Tonya Harding FAQ version 2.93




Introduction

This FAQ is intended to deal with what has happened to Tonya since her expulsion from the USFSA and any miscellaneous questions relating to Tonya that are not covered elsewhere on this site. Information on Tonya's early skating career, the Kerrigan incident, and books, articles and links to other websites have been allocated their own separate pages as we feel that including them here would make the FAQ too big and difficult to read. The Kerrigan incident in particular is largely dealt with in a series of essays as this is way too complex to deal with adequately in an FAQ. Links to these other pages can be found on our home page.
 

Who is Tonya Harding and why are they saying these terrible things about her?

Tonya Maxene Harding is one of the most talented skaters ever to set foot on the ice. She is a two time U.S. National Champion, has represented her country twice at the Olympics, and is one of only a handful of women skaters who have ever landed the difficult Triple Axel jump in a competition.

Unfortunately, since the middle of 1994 Tonya has been effectively blackballed by the skating establishment from participating in competitions or shows. This banishment stems from a clumsily organized attack on another skater that took place just before the 1994 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, an attack that was devised by Tonya's violent, abusive ex-husband in a misguided attempt to assist Tonya's chances in the Winter Olympics that were held a few weeks later. The full story of this plot and the events leading up to it are detailed in a series of essays elsewhere on our site.

There has never been any credible evidence to support the notion that Tonya ever had any role in organizing this attack, and Tonya has consistently denied any such role or any prior knowledge of the attack at all. Despite this, Tonya has been banned for life by the United States Figure Skating Association, the body that controls Olympic figure skating in that country. There is also strong anecdotal evidence to suggest that a conspiracy exists amongst top professional figure skaters to prevent her from ever being allowed to appear in any other competitions or shows.
 

What is the Portland Ice Skating Society?

The Portland Ice Skating Society, New Zealand's Tonya Harding fan club, exists to publicize the injustice that is being perpetrated towards Tonya by a small elite cabal of figure skaters and officials.

The Portland Ice Skating Society was founded in the fall of 1996 to fill what we saw as a gaping lack of accurate, positive information about Tonya Harding on the Internet at the time. We started off with "The Portlandian", a newsletter about Tonya published to various skating newsgroups. Thankfully, the situation has improved since then, and there are now several other quality Web sites devoted to Tonya available, but we still see alot of work to be done, hence this site. In spite of our name we don't come from Tonya's home town of Portland, Oregon, but instead from New Zealand, though we have members from all around the globe. We call ourselves the Portland Ice Skating Society because we aim to p*** off the pompous, politically correct windbags in skating who put Tonya down and try to deny her a livelihood. In fact, we could have equally called ourselves the Politically Incorrect Skating Society. We're completely independent: although we are in regular contact with Tonya's management, we're not officially affiliated to them and make no pretense to speak on Tonya's behalf. We're just a group of people who want to draw attention to double standards and lynch-mob justice when we see it.

On a wider level, we also seek to publicize the hypocrisy of the Olympic movement as a whole, a movement that insists on the most ludicrously high standards from people like Tonya but is in fact little more than a steroid-sodden marketing exercise for big multinational companies, run by a group of corrupt old men more interested in enjoying luxurious lifestyles than in promoting true sportsmanship. The International Skating Union, the body that controls Olympic-level figure skating is no better, with corruption and rigged judging rife.
 

What is "The Portlandian"?

An irregular "e-zine" published by the Portland Ice Skating Society, New Zealand's own unofficial Tonya Harding Fan Club, and the leading source of Tonya news on the Net. An archive of past and current issues and details on how to subscribe is located here.
 

What is the extent of the USFSA's life ban? Does it completely prevent Tonya from skating?

Officially, no. The US Figure Skating Association only controls what is known as "Olympic eligible" (often erroneously referred to as "amateur") skating. The life ban that was imposed by the USFSA only prevents Tonya from skating in USFSA sanctioned events. In theory, Tonya is still free to skate in other unsanctioned events such as ice shows or "pro" competitions where no USFSA skaters are involved.

