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The Portlandian, the Internet's premier source of Tonya News

November 12, 2009 Edition - ANNUAL BIRTHDAY EDITION
(C) 2009 Portland Ice Skating Society
http://www.pdxiss.org
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Welcome to our annual Tonya birthday edition for 2009. Tonya 
turns 39 today, and we'd like to wish her all the best for her 
special day. It seems hard to believe that it's over 15 years 
since Lillehammer and getting on for almost 20 years since Tonya 
landed the Triple Axel at the 1991 U. S. Nationals. Must be a 
case of time flying when you're having fun.

In any case, we've got a full recap of Tonya events over the past 
few months.


SAME BAT-PROGRAM, DIFFERENT BAT-CHANNEL

But first, an important piece of housekeeping. In the wake of the 
closure by Yahoo! of Geocities, the Portland Ice Skating Society 
has now registered its own domain name. We can now be found at:

http://www.pdxiss.org

People accessing our site via the old Geocities address will be
automatically redirected to the new domain.

There you'll find all the old content (including back issues of 
"The Portlandian"), which will continue to be updated. Which is 
good news for Tonya, and bad news for those in the skating 
establishment that were vainly hoping that we'd go away.

By now the new domain details should have percolated through to 
all the DNS servers on the internet. If you are experiencing 
difficulty, the site can also be accessed via:

http://pdxiss.org.p6.hostingprod.com/


TONYA IN VEGAS

The 19th of August saw Tonya at the LAX nightclub in Las Vegas 
hosting the venue's "Way Back Wednesdays" event for that week 
(her fellow "World's Dumbest Criminals" alumnus, Todd Bridges, 
was the host the following week):

Celebrity gossip site TMZ has posted footage of Tonya's 
appearance:

http://www.tmz.com/2009/08/20/tonya-harding-las-vegas-dancing-nancy-kerrigan-lax-ice-skating-video/

It's typical of TMZ Tonya coverage - dark, poorly-shot, out-of-
focus rubbish, with a derogatory slant to the accompanying 
writing. But she looks like she's having a good time, which is 
what matters. Thanks to Special Duties operative Leo for finding 
this for us.


TONYA'S RETURN TO BONNEVILLE

Last year Tonya participated in the annual "Speed Week" event at 
the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. This August she returned for a 
second time, and again set a new speed record:

http://www.scta-bni.org/Bonneville/Speed%20Week%2009/records_11.htm

This nice, positive, well-written article in "The Reflector", a 
local newspaper, gives the background to Tonya's latest assault 
on the salt. It also has a great photo of Tonya with the hot rod 
she raced there (a pity the picture isn't a bit bigger):

http://www.thereflector.com/Archives/2009/07-22-09%20Section%20A.pdf 
(5.7 megs)

The article notes how last year Tonya became the first woman in 
60 years to set and then break a speed record in her racing 
class. And now Tonya has followed this up with a new achievement: 
she holds the world record for driving a 1931 Hard Body A Coupe, 
with a supercharged Flat Head 4 cylinder engine. She also 
exceeded 100 mph on one of the two runs that are done for the 
record attempt (the time in the record books is an average of the 
two).


TONYA AT LAKE OF THE OZARKS BIKEFEST

Tonya was in Lake of the Ozarks, Mo. for the third annual Lake of 
the Ozarks Bikefest, from Sept. 17-20. The Bikefest featured 
fireworks displays and several rock concerts:

http://www.lakeoftheozarksbikefest.com/

http://lakeexpo.com/articles/2009/09/10/neighborhood/32.txt

   "The Horny Toad complex will be the site of fireworks displays 
   and two free Bikefest concerts: Lynyrd Synyrd and ZZ Top 
   tribute bands on Friday, Sept. 18, and the legendary rock 
   group Head East on Saturday, Sept. 19.

   Also at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, the 'Cage of Honor Hall of Fame 
   Night' will take place at the Horny Toad, featuring UFC Hall 
   of Famers Ken Shamrock and Dan 'The Beast' Severn, with 
   special guests, former championship figure skater Tonya 
   Harding, plus Tommy 'The Duke' and  Timmy Morrison. Tickets 
   will start at $15."

We'd like to thank Leo for finding this article.


NEW TRIBUNE ARTICLE ABOUT TONYA

A new article about what Tonya is doing these days, from Kerry 
Eggers (who always seems to give her a good write-up):

http://www.portlandtribune.com/sports/story.php?story_id=125555407151240700

Interesting comment where Tonya says:

   I did the Oregon thing. Been there; done that. I'm a 
   Washingtonian now. I like being up here close to the outdoors. 
   Even going for a drive just to see wildlife is so neat.

Does this mean we'll have to change our name from "The 
Portlandian" to "The Washingtonian"?


A BLAST FROM THE PAST

It seems that Tonya's, er, "home movie" that she made with her 
husband back in the 90's is once again in the news:

http://www.google.com/trends/hottrends?sa=X&date=2009-10-4

It appears that the trigger is that it was mentioned in a new 
episode of "Family Guy" early in October.


