TTTTT H H EEEEE
T H H E
T HHHHH EEEEE
T H H E
T H H EEEEE
PPPP OOOO RRRR TTTTT L A N N DDDD I A N N TM
P P O O R R T L A A NN N D D I A A NN N
PPPP O O RRRR T L AAAAA N N N D D I AAAAA N N N
P O O R R T L A A N NN D D I A A N NN
P OOOO R R T LLLLL A A N N DDDD I A A N N
The Portlandian, the Internet's premier source of Tonya News
June 18, 2010 Edition
(C) 2010 Portland Ice Skating Society
Welcome to the first edition of "The Portlandian" for the new
decade. In this issue, we go drag racing, expose more double
standards by the media, find a Portland street named after Tonya,
check up on an old "friend" of hers who's now in hot water,
review another theatrical show about Tonya and take the chance to
do one last dose of Sammy-bashing. Plus go Gaga over a cool idea
by Johnny Weir.
LIFE'S A DRAG FOR TONYA IN GEORGIA
Tonya has once again found herself back in Georgia, thanks to Tim
Pafford, the businessman who organized her visit to Douglas in
January of last year:
Like many Tonyaphiles, Pafford admits that he initially harbored
a negative image of Tonya thanks to what he read in the media,
but totally changed his mind after meeting her in person.
Referring to a dinner that he was at with Tonya during her
Douglas visit, Pafford admitted "Me, like most people before that
night, all I knew about her was all that stuff with the Nancy
Kerrigan incident". "But after I met her and got to know her
some, I told her afterward, 'Maybe I just didn't know any better,
but I didn't know what to expect. And I just want to tell you
what a delightful, genuine person you are.'"
In late April, Tonya visited Albany GA, where amongst other
activities she took the opportunity to do a little drag racing at
a nearby raceway owned by Pafford. "I've had a lot of celebrities
(as guests at the track)," Pafford said. "I've brought in Steve
Austin, George Jones, Loretta Lynn and others. And she's the best
with young children I've ever seen. People who think she's all
bad just have to meet her. Everyone who meets her likes her. She
is just a special person. What is so special about her is her
This interview she did with a local TV station has some great
images of her speaking with Strollin' Nolan, who now owns his own
burger and barbeque restaurant in Albany and who she also met
last year in Douglas. And is she looking HOT!
Tonya also talked about the charity work she will be doing for
Big Brothers Big Sisters while in town. "I want to be able to use
my name in a good way," said Tonya. "Other people have used my
name to make their own money. If I can make a little bit and put
a smile on someone's face, that's what I'm here to do."
"I've always wanted to help people. I worked with Special
Olympics children when I was in my teens and (raised money for
the Special Olympics). Even when I did get into trouble and had
to do community service, it was one of the most uplifting things
I had ever done in my life. I worked for an elderly community
center, and I met some of the most amazing people there.
"I've seen a part of life I didn't know existed. It's the same
with children I meet all over the country. I meet so many neat
and really wonderful people. If I hadn't gotten into trouble and
hadn't been a skater I wouldn't be doing all these things, and I
wouldn't have met them. I feel very fortunate for that."
That Friday, Tonya raced against Sheryl Nichols Giles, the sister
of speedway legend Skip Giles. After a close fought battle, with
the lead oscillating between Tonya and Giles, Tonya won the final
race by finishing the 1/8-mile strip in 11.34 seconds at 64 mph
(103 km/h) — just ahead of Giles, who ran it in 11.35 at 63 mph
(101 km/h). She was also scheduled to race against members of the
public on the Dragway's go-kart track afterwards, but this was
canceled due to rain. On Sunday, Tonya appeared at the WJIZ Car
and Bike Show at the track, where she raced another car called
"Smoking Gun", a reference to her TruTV show.
"She's just a great person and a joy to be around," Giles said.
"We spent time together all week doing all kinds of things and
she even took me and my niece to get our nails done (before our
race). Racing her was a challenge, but at the finish line it was
all hugs and kisses."
Tonya also returned to Ken's Fish Hatchery, where she caught her
state record-breaking catfish last year, and pulled in another
fish only two inches (5 cm) shy of her record. She also shot two
hogs during a mid-week hunting trip.
Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. "People are
just so awesome here in South Georgia," Tonya said Friday. "You
really get that southern hospitality here. I enjoyed this last
week so much." Hats off too, to the local paper, the Albany
Herald for its positive coverage of Tonya - a rarity for the
TONYA MEDIA WATCH
The past few months have seen several interviews with Tonya in
Around the time of the U.S. skating Nationals in January, Tonya
gave a telephone interview with Christine Brennan, the woman
whose journalistic career has probably benefited the most from
writing about her.
No major news in it, but at least it doesn't seem too bad by
Brennan's standards. Perhaps the main item here is Tonya's
comments on the new judging system, being quoted as saying that
it makes makes skating less interesting by encouraging a certain
sameness in each program.
"People say it's not exciting, that it's just the same programs,"
she told Brennan. "They need to bump up skating again." "What I
mean is to bring in kids from local clubs, kids who don't have
money to pay for competitions, to let them show off their talent
when they're little. Then, when you least expect it a few years
later, there they are."
Around the same time Tonya also did a pre-recorded phone
interview with KFNS, a sports radio station in St. Louis, for
their "First Call Monday" show. Linda Lewis, Tonya's manager and
godmother, says that interviewer Roger Sinnott was very nice and
told Tonya that of all the interviews he has done, she was the
Tonya discussed her appearances on TruTV's "World's Dumbest"
show, her reasons for quitting boxing, and her charity work,
particularly for Big Brothers Big Sisters. She also expressed
interest in doing further acting work. Sinnott plugged her book,
"The Tonya Tapes", while Tonya revealed that cougars and bears
are not uncommon neighbors in the area where she lives.
You can listen to it on-line at:
If you want to save it, the simplest way is if you have Firefox
and the Downloadhelper extension (available from
http://www.downloadhelper.net/), which will automatically pick it
up as soon as it starts playing and enable you to download the
interview as an MP3 file.
In February, Tonya appeared on "the Insider" reading a prepared
statement about the Kerrigan tragedy (see below). She also skated
and landed a triple - toe, not axel. Unfortunately this does not
appear to be available on-line, but there's an article here:
They seem to have bent over backwards to find the most revolting
photo of Tonya they can - the lighting makes her look like she's
got jaundice. This one has a much better photo:
THE BOSTON STRANGLER
The other thing that had Tonya's name once again in the news over
the past few months has ironically been something that didn't
involve Tonya at all.
In late January, Nancy Kerrigan's father Dan Kerrigan died in
suspicious circumstances, apparently after an altercation with
Nancy's brother Mark over the use of a telephone at her parent's
house in Stoneham, MA. Mark was initially charged with assault on
an elderly person, and in April the charges were, not
surprisingly, upgraded to manslaughter after a coroner's
investigation determined that the cause of death was most likely
caused by Mark grasping his father around the neck. This police
report has more details of what sounds like a particularly violent
Tonya has already expressed her sympathies: "Tonya feels very sad
for Nancy and her family and extends her deepest sympathy and
condolences to them. Tonya's beloved dad, Al Harding, passed away
this past April, so she understands the grief Nancy and her
family are feeling at this difficult time", said Tonya's
manager, Linda Lewis, in a statement issued shortly afterwards.
This tragic incident raises numerous questions, many of which
will hopefully be answered once the case goes to trial. But
there's one question that the court won't be considering that we
as Tonyaphiles think is very important, and that is this:
Why the hell haven't we heard of this guy before?
It seems that Mark is the black sheep of the Kerrigan family,
having already done time in jail for offenses ranging from drunk
driving, assault and battery, domestic assaults, resisting arrest
and violating a restraining order. Many of these date from well
before the knee-whacking incident. Yet in all our days following
the Tonya/Nancy thing this is the first time we've ever heard of
Mark Kerrigan and his run-ins with the law, despite the fact that
it sounds like his rap sheet is longer than the Great Wall of
Interviews with Mark's ex-wife that are now coming out make him
sound like a Gillooly clone - violent, abusive and jealous of
another family member's success. Sounds like the perfect type who
would want to sabotage someone's career. I wonder if the police
ever questioned him in the early days after the Clubbing? It
would appear he would have been an obvious suspect, at least
until the Eckardt connection became clear.
Yet there was no mention of him at the time in the press. A
search on Google for articles from 1994 mentioning the name "Mark
Kerrigan" turns up nothing (as opposed to hundreds for Tonya).
We've also checked our archive of hundreds of Tonya/Nancy
articles going back to 1994 and he's not mentioned at all! So
much for "investigative reporting" by the LameStream Media.