Unfortunately, top-level skating is pretty much a closed shop and there appears to be strong anecdotal evidence that an organized conspiracy exists amongst elite pro skaters to blackball Tonya from the ice. We have heard strong rumors from reliable sources that many top skaters have "no-Tonya" clauses in their contracts, for instance. Another rumor also suggests that Paul Wylie put the hard word on promoter Dick Button when Button announced he would have no problem with Tonya appearing in one of his events shortly after Lillehammer. In addition, former skater Christopher Bowman (not a man without his own share of past troubles) confirmed the existence of an unwritten "blacklist" in an interview in the "Washington Post": "there was an unspoken rule that she was to be blackballed," he says. "The USFSA always says that's not true, but it's the perception, the idea. That's the thing about figure skating - there doesn't have to be a blacklist for there to be a blacklist, if you know what I mean."

Another effect of the ban is to prevent Tonya from becoming an official "coach of record" for USFSA skaters, further hindering her ability to make a living from her skating craft. Although this doesn't prevent Tonya from unofficially coaching USFSA skaters per se, it does mean she cannot gain backstage access to skaters she coaches at USFSA events (such as in the "Kiss and Cry" area, or before they go out onto the ice). There is also the danger that any students of hers may be discriminated against by the judges.

All this is why it is important to get the ban lifted even though Tonya planned to leave the eligible ranks after Lillehammer anyway, as it gives a kind of "moral legitimacy" to this unofficial blacklisting process. There are, nevertheless, some skaters who have made pro-Tonya noises: Dorothy Hamill (who at that stage owned the Clackamas Town Center rink) made a brief on-ice appearance there with Tonya in mid 1994, and also offered her a job as a skating instructor, but this fell through when Hamill ran into financial difficulties. Katarina Witt has also made comments to the effect that Tonya should be forgiven, shortly after Tonya's Reno performance (see below). Most recently, several top skaters competed against Tonya in the ESPN competition in Huntington, West Virginia, in 1999 which suggests that the blackballing process may be breaking down at last.

Has Tonya performed in public since she was banned?

Yes, on seven occasions: the first was at her home rink at the Clackamas Town Center mall in Portland at Christmas 1994. There she performed a pairs routine dressed as Mrs Santa Claus with Patrick Page, a local part-time skating instructor, but she was badly overweight and out of shape. Despite this, however, she still pulled a crowd estimated at 2000 people. The second was in Reno, Nevada in February 1997 where she performed a short routine before a minor league hockey game. She next performed in December 1997 for the Fox "Breaking The Ice" special, where she skated at an outdoor rink in Beavercreek, Colorado. Tonya skated alone at this isolated location as the rest of the skaters refused to perform with her at the indoor rink in nearby Vail where the rest of the skating was recorded.

On the NBC "Today" show on the 25th of February 1999, Tonya skated live at the outdoor Rockefeller Plaza rink in New York City. Tonya did several single jumps and a double salchow, but was hampered by the small size of the rink and the poor quality of the ice (not to mention the temperature) from doing anything more spectacular.

Tonya made her pro skating debut at the ESPN Pro Championships in Huntington, West Virginia, in October 1999, where Tonya came in second place out of a field of five. This was the first time Tonya had skated in a competition since the Lillehammer Olympics. A report can be found in the October 19th and October 20th editions of "The Portlandian".

Tonya also skated on French TV in late 2001.

The most recent appearance was on February 23rd, 2004, where Tonya again returned to the Central Park rink in order to commemorate the 10th anniversary of her Lillehammer appearance. Tonya had not skated for 18 months and her performance was quite rusty.
 

What else has happened to Tonya since she was banned?

Quite a lot. In mid 1994 Tonya landed a job as "celebrity manager" for a wrestler, Art Barr, who operated under the name of "The American Love Machine" (reports are that the guy later died of a drug overdose, though presumably not because of Tonya). She then went on to feature in a bit part in a low-budget movie titled "Breakaway". Around this time she also had her breasts enlarged - and halfway through shooting the movie too: see if you can tell. In 1995, Tonya did a one-off singing appearance with a band she formed called the "Golden Blades" to raise money for charity. Later that year she married a mechanic called Michael Smith, but it only lasted 100 days and then Tonya was back in divorce court again, claiming abuse. The wedding ceremony should have been a tip off to the trouble to come: a gatecrasher known only as "Bob" took a photo and sold it to the Oregonian for $100. Tonya was livid, and worried it might cashier a $25,000 exclusive deal she had with a tabloid. Bob claims it ended in a fight with Tonya ramming his car. It was about this time that Tonya met her next agent, David Hans Schmidt, who got her an appearance on the "Geraldo Rivera Show" in July 1996. For news since then, see "The Portlandian".
 

What is Tonya doing at present?