A TALE OF TWO SKATERS - THE ICE KWEEN vs THE "ICE" QUEEN

July was a month that saw two former U.S. ladies figure skating 
champions from the Tonya epoch in the news, each one for vastly 
different reasons.

Nine-time U.S. ladies champ Michelle Kwan, who once listed Tonya 
as one of her leading inspirations in skating, announced that she 
would not attempt to gain a spot on the Olympic team next year, 
and will instead begin study at Tufts University (which, as we 
all know, was the origin of "Tonya & Nancy - The Opera"). It is 
believed that she plans to pursue a career in the diplomatic 
service. Although she doesn't say so this effectively means her 
competitive skating career is over.

Kwan is a legend, and her achievements need no recap to any 
skating fan worthy of the description, but we'll give you one 
anyway: nine U.S. Championships, five World Championships, and 
two Olympic medals make her the most decorated figure skater in 
U.S. history and she has remained competitive into an age range 
where most other eligible skaters are considered washed-up has-
beens. Kwan is skating's equivalent of the Rolling Stones - 
they've both been around so long that it seems hard to imagine a 
time when they weren't there. Or a world without them.

Her departure from the eligible skating scene leaves a huge gap 
that the USFSA will struggle to fill, and is another devastating 
blow to a sport that has seen its TV ratings in steady decline 
for years. It's also a pity that she never turned pro either. It 
would have been just the thing to prevent the effective 
disintegration of pro skating that has happened over the past few 
years. Some may be disappointed that she has bowed out without 
making one final attempt at gaining Olympic gold. But it might 
equally well be argued that it's better to go out on her own 
terms rather than risk sullying her legacy with a disastrous 
performance in Vancouver. Either way, The Mighty Kwan will go 
down as one of the greats.

The other skater in the news was 1995 champion Nicole Bobek, a 
skater who has often been compared to Tonya for her run-ins with 
the law. And unfortunately she was in the headlines for a totally 
different reason to Michelle Kwan.

In early July, an embarrassing photo of Nicole appeared on the 
Internet. We've longed looked forward to the possibility of 
controversial pictures of Nicole sufacing on line, particularly 
if they involve nudity or black rubber bondage gear. But no such 
luck. Rather it was an almost unrecognizable mug shot, released 
in the wake of an arrest for alleged drug dealing, and we're not 
talking about just selling a couple of reefers to the local high 
school kids either. According to reports in the "Jersey Journal" 
she's described by officials as being in the "upper echelons" of 
a major methamphetamine ring in New Jersey that was responsible 
for selling $10,000 of meth a week in the area, and faces a 
maximum penalty of ten years in jail. And from the look of her 
complexion, it's hard to avoid the impression that she's been 
using this garbage as well:

http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2009/07/nicole_bobeks_mugshot_released.html

After winning the 1995 title, Bobek went on to make it onto the 
U.S. Olympic team in 1998 along with Michelle Kwan, but a poor 
performance meant she finished well out of the medals. From then 
she went on to enjoy a successful pro career. Her trademark move 
- a spiral with her leg extended almost verttical - was said to 
have even influenced Kwan to improve her spiral, and she was 
always a guaranteed crowd pleaser while on tour.

However, Bobek, who lives with her mother in Florida, pretty much 
dropped out of sight since shooting a bit part in the film "All 
The Kings Men" four years ago. Former skating colleagues and 
agents say they haven't seen or heard of her since. Apparently 
she went from ice skater to ice dealer. It all sounds like the 
plot for one of those "film noir" type movies from the 40's - 
hard-boiled PI gets the job of tracking down leggy blonde femme-
fatale figure skater who has disappeared, only to find her 
several states away leading a bizarre double life as a drug 
pusher. Perhaps she was watching "Scarface" too many times.

Nicole has had problems in the past, but they were many years ago 
and she seemed to be on the right track. Who could possibly have 
predicted she'd end up in such a sorry state, as a junkie drug 
pusher? Perhaps, as is so often the case of those with talent, 
such as Elvis or Michael Jackson, or indeed Tonya, she attracted 
bums and parasites who wanted to sponge off her abilities and who 
led her down the wrong path. Some people have speculated that 
when everything comes out there'll be some sleazy Jeff Gillooly-
type boyfriend in the picture somewhere. Either way, it's a 
shocking tragedy, and I'm sure we all hope she can sort her life 
out. Because at the moment she's skating down Christopher Bowman 
Boulevard, and as every skating fan knows, that's a dead-end 
street.

The contrast (or should that be "Kwantrast") between these two 
skaters couldn't be greater. Michelle Kwan is embarking on 
studies for a career in diplomacy, while as Nicole Bobek looks 
set to be embarking on a stint in jail. Both were champion 
skaters and Olympians in the late 1990's whose paths came 
together in the Olympic team in 1998, yet each have taken 
different roads in life and ended up in radically different 
destinations 11 years later. We can be thankful that Tonya has 
managed to pull her life together and avoided the fate of Nicole.

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VISIT THESE GREAT TONYA WEB SITES:

PortIce - http://www.pdxiss.org
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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