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

July 27, 2000 Edition
(C) 2000 Portland Ice Skating Society

A big issue this month. To kick off, Tonya's godmother, Linda
Lewis, has sent us an update about a couple of TV appearances
that Tonya will be doing soon. And we've the second installment
of Joe Haran's account of his time with the Tonya Harding Fan


The first appearance is an interview with a fellow from Australia
named John Laws, most likely August 1st, satellite feed from
Portland. Although probably unknown to most Americans, Laws is a
media heavyweight in Australia who interviews plenty of political
big shots, so his interview with Tonya will hopefully get good
ratings. Broadcast details are not known at present, or if the
interview will ever be seen in the States, but if you've access
to Australian TV channels you may want to see if you can find out
more. With luck, maybe this could even lead to Tonya skating
"down under", certainly something we here in New Zealand would be
keen to see.

In addition, Tonya will also be making several appearances on TNN
from the 14th to 18th of August. Linda takes up the story:

  Dear Tonya fans and supporters:

  Well, things are picking up for your favorite ice skater. By
  now, I'm certain that you've heard that Tonya will be hosting a
  whole week of programs for TNN in August. Contrary to what is
  being bantered about on a certain news group, Tonya is hosting
  several shows.

  It was quite a big production. TNN asked Tonya to do what are
  called wraparounds. She's hosting "Bad Boys" week, starting mid
  August. She's introducing such shows as Dallas, Dukes of
  Hazzard, Cagney and Lacey, The Waltons, Matt Houston, and many,
  many more. I wanted to wait to let you know after I got the OK
  from TNN. From what I understand, she was chosen over several
  other celebrities.

  She looks absolutely beautiful, and was very professional. She
  got to show her humor, which she hasn't had a chance to show in
  so many of the interviews she's done. Everyone that was
  involved in the production was very impressed with her.

  Also, there are several other things pending at this time. I
  have taken over the role of manager/publicist for Tonya. I know
  her so well, and I will most definitely look out for her best
  interest. I want to see her succeed, and I know she will!

  She's still working on her book, with Linda Prouse (and we're
  looking for a publisher). And don't think she's given up
  skating, because she's still one of the best. She had been
  invited to teach a skating camp as part of a festival in
  Maryland, but the promoters at the event felt that she wasn't
  right for their festival and wouldn't draw a crowd. Also, I
  wish to set the record straight about her appearance fee for
  that event. The fee was never decided upon, but they offered
  her $6700 to appear, that was their offer, which she was more
  than willing to accept. Again, the offer of that amount came
  from them. So the quote in the Washington Post was wrong. I
  found out who it came from, and already have had a conversation
  with that person. It's a shame, because Tonya was really
  looking forward to appearing there. She would have skated an
  exhibition, and taught up to 3 skate camps. She was also
  willing to skate with the children, and give a speech about
  staying out of trouble. But we harbor no hard feelings, and
  will just keep going forward. There are new offers coming in
  every week.

  How would you all feel about a skating video of Tonya? We're
  going to her fans to see what kind of response we get. If it's
  good, then that may be a possibility in the near future. Please
  e-mail and let me know. It would take some backing, but we're
  exploring that idea.

  Tonya sends her love and warmest regards to all of you, as do
  I. I will keep you updated as things progress.

  Best regards to all,
  Linda Lewis
  Manager/Publicist for Tonya Harding

And while on the subject of Tonya on TV, David House tells us
that CNN have sent him a tape of Tonya's recent Larry King
appearance and plans to have scenes on line after next weekend.


A couple of issues ago saw us begin the first in our series in
which former "Skater" editor Joe Haran tells us about his
experiences with the Tonya Harding Fan Club back in the mid
'90's. Today he continues his story with some info about Tonya's
early skating successes, his initial encounter with Shawn
Eckardt, Portland's portly James Bond wannabe, and the first time
Jeff Gillooly hinted that something strange might be scheduled to
happen at the 1994 Nationals:

6 December 1999

"The Portlandian"
Portland Ice Skating Society
New Zealand

To whom it may concern:

Having now read the material available through the Portland Ice
Skating Society (PISS) home page, I salute all involved for your
excellent perception and research. "The Portlandian" is surely
the best publication about Tonya M. Harding since "The Skater"
from days of yore. So that you may have more information from
which to work, if in fact you can find any useful information
in this series of letters from me, I would like to make comments
inspired by data in the various PISS documents you make available
to the public. These comments are in no particular order, neither
by traditional chronology nor by subject matter. It's all stream-
of-consciousness stuff, so you'll have to figure out where one
thought stops and the next one begins. Good luck!