Tonya presently lives in an undisclosed location in central Oregon. She married in 2010 and in 2011 gave birth to a baby boy, and her time is naturally largely devoted to motherhood these days. However she also does appear regularly on TruTV's "World's Dumbest" series, where along with other celebrities who have had run-in's with the law (such as the Partridge Family's Danny Bonaduce) she makes fun of dim-witted criminals caught on security cameras.
 

What was the actual weapon used to whack Nancy? What happened to it?

Although often described by poorly informed sources as variously a "tire iron" or an "iron bar", the weapon used was actually a plastic ASP retractable police baton. We know this because it was discarded at the scene and recovered by the police. There are unconfirmed reports that it was destroyed some years ago by the FBI as some sort of fund-raising stunt.
 

Has Tonya met with or spoken to Nancy Kerrigan since the 1994 Olympics?

In December of 1997 Tonya met Kerrigan face to face on the Fox "Breaking The Ice Special". Tonya did this because she wanted to apologize to Nancy for what had happened. This is the last time they have communicated.
 

Will Tonya ever skate against Nancy again?

Extremely unlikely - as contrary to what the media tries to make out, Tonya and Nancy are no longer rivals and there is no other apparent reason why Nancy would be interested in such a contest. Nancy now has a family, is by all accounts comfortably off financially, and having beaten Tonya in Lillehammer probably doesn't feel she has anything left to prove to either herself or anyone else. Tonya's view is that such a contest would be little more than a publicity stunt for these very reasons. Accordingly, the possibility is very remote (though you can never be absolutely sure of anything when you're dealing with Tonya. Up until the "Breaking The Ice" meeting, even the idea of Tonya and Nancy ever being in the same room together was regarded as absurd. So the possibility can't be totally ruled out).
 

How much money did Tonya make out of the scandal?

Zilch. It is a popular myth that Tonya somehow made a huge amount of dough out the whole deal. In fact, although she did reputedly receive $300,000 from "Inside Edition" this was quickly guzzled up in fines, taxes and legal fees. Today Tonya lives in central Oregon and is a host on TruTV's "World's Dumbest" series. A rumor that she gets some sort of royalty from the so-called "Wedding Night" tape is unconfirmed, but it would be unlikely to be much in any case. She has also reportedly had trouble with the IRS over unpaid taxes and in 2002 was evicted for unpaid rent.
 

What are "The Golden Blades"?

In September 1995, a local radio station invited Tonya to sing with a band she had formed called "The Golden Blades" (named after her distinctive gold-colored skate blades) as warm-up act for Kool & The Gang at a charity event in Portland. Contrary to popular belief this was a one-off performance and was NOT intended as an attempt to develop a serious pop-singing career. Unfortunately, it appears that the radio station in question was more interested in getting a cheap laugh at Tonya's expense than in really helping her or the charity concerned (Jerry's Kids) and sabotaged Tonya's performance. The gig did not go well, with Tonya being loudly booed and pelted with plastic bottles, though whether this was because of Tonya's singing ability or just a general dislike of Tonya isn't clear. In any case, you can now make up your own mind as Tonya has also recorded a version of "Amazing Grace" with her best friend Linda Lewis and her husband, which has been released - see the "merchandise" section below.
 

There was a TV movie made about the Tonya & Nancy incident. What was it called?

"Tonya & Nancy: The Inside Story" was a hastily assembled made-for-TV movie designed to cash in on interest surrounding the scandal. It premiered on the US NBC network on April 29th 1994 and starred Alexandra Powers (of "LA Law") as Tonya and Heather Langenkamp as Nancy (who, ironically, was best known for playing another character called Nancy in the "Nightmare On Elm Street" films). In spite of its title it was based almost entirely on public-domain sources such as police reports and newspaper articles, not on any special inside exclusives (though Tonya's former coach, Dody Teachman, is credited as "technical adviser"). A full cast listing can be found at The Internet Movie Database, and a review was published in the June 4, 1999 issue of "The Portlandian". It does not appear to have ever been issued on any home video format apart from an unconfirmed rumor of a VHS release in Japan.

Fox was also working on it's own TV movie about the incident but dumped the idea when it became apparent that there would be no trial. Another proposal for a film to be entitled "Tonya Harding - An American Tragedy" also appears to have never got off the ground.
 

What is "Breakaway"?

