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

November 12, 1999 Edition - A SPECIAL DAY FOR TONYA
(C) 1999 Portland Ice Skating Society

Today is Tonya's birthday, her last one of the millennium, so 
we'd like to collect some birthday greetings for her. So why not 
wish Tonya happy birthday? All you have to do is to go to any of 
the Tonya sites that have message boards and leave a message for 
Tonya. Many of the sites listed at the bottom of this issue have 
this facility. You can also share your thoughts of the ESPN 


   To all my fans:

   Hi this is Tonya. How can I ever say thanks for all of your    
   support through the years. I am so happy that I was able to 
   skate again. This was a dream come true. I skated for all of 
   you, as well as my friends, family and myself. You gave me the 
   courage to go out there and skate. I want to thank each and 
   every one of you from the bottom of my heart! If I could thank 
   each of you in person, I would. But if I get the chance to 
   skate again, please know that my thanks goes out to each of 
   you when I'm out there. Thank you all so much !!

   Love to all,


Tonya recently had a chance to catch up with a long standing 
supporter at a local show in Portland where Tonya was a guest. 
This lady, whose name is Helen, was one of the original fan club 
members and she's in her 70's. We've been sent a picture of the 

A word of warning: this file is a big sucker so it may take some 
time to download if you've got a slow connection. But as any true 
Tonyaphile knows, a photo of Tonya is well worth the wait.

And as you can see, Helen's even wearing a Tonya t-shirt (not 
quite as cool as ours, of course, but an original)...


Tonya's Godmother Linda Lewis accompanied Tonya to Huntington and 
has sent us this report about Tonya's comeback:

Part one of my trip to Huntington West Virginia with Tonya:

Dear Tonya fans:

I've been wanting to share the wonderful time I had with Tonya in
Huntington West Virginia. To say it is one of the most exciting 
moments of my life would be an understatement.

Tonya and I left for Huntington on Saturday, Oct. 16th. We met up 
with Michael Rosenberg and his daughter Whitney at the airport in 
Pittsburgh. This is where we met with several of the other 
competitors also. Everyone had been traveling for quite awhile. 
It was so nice to meet everyone in person. There we all got on a 
small prop plane for our final destination, Huntington WV. While 
in flight, the stewardess said that the pilot wanted to meet 
Tonya. She got to go into the cockpit, (no they didn't let her 
fly the plane) ha! But she said it was so much fun to see what 
the pilots see.

We finally arrived in Huntington around midnight. We were taken 
to our hotel, and tried to catch some sleep. The next day, we 
were taken to a practice rink, where Tonya got to go through her 
programs. There was a lot of press there, and thus started a 
string of interviews. Many of which I'm sure you've seen or read. 
I have to say, that Tonya was very impressed with the media. They 
treated her with respect while she was on and off the ice. I left 
a little early, as I had to do an interview with a reporter from
England, via telephone. I got the privilege of riding back to the 
hotel in a van with Jumping Joe and Alexi. These are two of Kim 
White's favorites, so I asked if I could take a photo of them for 
her. They very nice and obliged. Kim now is smiling, I'm sure, as 
I sent her the photo. We ate dinner in our room, and met with Kim 
White. Kim traveled to Huntington with her mother. They drove 
more than 10 hours to get there. Kim is more than a fan, she has 
become a very close friend to Tonya and myself. Together with
Stacey, Kim has a wonderful website for Tonya. Hats off to these 
nice ladies, as well as Terry Hall, Charlie Main, David House, 
Puppetboy and all the others with websites for Tonya. Without all 
of your continued support, I truly believe that none of this 
would have come to pass. It was really great to see her and her 
mom. We had a wonderful visit. Monday we got to sleep in for 
awhile, and then it was off to the Huntington arena where

Tonya got a chance to practice for that evenings first program. 
She had a good practice (more media), and then we headed back to 
the hotel. By this time, the nerves had really taken hold of 
Tonya. I was very nervous too, but tried not to show it. She ate 
a small dinner, and then we headed for the arena. It was so 
exciting to be at this event. All of the other skaters were 
wonderful to Tonya. Each one congratulating her and wishing her 
good luck. She tried to relax, but as you know by now, she drew 
last to skate. So it was a long wait for her. She did her warm 
ups, and tried to keep herself calm. It helped a lot that the 
others there were so nice to her. I stayed near her, so I didn't 
get to see the other skaters programs until I watched it on ESPN 
Monday night. I was proud of all of them.

