T   H   H  E
  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

February 16, 2019 Edition - SPECIAL TRIPLE AXEL DAY EDITION
(C) 2019 Portland Ice Skating Society

Happy Triple Axel Day! Yes, it's now 28 years since Tonya became 
the second woman in the world (and the first American one) to 
land that jump in Minneapolis back in '91.

Witnessing Tonya land that triple axel in person would be the 
Tonyaphile equivalent of being at Woodstock when Hendrix was on 
stage. Or being at a Pistols gig in '77, and getting spat on by 
Sid Vicious. In other words, about as cool as you can get. For 
the vast bulk of us who were not members of that privileged 
elite, however, we must make do with YouTube to fill in the gap:

Here's the real version:

And here's the movie one:

Although it's been little more than a month since our last issue, 
much has been happening in Tonya-land, so let's get right down to 
it. First up, an important speaking engagement for Tonya that has 
been recently announced.


Domestic violence is a subject that has been in the news a lot 
over the past two years since the start of the #MeToo movement, 
most recently with the documentary series "Lorena", which has 
seen another 90's punchline, Lorena Bobbitt, getting an overdue 

Now Tonya will be telling of her own experiences: she will be 
speaking at the Domestic Violence Clinicís 20th anniversary 
Celebration Gala and Fundraiser at the University of Oregon in 
Eugene in March:

  "This is me telling people what I had to go through and how I 
   have gotten through it," Harding said. "Iím hoping that I can 
   help someone else."

   Merle Weiner, professor at the School of Law and faculty 
   director of the Domestic Violence Clinic, believes Hardingís 
   story will resonate with survivors and bring to light the work 
   done by the clinic in Lane County.

  "We serve victims of domestic violence, stalking and sexual 
   assault," Weiner said. "Tonya experienced all these things ó 
   and she survived. Tonya knows personally how victims need to 
   be believed and supported, and how legal help can be beyond 
   oneís reach. We want to ensure that women like Tonya have 
   access to legal resources. We can help."

  "Domestic violence happens everywhere," Harding said. "It 
   happens every single day and so much of it we donít see."

   With this new platform, Harding wants people to realize that 
   for many domestic violence victims, talking to a friend or 
   picking up a phone and asking for help is a difficult thing to 

  "It took a long time for me to ask for help because I was 
   ashamed," Harding said. "I felt small, belittled and thought 
   that I didnít amount to anything. I had to realize that I am 
   worth something. Every day, I have to push forward no matter 
   what is thrown my way, and thatís really hard to do. But if 
   you want to succeed at just living life, you have to take it 
   one step at a time."

The event will take place on March 14, 2019 from 6:00Ė8:00 p.m at 
the University's Ford Alumni Center. Tickets range from from $25 
to $100 and include hors d'oeuvres, no-host bar, music, silent 
auction, awards, and presentation from Tonya:


Tonya has also been busy on Instagram - she's posted a new photo 
showing her truck after a recent snowfall:

"I always knew I lived in a magical Winter Wonderland!" she 
commented. Well, it might not be a white Christmas, but better 
late than never. And since neither Winter Wonderland, Let It 
Snow, Frosty the Snowman or Jingle Bells actually mention 
Christmas, there's no reason why she can't listen to them anyway.


The biggest Tonya-related event of last month was one where the 
participants would have rather avoided the connection - January 
saw the U.S. Figure Skating Nationals being held in Detroit for 
the first time since the Incident. And landing on the 25th 
anniversary of that event, it was wishful thinking on the part of 
the organizers to think that Tonya's shadow would not be looming 

Naturally the media didn't hesitate to use the opportunity to do 
a full rehash. First up was the Detroit Free Press with a very 
lengthy 25th anniversary article: interviewed are The Kwan, Benny 
Napoleon and Brian Boitano amongst others. The saddest revelation 
is probably Boitano's one that pro figure skating is now almost 
completely dead; most startling one is that the organizers  
actually considered using a midnight screening of "I, Tonya" as a 
publicity gimmick - but unsurprisingly the USFSA nixed the idea:

   "We were talking about promotion and media," Swallow said. 
   "The movie, 'I, Tonya,' was about to be released. I said,
   'What if Detroit did something like the ĎRocky Horror Picture 
   Show,' where there is a midnight showing of ĎI, Tonyaí, at one 
   of our great theaters, and everyone can dress up in costume 
   and come. (U.S. Figure Skating) didnít like that idea, so we 
   knew to avoid the topic to some degree. But you canít. You 
   canít avoid it."