"Breakaway", released in May 1995, was a low budget action movie filmed in Los Angeles and Portland in which Tonya had a bit part. It remains, to date, one of only two acting attempts. The plot concerns Myra Styles (Teri Thompson), a courier for brutal Mob boss Anton (Ray Dash), who overhears that Anton is planning to have her "whacked" and decides to "breakaway" from the Mob with 300 grand of Anton's money. Needless to say, Anton isn't too happy about this and sends a hitman, Grey (Joe Estevez) after Myra, who goes to her boyfriend Carter (Chris DeRose) for help - but he's just interested in getting his hands on the loot and running off with his new girlfriend, a waitress called Gina (Tonya). Tonya's part in the movie is relatively small, but there is a fight scene where she beats up a guy and kicks him down some stairs. The Kung-Fu moves in the fight were apparently choreographed by Tonya herself. A full cast and crew list can be found at David House's Tonya site and at the Internet Movie Database, above.

The film was originally initially released to the Asian & European markets, but in the late 90's started to turn up on cable TV channels in the US (such as Cinemax). VHS NTSC copies have long been available from a number of vendors on the Net, and in December 1999 it was re-issued at the lower sell-through recommended price of $US19:99, a vast improvement over the original price of $US89:99 which was aimed at rental stores. Amongst the suppliers that we know of that stock it are Amazon.com. Used copies occasionally turn up at E-bay, sometimes at bargain prices. A source for PAL copies is not known, but it has been sighted in England, so they must exist (despite the fact that the British Board of Film Classification doesn't list it in it's database, implying it hasn't been officially released in the UK). We would appreciate information on any other sources for this tape, especially for PAL copies. It does not appear to have ever been issued on laserdisc. DVD copies have been spotted on e-Bay, but as these are of Asian origin these are almost certainly pirated.

NEW: German-dubbed region 2 DVD's (which are presumably PAL) have also recently surfaced under the title "Breakaway - Flucht in die Hölle" (Escape Fom Hell). Whether these are official is not known. They appear to be German-only with no English soundtrack.

Readers outside North America should read our warning about TV standards before arranging to purchase or exchange any tapes or discs.
 

You mentioned two acting attempts - what's the other one? Does she plan on resuming acting?

In December 2002, Tonya went to Tulsa, Oklahoma and spent several days shooting scenes in a boxing-themed movie, "The Prize Fighter". The film's plot, which is broadly inspired by a true story, concerns a retired boxer who attempts a "Rocky"-style comeback in one last fight in order to honor the memory of his dead wife. Gary Busey plays a sleazy fight promoter who wants to see him fail. Tonya appears briefly as the owner of a bar where the fights take place - apparently the director, Mark Mason, is a long-time Tonyaphile and specifically wrote this scene for Tonya. The film was released on video in early 2005 and was reviwed in "The portlandian" of 12 November 2010.

Tonya has expressed interest in doing more acting, but there are no immediate plans.
 

Wasn't Tonya supposedly offered a part in a Woody Allen film some years back?

The June/July 1995 issue of "International Figure Skating" published an article in which it was claimed that Tonya had signed with an outfit called the Ruth Webb agency, a group of bottom-feeders who specialize in marketing tabloid-level sleaze. Sherri Spillane of the Webb agency claimed she had come up with over 30 projects for Tonya but that she had turned them all down for various reasons. Examples cited were a guest appearance on "Married With Children" and a role in a Woody Allen film (supposedly the Mira Sorvino part in "Mighty Aphrodite"), Tonya allegedly declining the latter because she "didn't like his morals". It was also claimed that Tonya pulled out of a personal appearance in Boston because of fears of retaliation from enraged Kerrigan fans.

Merrill Eichenberger, who was Tonya's agent at the time, tells it differently. He claims that although he had an agreement with the Webb agency to look out for work for Tonya, they were never her agents and that all they came up with was rubbish - just "some B movie stuff that was terrible". "This is a situation where they were trying to use a celebrity to promote themselves", he said. Given the rather incredible nature of some of the claims, we suspect this is probably the most likely explanation. It's certainly difficult to imagine any rink owner in Boston inviting Tonya to skate there.
 

What is the "Wedding Night Video"?

See the next question below.
 

I heard that Tonya once did some sort of porno film. Is that true?