If Tonya's sixth-removed step-cousin was to get a parking ticket
it would be front page news on the Oregonian the next day - more
"evidence" of what a bunch of losers and neer-do-wells she and
her family are. We're particularly reminded of her half-brother
Chris Davidson, who also had a similar reputation for getting
into trouble and who was killed in a hit and run accident. There
was even baseless speculation Tonya had something to do with his
death. Yet when it comes to Nancy's dodgy relatives - silence.
It's just another example of the double standard that Tonya is
subjected to by the media.
His ex-wife also claims that the Kerrigans seemed dismissive when
she told them about his abusive behavior. They seem to be in
denial about what a nasty piece of work he is, an attitude that's
still obviously present from their continued statements defending
Nancy's family have been portrayed over the years as the Brady
Bunch, while Tonya's are depicted as like the inbred knuckle-
draggers from "Deliverance". In fact it's now becoming obvious
that Nancy's family is just as dysfunctional as Tonya's.
PORTLAND STREET NAMED AFTER TONYA
This sign appeared at the intersection of North Interstate and
North Watts street in north Portland recently.
Does this mean the city fathers have finally decided to recognize
the achievements of Portland's Princess? Alas, no - it was only
an April Fool's day joke:
FORMER TONYA BOXING PROMOTER IN HOT WATER
Damon Feldman, the boxing "promoter" who was responsible for the
aborted "Tonya vs Daisy D" boxing farce in Florida a few years
back, is back in the news. This time he's being prosecuted for
running illegal boxing matches in Pennsylvania and fixing the
All of which comes as no surprise to any Tonyaphile.
Something's badly wrong with any boxing promoter who actually
makes Don King look ethical by comparison.
CHICAGO THEATRE GROUP TAKES A WHACK AT THE TONYA STORY
No doubt inspired by the Tonya/Nancy opera and rock opera of a
couple of years ago, an outfit in Chicago has had their own crack
at bringing a musical version of the incident to the stage.
"Whack! The Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan Story, A Karaoke
Musical" was staged at the Gorilla Tango Theater in January &
February of this year, with Leslie Nesbitt playing Nancy and
Cassandra Cushman as Tonya. You can view it in its entirety on
It's not the first Tonya/Nancy related production from Chicago's
theater scene: in 2006, the Neofuturarium staged a reading of
"Tonya & Nancy, the Inside Story". Written and directed by Kelly
Williams, "Whack" isn't unfamiliar territory for Gorilla Tango
either, who have previously done similar musical comedies about
two other scandalous women of the 90's, Amy Fisher & Mary Kay
The production generally treats Tonya reasonably kindly: by the
far the biggest barbs are reserved for Nancy Kerrigan, portraying
her as a racist snob, based presumably on the incorrect
assumption that Nancy's family was wealthy. As an aside, it's
interesting how many people seem to assume this was the case -
obviously Jerry Solomon was very sucessful in positioning Nancy
as an ice princess. As another reviewer noted, the production
would have perhaps been a bit more interesting had it taken the
more accurate position of two working-class girls trying to crack
the ice ceiling of the elitist world of figure skating rather
than going for another rich-bitch vs poor-white-trash cliché.
Carry Bain is good as Nancy's blind mother, although the humor is
rather undermined by the unfortunate recent incident in the
Kerrigan household. Natalie Kossar takes a while to warm up as
LaVona Harding. Bryan Cohen, who plays Shawn Eckardt, could
definitely use a bit more padding to make him more recognizable.
There's some good songs, many of which are parodies of Disney
tunes, including one about breasts (which doesn't seem to have
anything much to do with the story). These are definitely the
highlight of the show. When they're singing, it's magic, but
often the talking parts drag - it's perhaps a good thing that the
show is only an hour long.
Overall, it seems to be a case of missed opportunities. For
instance, where is a song or about Shawn Eckardt and his secret
agent antics, something that would appear to be ideal for parody?
And strangely enough, what you would consider the "money shot" of
the whole production, the actual knee-whacking itself, takes
place off-stage, as does another memorable moment, the broken
shoelace incident at Lillehammer.
You can read another review here:
Nor will this be the last of the Tonya theatrics: Word is that a
new production of the Tonya/Nancy Rock Opera will be staged in
Los Angeles later this year.