Finally it came time for Tonya to skate. It was a moment in 
history that we all have hoped for, and it was here. We walked 
through the curtain, and out to the rink area. I knew that Tonya 
was very nervous (to tell the truth, so was I). They introduced 
her, and the rest is now history. I only hope that you were able 
to watch the event on TV. It all seemed quite surreal at the
time. Tonya's music started, and she began her program. I think I 
held my breath for most of it. I was so proud of her. The crowd 
stood to their feet and gave her a standing ovation. There were 
shouts of "we love you Tonya". Even thought it wasn't a perfect 
program, it was still a wonderful moment for all of us. I don't 
know of to many people that could have even stood, not to mention 
skate under this kind of pressure. She handled it with class
and a smile ( and some tears of pure joy!!) After she left the 
rink, there were hugs from everyone. Then on to more interviews. 
We finally got back to the hotel, and tried to sleep.

Part two will be coming after you watch Tonya's second program! 
Please do, it's spectacular!

When I write part two, I'll also include my trip to Washington DC 
with Tonya for the Larry King show.

I will be sending photos to the websites of the two trips also.

Love to all of you for your years of support and belief and 
prayers for Tonya... She has made it this far because of all of 
you, so my heartfelt thanks to each one of you.

Warmest Regards,

Linda Lewis


Kim and Stacey have started a mailing list for Tonyaphiles who 
want to keep in touch or just talk about Tonya. It's at:

Note that if you are not currently registered with Onelist, you 
will need to sign up at:

before you can read or post messages.


Since our last report, Tonya has featured on CNN's "Larry King 
Live" and made an appearance on the Geraldo Rivera show. This, of 
course, is the second time Tonya has appeared on "Geraldo", the 
last time being in July 1996. Back then, Rivera gave Tonya a warm 
reception at a time long before it became fashionable.

Tonya's comeback has proved a big ratings winner both on line and 
on the air. Tonya was one of the fifty top search terms on Lycos 
for the week of October 26, coming in at #34 on the list, which 
even put her ahead of Star Wars and The Simpsons:

Meanwhile, "Entertainment Tonight" scored its highest rating of 
the season so far thanks to their two-part report on Tonya's 
return, which aired on Oct 18 and 19 and averaged a 6.4 rating on 
both days.


In her new autobiography, "The Long Program": Skating Towards 
Life's Victories", Olympic gold medalist Peggy Fleming has 
several positive things to say about Tonya.

Commenting on the scandal that wrecked Tonya's career, Peggy 
says: "Tonya came out of it as a villain, which I don't think she 
was. She just surrounded herself with the wrong people, starting 
with her husband and his thug friends".

"As a kid from a background not terribly unlike my own - parents 
without a whole lot of money who had to scramble to keep their 
very dedicated daughter in an expensive and demanding sport - I 
could relate to her".

"She had a rebellious attitude." "I like some of that in a 


Watch out! The USFSA's skate police wants to get its grippers on 
your camera - at least if it looks at all like it's a 
"professional" model (whatever that means).

Skating shutterbugs who turned up at Skate America recently 
hoping to get some good pictures were shocked to find themselves 
continually harassed by security nazis if they looked like 
hauling out any vaguely decent photographic equipment. When asked 
for an explanation, rink staff responded that they were only 
obeying orders - in this case from the USFSA - that any
"professional" photographic gear was not permitted except for 
officially accredited press photographers. Unfortunately, some 
security guards idea of "professional" gear seemed to include 
anything from a Kodak Box Brownie on upwards, which was even more 
annoying. It seems that anything that was capable of taking an 
even halfway decent picture was verboten.