And now, on with it! Tonya was born at the University of Oregon
Medical School in Portland, which institution is now called the
Oregon Health Sciences University. Although Tonya did not
graduate from Milwaukie High School (MHS, at the City of
Milwaukie in Oregon), she is nevertheless honored with a space
in/on that school's Hall/Wall of Honor -- as are other
outstanding athletes who, like Tonya, attended MHS. She dropped
out of high school, partly because the MHS administration would
not allow her to come late to school after her early-morning
figure-skating practices. Many other students were, however,
given substantial time off in order to go hunting. MHS people in
positions of responsibility apparently told her she'd never
amount to anything in figure skating anyway. So who did she think
she was, to want time off in such a futile pursuit? Tonya did,
however, earn her general-equivalency diploma (GED) later. The
medical-insurance corporation, Blue Cross of Oregon, sponsored a
state-wide tour for Tonya the year prior to the 1988 Winter
Olympic Games. That company backed Tonya because they considered
her an Olympic "hopeful," since the figure-skating cognoscenti
believed she'd definitely make the Olympic team. The Blue Cross
of Oregon executive who "supervised" Tonya told me everyone
really liked her; and he encouraged her to finish her high-school
education. Just before he and Tonya learned that the company was
terminating its financial aid to our buddy, Tonya got her GED and
proudly displayed it at a meeting with company officials.

As you may know, United States Figure Skating Association (USFSA)
and United States Olympic Committee (USOC) decision-makers
weren't interested in Tonya upstaging the politically-correct
and/or wealthy skaters: at the qualifying event, the United
States Figure Skating Championships, Tonya outperformed everyone
else in the technical program; but a sudden respiratory illness
prevented her from skating aggressively in the long program; then
she was given unfairly-low marks which baffled even the
journalists -- so she ended up as first alternate to the team.
While Tonya waited at home, one of the team members became
ill/injured and would not be able to perform at the Olympics
venue. What did the politicians do? They ordered the unfit skater
to participate in the then-compulsory figures and withdraw,
making her an official entrant, so that Tonya could not replace

An acquaintance of mine, whose daughter was taking figure-skating
lessons with Tonya in the late 1970s at a long-since demolished
ice arena in Portland, told me that she and other parents
telephoned police and social-service agencies on several
occasions to report the physical abuse Tonya publicly endured
from her mother. According to my acquaintance, on one occasion
Tonya was ordered by her mother to remain on the ice even though
she had an immediate need to relieve herself; so she ended up
wetting herself on the ice amidst all the other skaters.

Tonya endured considerable ridicule and social discrimination as
a schoolgirl: older girls beat her up; foreign objects were put
in her food at the school cafeteria by hateful schoolmates; et
cetera. Before the MHS Junior Prom, a fellow whom Tonya knew only
slightly requested that she accompany him to that event. She
agreed, since she wanted to go but no one else had asked her.
Tonya was all dressed up and waiting for her date to pick her up,
but he never came. It had been a prank.

Tonya went to court in 1993, represented by an attorney-at-law
who was a member of The Tonya Harding Fan Club (THFC), to
petition for a divorce from Jeffrey S. Gillooly. In order to
preclude Gillooly or media-of-communication scrutiny, the divorce
was filed in another county and under the name "T. Gillooly." The
divorce did become official, at the expiration of the required
waiting period. During this period of time, Tonya asked the THFC
for help in stopping Gillooly from incorporating a business using
her name. For reasons I don't know, the asked-for help was not
forthcoming in time to stop Gillooly incorporating a business
called The THG Corporation -- with Tonya Harding-Gillooly listed
as "president" on the subsequently-produced business/visiting
cards. This was a move by Gillooly to cash in on Tonya's name, by
holding the reins of control over anything involving her.

I did witness Tonya with bruises on her face rinkside at
Clackamas Town Center during the latter half of 1993, after she
and Gillooly got back together. Reportedly, Tonya and/or her
coach Diane Rawlinson stated the Tonya-Gillooly reunion was
prompted in part by suggestions from officials of the USFSA who
let it be known that divorce was a "scandal" which would not be

When I first saw Tonya and Gillooly together, which was at the
skating rink in June of 1993 and prior to her appearance with the
Campbell's Soups Tour of World and Olympic Figure Skating
Champions (The Tour), Tonya approached me and privately told me
that she had decided to re-unite with Gillooly and she hoped
I would be understanding and support her in that decision. Of
course, I said I would.