The movie, "Tonya and Jeff's Wedding Night" (and most commonly known just simply as "The Wedding Night Video") was a home video made by Tonya and her husband, Jeff Gillooly, which shows Tonya stripping off a wedding dress and having sex with Jeff. It was almost certainly only ever originally intended for private screening, but Gillooly, angry at his then ex-wife for implicating him in the Kerrigan attack, sold it to a tabloid "news" show for $100,000 who screened bits of it in February 1994 just before the Lillehammer games. They then onsold it to Penthouse magazine for what was reportedly a tidy profit who in turn released it around September of that year. Contrary to its title, (and popular belief), it was in fact NOT made on Tonya's wedding night at all, but is a compilation of apparently three different love-making sessions recorded on three separate occasions. There are also very obvious "continuity errors" that reveal it to be the result of at least three different recordings (for instance, in one sequence Jeff has a moustache and in another he doesn't; also, the furniture has moved).
 

How can I get a copy of this thing?

We are informed that Penthouse no longer stocks it, but you can probably still get it from any decent porno store in the US. Stills from it were published in the magazine's September 1994 issue, and are even to this day regularly posted on the Internet (especially to groups like alt.fan.tonya-harding.whack.whack.whack). Copies have also been spotted for sale at eBay On-line Auctions so they may be worth a try. Before you buy a copy, however, a word of warning: people who have seen it say it's vastly overrated; it's technically poor (Gillooly wouldn't win any Oscars for cinematography) and Tonya's "performance" is certainly not likely get a 6.0, whether for "technical merit","artistic impression", or on the Richter scale, to put it mildly. If you're looking for porn, there is much better stuff than this you can spend your money on. And if you're interested in Tonya, you'd get much better value from one of her skating videos. If you must insist on seeing it, we'd suggest you rent it instead. Either way, don't write to us asking for it - (see "No, we don't have the Wedding Night Video" for why not).

Readers outside North America should read our warning about TV standards before arranging to purchase or exchange any tapes.
 

Are there any other raunchy pictures of Tonya?

Not genuine ones. The stills from the Wedding Night tape remain the only genuine nude shots of Tonya in circulation. A picture purporting to be of Tonya having sex on a chair that was widely posted on the Internet is an obvious and crude (in every sense of the word) fake. Another black & white shot supposedly of Tonya lying naked in her backyard is in fact a photo from a 1993 issue of "Gallery" magazine that has been doctored to give the model the appearance of blonde hair. Various other fake porno shots of Tonya in circulation bearing notices like "© Event Horizons" are composites made by a porn peddler in Portland.
 

Will Tonya do any more porn films or pose nude?

No. Tonya is a figure skater, and a boxer, not a porn star. As mentioned above, this video was never originally intended for public viewing. She has no interest in pursuing a career in this area.
 

Are there many Tonya fans out there?

There are heaps of fans of Tonya (or "Tonyaphiles") - the huge turnout at Reno where 4500 people packed into a stadium where the previous highest turnout was 2500 proved that. Some even traveled hundreds of kilometers to see Tonya skate there. But most are hidden and are afraid to come "out" because of continued hostility to Tonya from other skating fans.
 

What sort of people are they? Aren't you really just a bunch of obsessed John Hinkley-type sickos who want to shag Tonya?

It is difficult to tell exactly what sort of people typical Tonyaphiles are, as most of our contact is via the Internet, which may not necessarily be representative of the population of Tonya fans out there. Suffice to say that they come from all around the world and most of them seem to be decent, honest, normal people, not homicidal axe-wielding maniacs. A now-defunct Tonya website received hundreds of messages wishing Tonya well. Interestingly, interest in Tonya seems to be connected to how much an area has been exposed to Tonya news; for instance Scandanavia (especially Norway) and New England (which you would think would be strongly anti-Tonya, being Nancy Kerrigan's home turf) are all hotbeds of Tonya support. The American South also seems to have a few Tonyaphiles. There also seem to be rumors of strong interest in Tonya in Germany and Asia as well. One of Tonya's former agents, David Hans Schmidt, once told us that in Japan "they can't get enough of her".
 

How do I get in touch with Tonya? Is she on the Net? Is there a fan club?

Regrettably, there is at present no official fan club for Tonya in operation. However, messages to Tonya can be sent via her good friends and former managers, Greg and Linda Lewis, at the following postal address:
Tonya Harding
c/o Linda Lewis
P.O. Box 1006
Manor, TX 78653
USA

Please note that as the box is registered to Linda you have to include her name in the address, otherwise the mail will be returned.

