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The Portlandian, the Internet's premier source of Tonya News
November 12, 2008 Edition - ANNUAL TONYA BIRTHDAY EDITION
(C) 2008 Portland Ice Skating Society
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TONYA!
Today sees Tonya celebrate her 38th birthday! Doesn't time fly
when you're having fun?
Linda Lewis, Tonya's godmother and agent, informs us that Tonya
will be spending her birthday in L.A. doing more shoots for
TruTv, and that other options are in the works, though nothing
concrete at this stage.
She also says that she and Tonya will be meeting in Houston in
January and then travel together to Georgia (that's the U.S. one,
not the Russian one), where she will do some interaction with
Linda says that "it will be the first time in 3 years that we
have seen each other in person, so we are both excited about
this. It worked out great, as we live only a little over 100
miles from Houston. Greg is driving me there, where she makes a
connecting flight and I will then continue on with her."
It's been a good year for Tonya - TruTV, the rock opera, the book
finally getting released... and Tonya seems to be looking better
and healthier than ever. Best of all, it seems that the media has
largely kept off her back in recent months! I guess they're too
busy trashing Sarah Palin to be bothered with Tonya anymore.
What's that old saying about an ill wind?
Let's just hope that the run of good luck for her continues.
Tonya-bashing is just SOOO turn-of-the-century...
MORE TRUTV WORLD'S DUMBEST CLIPS:
As a special birthday treat, we've found a few more of Tonya's
appearances in TruTV "World's Dumbest" series, which we post here
for your edification and enjoyment:
Pimp gets beaten up by karate teacher:
Guy in gorilla suit kidnaps kid:
Cop overdoses on pot brownies, then calls 911:
Numbskull videotapes himself committing crimes:
World's Dumbest Criminals 2 - Wall of death:
Race to the top:
Imbecile tries to cash a forged check for $360 billion(!) at a
Okay, there's no Tonya in that last one, but it's so hilariously
stupid it's worth looking at anyway. Actually, this guy's only
mistake was that he went to the wrong place - he should have
taken the check along to Congress. They seem to be quite happy to
give away hundreds of billions of dollars to any greedy idiot who
asks for it these days.
TONYA ON NORWEGIAN TV
A brief clip of Tonya appeared a few months ago on Norwegian
The clip was part of "De syv dødssyndene", an 8-part series on
the subject of "The Seven Deadly Sins". Each episode featured
host Kristopher Schau, a local comedian and "shock rocker",
trying to gain admission to Hell by engaging in various sinful
activities, with the 8th episode deciding whether he'd been
successful. Schau's theory was that if he didn't gain entry to
Hell after all he'd done, then he'd proved that God didn't exist.
The series provoked considerable controversy and boycotts from
sponsors after claims that it was making fun of Christianity, and
also fears that Schau was going to molest kids for the "lust"
episode, but that didn't happen.
Each episode was shot in a different country, including England,
the U.S. and Israel, each supposedly corresponding to one of the
seven sins. For instance Episode 3, "Misunnelse" (Envy), which is
the one that features Tonya, was recorded in Stockholm because
Schau thinks Sweden is the most envious country on Earth.
Unfortunately the Tonya segment, mostly a recounting of the T/N
incident, was very negative, basically implying that all of
Tonya's troubles are caused by envy. You can view it in its
original Norwegian language here (and a word of warning: this
clip does contain brief footage from a certain "home video" that
Tonya did, and European TV is alot less fussy when it comes to
censoring this sort of stuff than American networks, so it may
not pay to look at this at work):
The commentary is as follows:
Sweden is the most envious country in the world. But the most
envious person is living on the other side of the globe.
Falling is a natural part of ice-skating, but nobody has
fallen deeper than the American ice-skater Tonya Harding.
She was born under modest white-trash conditions in Portland,
Oregon, in 1970. Her mother was violent and her halfbrother
Chris Davidson died young, and Tonya herself got married
Her early career was unusually variable due to overweight-
problems that occured often. In spite of that, she managed to
qualify for the Olympic Games at Lillehammer in 1994.
But another American woman stood between Tonya and the gold
medal. Nancy Kerrigan was a classic, beautiful brunette girl,
born in the rich man's city of Stoneham, Massachusetts.
The common grey Harding was green with envy of her glossy-
perfect rival. On the 6th of January 1994, one month before
the winter games, Kerrigan stopped outside Cobo Arena in
Detroit to talk to some journalists. Among them was the
notorious criminal Shane Stant. He suddenly bowed down and hit
her hard on one knee with a metal-baton.
The bad deed was performed on orders from Tonya and her
husband back then, Jeff Gillooly. The American Olympic
Committee wanted to suspend her from the Games, but Harding
warned them that she would take the suspension to court, and
she was allowed to go to Norway in February.
After months of trouble, the moment that should be the
greatest for Tonya was in sight.
But the whole thing ended in another wrong step. Tonya claimed
her skate-laces broke during the competition, and she finished
six places behind Kerrigan, who won the silver-medal.
When she came home, she was expelled from all professional
sports at once, she was sentenced to 500 hours of community
service work and had to pay a fine of $US110,000.