If the coolest thing you could be in the 1980's was a badly-
shaven vice cop from Florida, the coolest thing you could be in 
the 90's was a top-level figure skater. Skaters were like rock 
stars. Sad to say, those days are long gone.


There are some things you can always rely on.

That the Pope wears a funny hat. That the sun will come up 

That Christine Brennan would write a Tonya-themed article while 
the US Figure Skating Nationals were being held on the 25th 
anniversary of The Whack in the same city.

For a moment, we thought we'd got away cleanly. What fools we 

Fortunately this one is about something positive: also competing 
was Heidi Munger, who was one of Margot's two stunt doubles in 
the movie. She also plays one of Tonya's competitors, the girl 
who is skating before her to classical music at Skate America 
around 21 minutes in:

Here's some more pictures of Heidi, at the "I, Tonya" premiere in 
L.A. - including some of her with the real Tonya!

A box of stuff Margot sent to her as a token of appreciation for 
her work:


Even without the media doing their predictable regurgitations of 
you-know-what, Tonya couldn't be avoided in other ways: the 
Nationals saw Alysa Liu, who at 13 has become the youngest U.S. 
Ladies champion, landing not one but TWO triple axels in her Free 
Skate (and one in her Short Program as well), thereby giving the 
announcers an excuse to mention Tonya again. Could we be looking 
at the next Kwan?


If '91 for Tonyaphiles was like Woodstock, then '94 was more like 
Altamont. Here's a guy who was actually at the Joe Louis arena in 
'94 when it all went down:

Ron Runyon says: "I'll never forget nor can ever accurately 
describe the 'sound wave' of the rumor of what transpired once 
off-the ice as it spread and circulated up into the stands. . . 
It was distinct, roaring, person to person, upward row by row!!!! 
... when my ice dance partner was told, then turned to me to 
relay the news - I SAID 'You KNOW that was Tonya Harding and her 
red-neck husband '... lolol, everyone laughed, I did not, I 
KNEW!!!!! Nancy should kiss Tonya's big toe, WHAT OTHER SILVER 
OLYMPIC MEADLIST can you name off! ?!"

You can read his full account here at the THNK1994 Museum's 
Facebook page:

He's also got a nice photo of himself and Tonya as well.

Meanwhile, Twitter user @ByColtonWood has posted pictures of his 
copy of the official program from '94:

"The last time nationals came to Detroit was 1994, a year marred 
with the Tonya Harding-Nancy Kerrigan controversy. John Engler 
was the governor of MI and Bill Clinton was the president. This 
1994 nationals official program is a real blast from the past."

Thanks to Olivia Rose Sanchez of the WeTonya Facebook page for 
alerting us to this.


This weekend also sees the THNK1994 museum in New York holding a 
retrospective exhibition. In addition to the Permanent Collection 
of THNK-related artwork, there will also be pieces from the 
various special exhibitions devoted to Millennial pop culture 
that they have held over the past four years:

- The Olsen Twins Hiding From the Paparazzi
- Yama Kippi Yay Bo: A Celebration of Kim Cattrall
- Popculturediedin2009: Nicole Richieís 2007 Memorial Day BBQ
- Real Housewives Pointing Fingers
- The Moon is a Planet, Darling
- Celebrities Smoking in the Bathroom at the Met Ball
- Davidís Dead: A Celebration of Tiffany Pollard
- Anna Wintour Double Crossing Her Legs
- The Fantasy Art of Celebrity Perfume

The Museum has come a long way over the past four years since it 
started off its existence in the hallway of a small Brooklyn 
apartment. If you're not familiar with it, this article gives a 
good intro, along with pictures of some of the merch they've got 

As an example of the kind of stuff they have, here's something by 
- well, we don't know if we should even be mentioning his name. 
It's Derek. Derek Smith. But definitely not to be confused with 
that other Derrick Smith with a different spelling:

For more info, check out the details at:


The start of the month also saw a new performance of "Tonya & 
Nancy: The Rock Opera" in New York, which took place at the 
Lucille Lortel Theatre in New York on February 4th for one night. 
Directed by Rachel Klein, the cast included Becca Kotte as Tonya, 
Sara Jean Ford as Nancy, Cheryl Stern as both mothers, Jared 
Zirilli as Jeff, and Heidi Friese, Chase Kamata, Ryan MacConnell 
and Colin Barkell, among others, with Henry Aronson as Musical 
Director. A selection of photos from the performance can be found 
at the link below:

Word is that further productions "on both coasts" are in the 
works. For more information, see:


Long-time Tonyaphiles will know that Tonya has frequently had to 
put up with people spreading false rumors about her as a way of 
getting cheap publicity. January saw another example of this with 
a rumor floating around for several days claiming that Tonya 
would be on the upcoming season of "Celebrity Big Brother". The 
rumor stemmed from a list posted by someone calling themselves 
"Secret Susan" who claimed to be a Big Brother insider.