Speculation abounded on rssif as to the reasoning behind the 
policy: some initially suspected it was prompted because of the 
common problem of idiots blinding the skaters with flash guns - 
but this didn't make sense, as it's exactly the sort of cheap and 
nasty cameras the USFSA think are okay that are most likely to 
have inbuilt automatic flashes, not the 35mm SLR's they seem to 
be hung up about which generally have detachable flash units. 
Others suspected that the skate Fuhrers in Colorado were 
concerned that some people were exploiting the skaters by selling 
their photos - but this didn't stack up either, as if this was 
the case then surely the best solution is to ENCOURAGE as many 
people to take as many good-quality photos as possible, thereby 
flooding the market and driving the price of the photos down to 
little more than the cost of the prints. Such a tactic would also 
result in valuable publicity for the sport, surely something the 
USFSA should welcome.

Attempts by one Usenet poster who contacted the USFSA to get a 
straight answer as to the motive for the policy were fruitless - 
something that doesn't come as any surprise to anyone who has 
ever dealt with this organization. USFSA spokesperson Carrie Wolf 
initially seemed to imply that the ban was so that the "value of 
the our credentialed photographers does not go down", however 
another senior USFSA official subsequently stated on r.s.s.i.f. 
that the USFSA doesn't make any money off press photographer's
photographs. When questioned further, Ms. Wolf changed her story: 
now they were worried that they might be sued by the skaters 
should someone use photos taken at USFSA events in an 
"inappropriate" way.

Exactly what this means was never explained. We can only assume 
it means people doctoring them on a computer like a certain 
Portland porn peddler likes doing to Tonya photos. If this is the 
case, then the USFSA's solution is laughable. Anyone interested 
in doing such a thing would simply use one of the authorized 
press photos from a newspaper, website, or TV broadcast as their 
source material rather than going to the bother of buying a 
ticket and bringing their own cameras. After all, someone who 
isn't concerned about a possible libel suit isn't likely to be 
worried about a potential copyright infringement suit either. The 
people who came up with this policy must be completely brain-dead 
if they think they can somehow lock up all images of a skater and 
"protect" them from abuse. And the skaters must be too if they 
seriously believe that themselves. Certainly it's out of kilter 
with other major sports that seem to encourage photography as a 
useful way of promotion.

We at the Portlandian wonder what the true motive behind this 
policy is. If it really is a genuine attempt to protect skater's 
images from abuse then at best it's a half-baked and poorly 
thought-through idea that is doomed to fail at its goal and 
certain to alienate fans, a policy that is breathtaking in its 
arrogance and witlessness even by the usual standards of the 
USFSA. At worst, it's a cover for something more sinister, like 
maybe a future plan to gouge fans and skaters for money by 
cornering exclusive rights on the skating photo market (hardly 
surprising considering that the USFSA is effectively the 
Microsoft of figure skating), or most disturbingly, an attempt at 
controlling what is reported by independent skating commentators. 
This, of course, is not the first time the USFSA has tried to 
censor coverage of their skating events: back in 1996 this 
organization temporarily banned prominent skating journalist 
Christine Brennan for several months for reasons that were never 
made clear. We also have to wonder what their next step will be 
if they're allowed to get away with this by skating fans. Perhaps 
a complete ban on cameras altogether (which was apparently hinted 
at as a possibility by Ms. Wolf)? Frisking everybody to make sure 
they aren't carrying a camera? Making it a condition of entry 
that people aren't allowed to publish anything about the 
competition without prior approval?

We suggest that if the USFSA is really concerned about skater's 
images being misused by Jim Maxey clones then a better course 
of action would be for them to offer legal assistance to any 
skaters who want to sue these bastards, rather than having 
jackbooted security goons goosestepping over honest skatefans 
who just want a few photos in a manner that could have well 
have been inspired by Senor Samaranch's close mate General 
Franco. The Brennan ban ended after a hail of criticism from 
other media made the USFSA realize just what a bunch of dorks 
they were making themselves look like in front of the sporting 
press. Hopefully this latest PR blunder will suffer the same 
fate in double-quick time, especially if fans make a fuss about 
it. Perhaps a boycott of USFSA events by those aggrieved might 
clarify the picture for them?


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

This page hosted by Get your own Free Home Page