Jeff Gillooly worked out that the best way to feed the couple
was to sell the pornographic home video from their wedding-
night to the Penthouse Magazine. Harding tried to excuse their
bad sexual performance because she was "Drunk as a skunk"
during the filming.
In recent years Harding has tried to make a living by
participating in boxing and by being an agent in American
wrestling. Her police files have widened and so has her waist-
line, and she has on a number of occasions been in the police
searchlight because of car-crashes, domestic trouble, drinking
and possible attacks. Most of these incidents have occured at
the very moment of the opening of the American ice-skating-
In ten years she obviously went from this (picture of skating-
Tonya) - to this (fat boxing Tonya), all because of envy.
We'd like to thank Tor Weibye of Eventyrplassen Vannførerlag in
Norway for generously providing this English translation for us.
Tor also tells us that a few weeks back they received a gift from
Olympic pitcogram-designer Sarah Rosenbaum, who was born in US
but is now a Norwegian. She has made a special pictogram
regarding Tonya with the text "If you can't beat them, beat
them". He says they intend to make t-shirts with the long-hidden
pictogram, which they hope to scan and send to us in a while.
This clip may not be pro-Tonya, but it does show one thing: that
the name "Gillooly" sounds just as silly in Norwegian as it does
SKATE ODDITY: TONYA THE TRACTOR
Tonya's legacy continues in Norway in other ways, too.
A Norwegian guy by the name of Odd Erling Klingsheim has named
his tractor after Tonya. He spells it "Tonja Harding", which is
presumably the local spelling, but we assume that he means our
But let's make no mistake: this isn't the sort of tractor that
you'd find plowing a field. As you'd expect for something named
after Tonya, this is a quite exceptional piece of machinery. For
Klingsheim is a participant in the sport of tractor pulling,
which is kind of the tractor equivalent of drag racing. His
"Tonja" is a highly souped-up Ford County Super 6 which competes
in the 3500 kg prostock class in events around Scandanavia and
Northern Europe. Records show he's been doing it since at least
You can see pictures of Klingsheim, and his "Tonja" in action, at
the following URLs:
Exactly why he chose to name his tractor after Tonya is not known
- perhaps he sees an analogy between Tonya''s strength and power
and his tractor. Either way, it's a pretty safe bet that there
are no other figure skaters with such a singular honor.
It just shows that Tonya has pulling power in more ways than one.
THE DEVIL WENT DOWN TO GEORGIA
The Beijing Olympics have finished, and are now consigned to
history. We've taken the opportunity to update our IOC sleazebags
table as a result:
As you'd expect, they went like clockwork - hardly surprising
given they were held in a dictatorship. From the so-cute-you-
wanna-puke little girl who "sang" at the opening ceremony, to the
faked footage of the fireworks at the same event, the control
freaks at the Party headquarters left nothing to chance. The only
surprise is that they didn't have Milli Vanilli reunite to
"perform" at the closing ceremony. It's a reminder that when it
comes to the Olympics, you can't always be sure that everything
really is what it appears. The IOC has got what it wanted - a
big, well run spectacle. But it comes at a cost: the 2008 Beijing
Games will probably be remembered more for the protests and
fakery as much as anything that actually happened on the track or
in the pool.
Now the IOC has made another bungle: they've given the 2014
Winter Games to Sochi, a small Russian resort town on the Black
Sea. And guess what? It's less than 20 kilometers - a bit over
ten miles - from Abkhazia, one of the breakaway republics of
Georgia that's been in the news recenlty.
Now, five years is a long time, so who knows what Sochi will be
like in 2014. It's perfectly possible that Putin will have a
heart attack, or get assassinated, and somebody more civilized
will end up running Russia, and that this whole situation in
Georgia will just blow over. And it's also possible a pig will
fly past my window. Far more likely is that this conflict will
escalate into a full-blown civil war, and that the entire region
will end up as another Chechnya. Will the IOC want to run the
risk of holding the Olympics in a war zone? Moving the Games,
even if it back to a recent previous location, like Vancouver or
Turin, would be no trivial task. Any such decision will have to
be made within months if it is to happen at all.
Otherwise, the athletes will be dodging more bullets than those
guys in "The Matrix".
JURASSIC PARK AUTHOR DIES
Last week saw the death of author Michael Crichton. Crichton
wrote numerous books, many of which were adapted into movies,
such as "The Andromeda Strain" (1971, remade as a mini-series
this year), "Congo" (1995) and "Westworld" (1973), the latter
which he directed himself. But in recent years his best known
work was probably "Jurassic Park", a novel about a wildlife park
full of dinosaurs that run amok, made into a film by Steven
Spielberg in 1993.
Tonya skated to the theme music from Spielberg's film for her
Long Program in the 1993/94 season. The brooding, chilling,
ominous overtones of the opening bars could be seen as symbolic
of things to come: "Jurassic Park" was rarely a successful
program for Tonya with constant equipment problems, culminating
in the disastrous performance at the 1994 Lillehammer Olympics.
We close off today's issue with another Tonya Trivia question.
Any Tonyaphile worth their salt will know that Tonya used
portions of ZZ Top's "Sleeping Bag" in some of her skating
But there is another connection between "Sleeping Bag" and Tonya.
And the answer is in the music video above. Can you guess what it
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.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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