, was after all
hers to endure come what may; and even though her future was
going down the tubes thanks to love-map genetics, I should have
left the whole thing alone.
A few nights after that literary creation was distributed in
small numbers (not by me, as I never again went to Clackamas Town
Center after The End For Tonya had come in April of 1994) -- as I
was sitting on the floor of the print shop whose proprietor
kindly let me sleep there (he gave me a key to the shop) -- I
heard a loud banging on the front door. Looking around the
corner to the front-office area, I saw Cloud and Tonya outside
the glass entrance-doors. So, she knew where I was all along!
My little ex-buddy had been shown a copy of the handout and had
exclaimed: "That's Joe's writing!" No dummy, this Tonya
Harding. Unaware of whether or not a hitch-hiking ploy was in
effect -- you know, where the girls do the thumbing and the guys
run out of the bushes when the car stops -- I just kept quiet.
Muscle-man Lemon was renowned for his physical violence; and his
posse comitatus of pals was well-known for the same reason.
Tonya and Cloud then went to the side door and banged on that for
a time. They finally gave up and went away.
Shortly thereafter, Linda Cloud went to the United States
Department of Veterans Affairs (USDVA) Portland Medical Center to
lodge a complaint against me: I was a danger to Tonya, et
cetera; an out-of-control mental case, et cetera. Well, she
didn't get anywhere with that ploy. There's no USDVA vehicle for
non-verifiable "complaints" made against "patients" by people
coming in off the street. Besides, I was in regular private
sessions with USDVA mental-health professionals at the time: a
psychiatrist, a psychologist and a social worker who acted as my
therapist. Had it not been for those caring and dedicated
people, I might not have survived that era. So, I never even
heard about Cloud's complaint from anyone at the USDVA. Another
one of my excellent sources told me about it, though; and we both
had a good laugh. Nobody, especially not Cloud, believed I was a
monstrous bad guy; but Cloud was a master at control -- and my
ill-conceived prank was just the sort of thing she had to jump
on. Even the remotest possibility that she and her beloved son
wouldn't end up with Tonya's money was cause for drastic action.
Joe the Exposer must be debunked! Or, Joe the Debunker must be
exposed! Well, the January 1995 edition of "PDXS" set forth
Lemon's character; and since nobody complained to the newspaper
about that second well-received cover article of mine. . . .
So there: I've said it. Yes, I did something that made Tonya
mad; but that was well after she'd originally stopped talking to
me. The only silver lining to that period of time is the fact
that Tonya and Lemon are no longer together, in spite of her
then-often-repeated and just-as-often-denied requests for his
hand in marriage. (She even wanted to lend Lemon the money to
buy her a "promise ring" which she'd asked him for, but he never
gave her one.) This happy result would undoubtedly have come
about regardless of my stupid prank or any other external action.
All I can say further is this: I am very sorry, from the bottom
of my heart, if that incident or anything else I may have ever
done/not done or said/not said hurt Tonya; and I hope some day
she will forgive me my shortcomings. After all, she seems to
have found religion and should therefore be familiar with the
concept of forgiveness. I am in no way mad at Tonya; and as I've
stated in a previous letter, I no longer blame her nor find fault
with her for having mysteriously written me off in January of
1994. But, as Tonya is nevertheless responsible in that matter,
I do want to hear about it directly from her. I am, in fact,
only sad about the way things turned out between us -- because I
miss her very much; and I think she could have benefited from our
continued friendship. I know I would have. I would like to
apologize to her for any perceived wrongs for which she holds me
responsible; but that must be accomplished in person, face-to-
face. Now comes an incident, based upon a mistaken
identification, which has puzzled me for years: Tonya's claim
that I was a stalker.
This might have been pay-back for the "Doug Lemon Fan Club"
incident; or, she may have actually thought I was stalking her.
Well, I wasn't. I avoided her known environs at all times -- the
totality of her environs being unknown to me anyway. One day in
late 1994, when Tonya was at the rink, she called out to her
phalanx of hangers-on: "There's Joe!" Supposedly, I was sitting
near the railing on the upper-floor level of the skating-rink
area. She took off running with Merrill Eichenberger (her
"manager" at the time), Reifenrath and others trailing behind;
and she ran up the escalator to the sighting area, saying: "This
is where he was sitting! Look! There's his food!" This upper
tier was the location for that modern shopping-mall banality, the
"food court." Tonya then ran through the gawking-at-her-
bouncing-anatomy maze of shoppers, with the puffing non-athletes
trying to keep up, to the nearest exit-door area; but, gee, I was
nowhere to be found.
That's because I wasn't there in the first damned place! I
sometimes wonder what she would have done or told me, should I
have been there. By the way, Tonya's big beautiful blue eyes
don't see perfectly anyway: she's supposed to wear corrective
lenses for driving, but she didn't when I knew her. She kept her
pair of glasses in her purse, just in case she ever got pulled
over. Upon hearing of this incident, I broke my self-imposed
exile and went to Clackamas Town Center in order to tell the
security people that I wasn't stalking Tonya. I did this more to
reassure her than to get myself off any hook. The security
people ho-hummed the whole thing: the former chief of security,
promoted to shopping-mall manager, had gotten to know me from the
days of The Tonya Harding Fan Club (THFC) and the media-circus
episode; and he knew I wouldn't engage in such a depraved
activity. But rumors like that can have a life of their own; and
I'd be pleasantly surprised if today's Tonya Guards haven't been
told about it. If Tonya has refrained from any further spreading
of this rumor, I thank her.
I'm sorry for spending so much time talking about the Tonya-Joe
relationship, but I've wanted to get it all off my chest anyhow.
I honestly cannot think of any other phenomena which could be
factors in Tonya's present-day attitude toward me. I rest my
case on this entire subject-matter area and throw myself upon the
mercy of whomever reads this: namely, yourself and those to whom
you may pass this on.
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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