By the way, it was pressure from the THFC which prompted Tom
Collins to include Tonya in The Tour's Portland and State of
Washington appearances. I told Collins that there would be a
demonstration in front of the venue, Memorial Coliseum, should
Tonya not be allowed to skate with The Tour (all the pre-tour
publicity had shown Tonya skating, then right before The Tour
commenced she was dumped and replaced with Oksana Baiul). Prior
to her performance on The Tour in Portland, Tonya had told
several of us THFC types that she would provide us with back-
stage passes which would be left in our names at the back-stage
entrance. Yet when we went to pick them up, there were no such
passes to be found; but we went back stage anyway; and we were
ejected from there by really-pushy security officers, who waded
through the performers and well-wishers while hollering: "Nobody
without a pass is to be here! Leave now!" Gillooly was back
stage, watching yet well clear of us THFC people. I saw Tonya
briefly and told her we were being thrown out, to which news she
reacted dejectedly and said: "You mean you didn't get the
passes?" Anyway, she had to quickly go to an office with a couple
of adoring children to whom she'd promised programs; and even
though she was out of costume at that point, she was absolutely
stunning in her appearance! Subsequently, a few days later at
Clackamas Town Center, I was told by Gillooly that he had the
passes all along. "I figured you would have known that," he told
me, adding: "I thought you were smarter than that." Tonya stood
by looking downcast, as she knew Gillooly had watched us being
given the heave-ho by security officers.

The whole gun-firing episode was sad: Gillooly had apparently
devised a public version of the incident, telling me that Tonya
had accidentally fired the pistol into the ground when she was
checking its chamber to make sure there wasn't a bullet already
loaded. In truth, witnesses saw Gillooly manhandling a struggling
Tonya into a motor vehicle. Nevertheless, in spite of that
testimony to arriving police officers, Tonya was handcuffed to
the bumper of a police vehicle (it's against the law to discharge
fire-arms inside city limits), whereas Gillooly was given his
liberty. This is an indication of how the justice system works in
my country: in any female/male domestic situation, if the two
people are married to one another the benefit of any doubt is by
law always given the male. And as I recall, the Marriage Made in
Hell was still in effect -- as the divorce-proceeding waiting
period hadn't yet expired. As you may know, during the time in
1993 when Tonya and Gillooly were apart, that confidence artist
who held a Rasputin-like hold over her followed Tonya around as
if he were keeping a "tail" on her. You may know about the
trashing of Tonya's apartment during that time, which included a
burning of irreplaceable documents and photographs pertaining to
her career. Gee, I wonder who pulled off that break-in?

Regarding the 1993 Skate America International tournament: I
thought Tonya did quite well, considering that she defeated the
defending world champion (Baiul) in the technical program --
becoming the only United States of America skater up to that time
to beat Baiul in any aspect of competition. Later, the authors of
"Fire on Ice," two Tonya-bashers from "The Oregonian," wrote in
that book that I was wrong when I pointed out that fact in "The
Skater"; but I was right, a fact I carefully explained to Abbey
Haight at rinkside when she approached me with questions about
that article in "The Skater" just before the hastily-written book
was published -- although at the time I had no idea I was to be
mentioned in any book. In that book, I was mentioned several
times in different contexts; yet at no time did either of the
authors (or anyone else, for that matter) contact me to tell me I
was to be mentioned and allow me to comment upon their assertions
and thus enable me to state my own case in the book.

Yes, it was too bad that Tonya experienced a loose skate-blade in
the long program. And it was too bad that her "most favorite" red
costume came undone during the technical program at the United
States Figure Skating Championships (Nationals) earlier that
year. (You may know about the USFSA referee's arbitrarily
nullifying Tonya's highest marks at that Nationals -- via a
regulation adopted just before that event, which gave that
official the right to do so -- in order that she would not be on
the team going to the World Figure Skating Championships
[Worlds]. USFSA officials were heard to say that Tonya had her
chance before; and it was the other skaters' "turn" to go to
Worlds.) Of course, neither equipment-failure contingency could
have been predicted.