Well, the official list has now been released by CBS, and guess 
what? Tonya's name was NOT on it. In fact, Secret Susan's list 
was almost completely wrong, with only three names being correct, 
and those were probably just lucky guesses anyway.

It's yet another case of some bulls**t artist using Tonya to 
promote themselves. But hey, it keeps Tonya's name in the public 
eye, so perhaps it wasn't a bad thing. And we can tell you that 
Tonya will definitely be on the celebrity edition of "America's 
Worst Cooks" in a few weeks, as that was all shot and in the can 
months ago.


"The Incident" has inspired several fictional stories over the 
years; one of the early ones was an episode of the TV series 
"Diagnosis Murder" from 1996 called "Murder on Thin Ice". For 
those unfamiliar with the series, Dick Van Dyke plays a doctor 
who is occasionally brought in as a consultant by his police 
detective son to use his medical knowledge to solve crimes.

The episode starts in the expected manner, with a figure skater 
being assaulted at a skating contest - but in this case it's the 
Tonya-type skater who gets attacked. The assailant, who is 
quickly apprehended, is a Gilloolyish-looking thug called Shawn, 
the ex-manager of her Nancy-type rival Debbie (though it seems 
he's more of a crazed fan than a real manager). However, it 
actually turns out that the Tonya-skater has paid him 50 grand to 
fake the attack so she wouldn't have to compete against Debbie. 
When Gillooly-guy starts to get greedy and threatens to expose 
the whole plot unless he gets more money, Tonya-skater kills him 
by hitting him with one of her skates, and then swaps the skate 
blade with those of Nancy-skater to frame her for the murder.

Like "Columbo" two decades before, it's a "how catch 'em" rather 
than a whodunnit, with the mystery being what mistake the killer 
will make that gets them caught rather than their identity. Van 
Dyke's doctor eventually pins the crime on Tonya-skater after 
recognizing that the distinctive marks left on the ice by her 
triple axel places her at the scene of the crime that evening.

It's pretty dismal even by the standards of 90's network TV, and 
definitely isn't likely to get any fans amongst Tonyaphiles. They 
could have had the originality to make the Nancy-skater the 
murderer, but at least they didn't call the villain "Sonya" or 
"Tanya" or something else obvious, so perhaps we should be 
grateful for small mercies. Main asset here is blonde hottie 
Julie Benz as the Tonya-skater - who, as a former competitive 
ice dancer, actually does her own skating here, thereby affording 
the director more freedom as he doesn't have to hide the use of a 
stunt double - and cameos by Peggy Fleming, Tai Babilonia & Randy 
Gardiner as themselves.

This has been on line for some years, but only as grotty off-air 
VHS rips, and only recently has it been uploaded in broadcast 
quality. But if this is typical of what the rest of the series is 
like, I'll be sticking to my old "Columbo" DVDs - in the case of 
this episode, the diagnosis is one of call an ambulance.


Finally, it seems Tonya has acquired another fan - footballer 
David Beckham's seven-year-old daughter Harper. David and his 
wife, former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham, took their entire 
family ice skating at Queen's Skate Dine Bowl in London recently 
to celebrate their son Cruz's upcoming 14th birthday.

The idea came from Harper, who has become a big ice-skating fan 
after watching "I, Tonya" and was given a pair of skates for 
Christmas as a result.

Sadly, David wasn't so competent, having to resort to a penguin-
shaped teaching aid to keep upright. I think we can safely say he 
won't be exchanging his football boots for figure skates anytime 
soon. And much as we welcome another Tonyaphile, we do have to 
wonder why a 7-year-old girl is watching a 15-rated movie.


PortIce -
David House -
Charlie Main -
Puppetboy -
Valerie Smith -
Swan Lake -
Blades of Gold -
Back to Portlandian index
Back to PortIce Home Page