The Lewises also offer autographed pictures of Tonya and tapes and CD's of her pop singing efforts for sale as well. See the "merchandise" section below.

You can also leave a message using our feedback form and we will pass it on to the Lewises to forward to Tonya

We have never seen anything to indicate that Tonya is on the Internet herself or even has any interest in computers. Even if she was on line, we certainly wouldn't publish her e-mail address here as she would easily become the target of flakes and hate mail. You can leave either a public or private message for Tonya using our message board and several of the other Tonya sites have public message boards where people can leave messages of support. We are informed that Greg and Linda Lewis are aware of these sites and have passed some of the messages from there on to Tonya.

Although there is no official fan club for Tonya, you can join our club, the Portland Ice Skating Society, merely by subscribing to the Portlandian.
 

Previous Fan Clubs & Agents

An early fan club operated out of Portland by Elaine Stamm in 1993 and '94 is now defunct. At its height it had over 2000 members, and even before the scandal it had 400. It also put out a Tonya fanzine called "The Skater", made a banner that hung at her home rink at the Clackamas Town Center mall and raised over $2000 that was given to Tonya before she left for Lillehammer. A second fan club, known as "Tonya's Golden Blades Fan Club", was started in late 1994 by her then agent, Merrill Eichenberger, and promised various forthcoming merchandise such as a series of "learn to skate" videos and a calendar, but also folded after about a year when Eichenberger dumped Tonya to concentrate on his informercial business. None of the merchandise appears to have eventuated. Eichenberger did, apparently, manage to get Tonya a job as manager for a professional wrestler and also appears to have been the one that got her the role in "Breakaway" (he himself plays a character called "Big Ike" in the movie). Tonya's next agent, David Hans Schmidt, of Phoenix AZ, at one stage offered autographed photos of Tonya but was fired shortly after Reno when Tonya accused him of ripping her off over the deal. His status as Tonya's agent since then seems to be somewhat uncertain; it appears he might have had some hand in organizing the Fox interview, and was once acting as agent for Gillooly. However, for the first half of 1998 the Lewises were acting as Tonya's managers. For a brief period in late 1998, Tonya was with the R.J. Garis Agency of California, who organized a Tonya special on the E! Entertainment network.

During 1999 Tonya's original agent, Michael Rosenberg, acted as an advisor to Tonya as she went about resuscitating her career, and was able to get her a place in a contest sponsored by ESPN in October 1999. In early 2000 the company he worked for, SFX skating, signed her as a client, but she was quickly dumped after an altercation with her then boyfriend led to more bad publicity.
 

What is "The Skater"?

This was an early Tonya fanzine put out by the original Tonya Harding Fan Club of Portland. You can get more details and view a sample issue from August 1993.
 

What is the story with the site at www.tonyaharding.com? Is it an official site? Whatever happened to that nice guy Roy Edwards who used to run it?

Basically, it turned out that he wasn't so nice. Tonya dissociated herself from him after an investigation by the PortIce Special Duties Section disclosed some rather unpleasant facts about him, like that he didn't exist. We would like to make it clear that this site no longer has any connection to Tonya, nor is it in any way associated with anyone here at PortIce, no matter what the operator may try to make out. A spokesperson for Tonya asked us to post the following disclaimer on her behalf:
"She in no way endorses that site. It is not her site and her name is being used without her permission, as well as her image. The person running it is doing so with full knowledge that she wants nothing to do with it".
Tonya is currently taking legal advice over the situation, so this isn't the end of the matter.
 

Is there any official Tonya merchandise available?

The Lewises offer several autographed photos of Tonya for purchase at a cost of $US10:00 for an 8x10 black & white print or $US15:00 for color. Just send a money order or cashier's check, payable to Tonya Harding (no cash or personal checks please) along with a large SASE to the above address, along with details of which photo you want. They also now have the famous "evening dress" photo of Tonya standing in the doorway of one of her trucks in a gold evening gown that was used to illustrate an August 1994 "Esquire" article on Tonya by Jimmy Breslin. Be sure to state you want the "evening gown" photo if you're after this one.

Also available are cassettes and CD's of Tonya singing "Amazing Grace" and two songs that the Lewises wrote in Tonya's honor some years back, entitled "It's Tonya's Turn" and "She's Fire On Ice". Several of these have been played on TV and radio internationally. Autographed copies signed by Tonya are also available at a slightly higher price.
 

Where can I get footage of Tonya skating?