ANOTHER NEW DOMAIN NAME
A few months ago, we moved to a new domain name. Well, now we've
got two. Thanks to Paul Dizadji of the former Puppetland site,
you can also find us at www.tonyaharding.us, as he has generously
donated the use of this domain to us for at least the next year.
We'd like to thank Paul, a long-time Tonyaphile, for this
generosity in allowing us the use of this domain.
PIMP MY GAMES - SAMMY BITES THE DUST
Former Olympic head Juan Antonio Samaranch died in April at the
age of 89. A former minister in General Franco's fascist
government in Spain, Samaranch managed to reinvent himself after
the death of Franco in 1975, first as a diplomat and then as
leader of the world's biggest sporting institution.
We've long been highly critical of Samaranch, so his passing is a
timely opportunity to look at his legacy to the Olympic movement
and sport in general.
And it's a mixed legacy. His supporters might argue that he
modernized the Games, ending the farce of "shamateurism" and
ushering in a commercial era that has seen the Games go from
money loser to money spinner, arguments that aren't completely
devoid of truth. The days of the full-time amateur athlete -
something that was effectively only available to the rich - were
already well over by the time he took office in 1980. But a
closer analysis shows that it would be superficial to take such
sentiments just at at face value.
It's easy to forget that up until the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics
the Games were a financial dud. Montreal didn't pay off the cost
of the 1976 Games until well into the 1990's. But it wasn't Sammy
who saved the Games, it was Peter Ueberroth who deserves that
credit. By signing up sponsors and mainly using existing venues
to strictly control costs he made the Games profitable -
precisely the opposite of today's philosophy of spending billions
of taxpayer dollars building unnecessary white elephants.
Samaranch merely hijacked the idea of sponsorship, making sure
that in future any profits went to the IOC, not to the local
organizers, who end up getting saddled with Montreal-sized costs.
In addition, Samaranch is also frequently praised for increasing
the participation of developing countries in the Games. But his
motives were far from noble: he did this simply because these
countries tend to be more corrupt and undemocratic. In outfits
like the IOC that operate under a one-country one-vote system
this gave him and his backers, such as Horst Dassler of the
Adidas sportswear conglomerate, enormous power.
Olympic writer Andrew Jennings, one of Samaranch's most vocal
critics, wrote that "corruption became the lubrication of his
Olympic industry" and that he "fleeced sport of its moral and
"He nearly destroyed the Olympics," Jennings said. "We didn't
need all that money in sport. It created this imperial world
where he had to get lots of money to maintain his excellencies
touring the world."
"History's verdict will be he didn't fight a war against doping,
it got out of control. He brought in corruption at the IOC."
Rather than being the man who saved the Games, Samaranch should
really be remembered as the man who pimped the Games to big
business and corrupt dictatorships while turning a blind eye to
drugs and corruption in his own backyard. He delayed and hampered
reform and only took action when it became exposed to the public
and couldn't be ignored any longer. And that's not a legacy to be
IS THIS A COOL IDEA OR WHAT?
Not sure how serious this is, but Johnny Weir definitely has a
Johnny Weir has the best idea of the week. He wants to bring
a show to Vegas called "The Bad Girls of Skating," co-
starring Tonya Harding, Nicole Bobek and other naughties.
"Get 'em all out there in bustiers and fishnets," he tells
Weir, Olympic skater and star of the Sundance Channel's "Be
Good Johnny Weir," wants the skaters to re-create their bad-
girl moments in front of paying crowds.
"It's perfect for Vegas," he says. "I've gotten really close
to Kelly Osbourne. I know she would like to be involved. It
would be amazing."
He sees "Bad Girls" as a summer show, this year or next. As
for a location, he'd like to "see who can cut me a deal," he
says and laughs.
Of course, for a project like this, you're going to need the
right music. For Tonya, definitely the Sex Pistols - I can easily
see her performing to "My Way" by Sid Vicious, with perhaps
Steppenwolf's "Born To Be Wild" as an encore. And with Kelly
Osbourne on board you're obviously going to need a dose of Black
Sabbath in there somewhere. We've often hoped to see Nicole
skating to "Paranoid" dressed in black PVC dominatrix gear.
Johnny will have to appear himself as a guest artist. Might we
suggest "I'm A Boy" by The Who for his performance. It would fit
right in with his whole sexual ambiguity thing.
Unfortunately, we suspect his plan could hit a snag in that
Nicole could be otherwise detained for a few years...
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
Back to Portlandian index
Back to PortIce Home Page