Having recently seen brief news-videos of Tonya practicing for
the ESPN tournament (I haven't "cable" access, so I wasn't able
to watch her programs), I would say she is as beautiful and fit
as at any time in the past; and probably more than ever. There
were a few times during the past decade when Tonya didn't
maintain a physical-fitness schedule; and so she was fat and
out of shape during those intervals (times spent with Gillooly).
Provided she constantly keeps to a rigorous fitness and training
schedule, I see no reason why Tonya should not be in world-class
shape for decades to come. Of course, no one knows all this
better than Tonya herself. She is her own best friend; so as long
as she takes care of her body and mind, she'll have nothing to
fear. She should be very proud of herself now. I am very proud of

I first met Shawn E. Eckardt during the summer of 1993, when
Tonya invited me to her home for a party. Attending that function
-- apart from Tonya, Gillooly and myself -- were a couple of
young female skating friends of Tonya and several long-time
friends of Gillooly, in the latter group being Eckardt. He was
introduced to me as a former national or world champion weight-
lifter. The social dynamics of that party were disconcerting:
Tonya was totally ignored by Gillooly and his friends; and she
sat at a small corner table with her skater buddies. Even when
she was surely within earshot, Gillooly's friends made derogatory
remarks about her; and when she was out of the room, taking her
skater pals for rides in her older-model Chevrolet Corvette,
those friends of Gillooly had great fun ridiculing Tonya.
Gillooly just smiled at all this, offering no objections. Later,
when people were milling about more freely, Eckardt began telling
me about all his covert-action and military-intelligence work --
which I knew from the get-go was a lot of nonsense. After
listening for a while to how clever and talented he was, I told
him I'd worked in military intelligence myself (the United States
Air Force Security Service, now called the Air Intelligence
Agency). That stopped his James Bond stories. Then, he began to
denigrate Tonya: she was this and she was that and every problem
in the universe was due to her, et cetera. I held up my hand and
stopped him in mid-sentence, saying: "I've heard all this kind of
crap before. It's all bullshit. Tonya is a decent person and I'm
not interested in hearing any more negative stuff about her, from
you or anyone else. Tonya is my friend. Do you hear what I'm
saying?" I was in his face. Mind, I'm 5'8" in height and was 48
years old at the time. (I still remember what I said to Eckardt
that night, as it was my first opportunity to stand up to someone
in defense of Tonya's honor.) Thus ended my first meeting with
Fat Boy, who shut up about Tonya for the duration of the party.

It was while Tonya was at Japan skating in the NHK tournament in
1993 that I first heard information indicating Gillooly was doing
something about the upcoming Nationals. When Tonya left for
Japan, Gillooly brought her truck to a garage for some sort of
repairs on the engine. He had a rental car and I rode with him to
the garage. He wanted to check on the progress of the repairs and
also visit someone who lived near there. As this garage was a
ways out of town, there was plenty of time to talk. He told me:
"Some of us are doing some things to level the playing field for
Tonya at Nationals. But don't tell Tonya, as she'd be madder than
hell if she knew." At the time I heard this, I never imagined
those "things" involved commission of crimes. I thought he meant
by his remark that he'd convinced some Tonya sympathizers, such
as Vera Marano and George Steinbrenner, to twist some USFSA arms
in an attempt to forestall mendacity by the judges. Well, in
20/20 hindsight I wish I'd have asked him questions about just
what he was doing regarding the Nationals. But I let it drop.

In another NHK-related matter, I responded to an urgent plea from
Tonya: she telephoned the apartment where I was staying (her
father's apartment) and told me she'd run out of one of her
asthma medications; she was having difficulty getting it refilled
and would I contact her physician and have him help her get it
refilled somehow, since there was some question by the local
pharmacist and she's have to go to someplace in Kobe et cetera.
Well, I contacted her doctor and he contacted a USFSA physician
at Colorado Springs to find out which asthma medications were
allowed and which were banned. I telephoned Tonya and told her
whatever it was her physician had told me about allowed
medications; and, although I can't remember what happened next,
Tonya was somehow able to get the medication she needed. Of
course, she was very distraught with the outcome of the
competition there: again, her best marks were eliminated through
some sort of creative bookkeeping by the International Skating
Union (ISU) officials.

Well, this is the first of several installments. Who knows? What
if I'm hit in a crosswalk tomorrow? So you might as well get this
blah-blah-blah while the getting's good. I've got plenty more to
write; and since you're the only dumping ground for my Tonya
memories, well -- here comes chapter one.

Best wishes to you.




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