Tonya has appeared on TV many times over the years in both skating and tabloid "news" shows so video footage of her is not too hard to find, either for purchase or trade.

Video Sports Productions specializes in figure skating tapes and DVDs, and they have about 20 or so VHS tapes featuring Tonya currently available. These tapes are being heavily discounted at present so they may not be available for long, and probably will not be reissued on DVD. Payment can be made by Visa, Mastercard, International Money Order in US funds, or in the case of US orders, personal checks. These tapes are probably NTSC system (see warning below).

Another place that is worth trying is Kelley Donovan's Skate Tape trading page. We ourselves obtained a very good compilation of clips featuring Tonya from various tabloid and talk shows (including her first appearance on the "Geraldo Rivera Show") from here. Most of this stuff is also NTSC (see warning below).

Please note that the NBC "World Champions on Ice" tape that was issued some years ago only has a short bio on Tonya and doesn't feature any complete programs by her (In fact, it only features three complete programs on the entire tape and, as with many NBC skating tapes, the music has been redubbed with soundalikes to save on royalties).

Another source that has emerged in recent years is YouTube. Tonya videos on YouTube can be found here. Note that this search also brings up some rubbish, including some porn, but the vast majority of the videos are good quality Tonya footage.

NOTE FOR NON-NORTH AMERICAN READERS: Although she has appeared on broadcasts in Japan and Germany, Tonya is still principally an American phenomenon. People in Europe, Australia, South Africa, etc, should therefore bear in mind that because of this most of the tapes of Tonya in circulation are recorded in the US NTSC TV system and will NOT replay on most older (pre mid-90's) PAL or SECAM VCR's. You should therefore make quite sure you know exactly what you are getting when you arrange to buy or swap a tape - although it is possible to get these tapes converted, this can often be expensive, inevitably results in a quality drop and may run into problems with local copyright laws. If you live in a country which doesn't use NTSC you may well want to consider buying a multi-system VCR if you plan to acquire lots of Tonya tapes. Fortunately, most PAL VCR's made after the mid 1990's now seem to incorporate some sort of NTSC playback, even the very basic models. This may well be cheaper and more convenient than paying for a lot of tape conversions.

If you're not sure what system your country uses, here's some further info about TV standards.

Bear in mind that many commercial DVDs also use a region coding system designed to interfere with international exchange of DVDs. Fortunately most DVD players sold outside of the U.S. simply ignore this region coding, or can be easily hacked using "secret" codes (easily found on-line in about five seconds) entered on the remote control unit.

We would appreciate information on any other sources of Tonya skating footage that anybody may know of.
 

Where can I get posters of Tonya?

Ironically, one place is the USFSA itself. The United States Figure Skating Association still actually sells posters that include Tonya (there's at least two: the "three girl" poster of her & Nancy & Kristi Yamaguchi, and a 1994 Olympic team poster). You can also get 8 x 10 color or black & white photos of Tonya from Tonya's friends, Greg and Linda Lewis (see below).
 

What other Tonya collectables are there? Where are the the best places to find them?

The Tonya/Nancy incident spawned a whole lot of merchandise by people trying to cash in on the deal, ranging from comic books to tee-shirts. A list of books and videos can be found elsewhere on this site, and some of these are mentioned in other parts of this FAQ.

Probably the best place to find Tonya collectables is E-bay on-line auctions.

Note: if these links don't work, go to http://search.ebay.com/ws/search/AdvSearch?sofindtype=13&ssPageName=h:h:advsearch:US and search for "Tonya Harding". Be sure to select both the text AND title fields to be searched.
 

I've seen pictures of a postage stamp featuring Tonya. Is that for real?

No. 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. Nevertheless, reports are that several people actually successfully sent letters through the postal system using some of these, despite the risk of a fine for mail fraud!
 

Where and when was Tonya born?

November 12th, 1970, in Oregon. Pay no attention to reports that she was born in Australia on the 16th. This is the work of one Charles "Chuckie" Newman, a well known Net-kook and skating fan whose idea of "fun" is making up false information about various skaters. These falsehoods are published anonymously on various newsgroups in assorted e-zines with names like "Hatchet Job", "Anonymous Australian", "Ayers Rock Times", "Tasmanian Devil", etc that purport to originate from Australia but are in fact all published out of Sacramento CA, where Mr Newman was a student.
 

There was an ugly rumor circulating some years ago that Tonya once had somebody "iced". What's the true story about that?

Back in 1986 Tonya was attacked by one of her half brothers, Chris Davison, whom Tonya says tried to rape her. Tonya fought him off with a curling iron and a hockey stick. Two years later, Davison died after being struck by a car in an unsolved hit-and-run accident. At the time of the Kerrigan incident, unfounded rumors began to circulate that this was in fact not an accident and that Tonya had either carried out or organized Davison's death.

The truth, however, is that Davison was drunk at the time he was run over and had a long history of drinking problems. At the time that this rumor first surfaced, the Portland Police Department issued this statement:

"There is no evidence or reason to believe that Harding or any relatives are associated with, had any involvement or knowledge regarding this accident."
In short, the story has no substance and is nothing more than another example of the anti-Tonya bias of the media.
 

Is it true that Tonya reunited with Jeff Gillooly after the Kerrigan scandal?

No. Rumors to this effect began to circulate in mid 1994, but they are not true. It is most likely that people were confusing Douglas Lemon, Tonya's boyfriend of the time, with Gillooly, as they apparently share a close physical resemblance. Tonya last saw Gillooly in January 1994.
 

There was a story going around a few years ago that Tonya was trying to get back into the Olympics by skating for a foreign country. What happened with that?

This was a story put out in February 1997 by David Hans Schmidt, Tonya's agent at the time, and appears to have most likely been just a publicity gimmick designed to hype press coverage of Tonya's pro debut in Reno. It made front page news in Norway (one of the countries proposed, and whose skating federation turned the offer down in any case), but was probably never a serious proposition. Indeed, some of the countries Schmidt approached weren't even members of the International Skating Union, the body which governs Olympic skating.
 

Is it true that Tonya was planning to skate topless in a show in Las Vegas?

No. This was a story cooked up in July 2001 by Kate Maddox, a "journalist" in Las Vegas who couldn't be bothered doing basic research. The truth is that although Tonya was offered such a deal she never seriously considered it.
 

Is it true that Tonya violated her probation by being caught with alcohol in late 2002?

No. Tonya and her friend Christopher Nolan were stopped by a forest ranger who discovered an unopened can of alcohol in their vehicle. Tonya was prosecuted for violating the terms of her probation, which include not drinking. Not only was the case dismissed, but the judge severely criticized the prosecutor bringing the case in the first place, chastising him for, in his words, "wasting the court's time" with "potential violations only".
 

Is it true that Tonya got drunk and caused problems during an airline flight in December 2002?

No. It was the woman in the seat in front of Tonya who caused the problem.
 

Whatever happened to that "Stephanie" woman Tonya used to hang out with?

Stephanie Quintero was Tonya's best mate at the time of the Scandal. Indeed, she even moved in with Stephanie and her husband at one stage and there was talk of Stephanie's family officially adopting Tonya. Tonya claims that the Quintero's sold her out to the tabloids. There have also been claims that John Quintero was involved in obtaining the Wedding Night Video tape for Gillooly.
 

Wasn't Tonya working on a book at one stage? Did it ever get published?

In late 1993 Tonya started making a series of audio tape recordings with "Skater" editor Joe Haran which would have formed the basis of a proposed book. Unfortunately the events of early 1994 overtook everything and the idea never got past this rudimentary stage. The tapes now reside in the Special Duties Section archives, having been kindly donated to us by Mr. Haran in 2000.

In 1999 Tonya worked on an autobiography with Canadian writer Lynda Prouse, who has done other skating books. During 2000 and 2001 Prouse's agent shopped the manuscript around various publishers, and we understand a substantial five-figure advance was discussed, but nothing ever seemed to eventuate. However we are pleased to report that in May 2008 the book, entitled "The Tonya Tapes" was published by World Audience. You can find details on our books page.
 

Wasn't there a proposal for Tonya to do a radio talk show some years ago? What happened to that?

Yes, there was. It was with Internet radio station Eyada.com and was supposed to start in early 2000. Unfortunately Eyada went belly-up in the dot-bomb crash of 2000, sinking the idea.
 

What is "skater" virus?

This is a virus that causes the following message to appear on screen:
"I love Tonya Harding, the greatest woman figure skater in history. Now Tonya, do that triple axel and kick Kristi Yamaguchi's arse - Australian Parasite."
Exactly why a message like this is actually considered a virus is still a mystery to us.
 

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© 2012 Portland Ice Skating Society. Last updated: 1 May 2012