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The Portlandian, the Internet's premier source of Tonya News

November 2, 2000 Edition
(C) 2000 Portland Ice Skating Society

Welcome to another issue. We hope that everybody had a great 
Halloween and didn't get any nasty tricks played on them. Either 
way, we've got a treat - more Tonya news.


Since our last issue, Tonya has appeared twice in interviews with 
Kevin Cook on's "Skybox" show.

The first appearance was on September 28. This URL provides a 
direct link to the show. Tonya's segment starts around 1:24:20 
and ends at 1:43:11, so she was on for about 20 minutes. Be quick 
- they tend to delete stuff off the server fast at Eyada. You'll 
need either RealPlayer or Windows Media Player to listen to it:

Tonya started off talking about her book, which she is 75% of the 
way through completing, the provisional title of which is "My 
Life - Through Hell & Back" (let's see if our readers can come up 
with something a bit less depressing before publication - we 
suggest maybe "The Great Skating Swindle" or "Triple Axels and 
Double Crosses", perhaps). Tonya says she sees it as a chance to 
tell her story, as most people's view of her is through the 
tabloids, which she says are 90% wrong. She explained how she has 
long phone conversations with writer Linda Prouse in Canada 
regularly, and this is where the source material for the book is 
derived. A couple of publishers have been approached, but no deal 
signed yet.

On the topic of future skating, Tonya says she doesn't want to 
skate in a tour, just occasional appearances, or teaching kids to 
skate. She also admitted she has never skated on a frozen pond, 
despite often living in rural areas.

Tonya has moved recently. One piece of news is that she seems to 
have reconciled with Darren. She says the incident with the 
hubcap was a "one off" and that there have been no other problems 
in the years they've been together.

Then host Kevin Cook asked Tonya if she would find watching the 
Winter Olympics too painful, but Tonya said she will still watch 
and root for the U.S. team.

Tonya also mentioned the web sites, including Blades of Gold and 
the Portlandian, and described them all as "really good". She 
also mentioned about how she was trying get Maxey's site shut 
down and urged people not to go to it as it's "just horrible". 
Cook described Maxey as a "cybersquatter", though we have much 
worse names for him. Tonya says she reads all e-mails sent to 
her, though obviously doesn't have time to reply to them all.

Finally, the topic of the Romanian gymnast getting shafted over 
the cough medicine was raised by Cook. Tonya talked about all the 
drug restrictions, and how they affected what asthma inhalers she 
could use. This was interesting, as most of us tend to forget 
that supposedly "bad" drugs like steroids can have legitimate 
medical uses like asthma medication.

Tonya's second appearance was on the 16th of October. 
Unfortunately, Eyada have now wiped this from their system, 
despite the earlier show still being around. Kevin and Tonya 
started off talking about Skate America, which was under way at 
the time. Then they talked about the practice necessary to get in 
shape for something like the Olympics. Tonya says she used to 
practice around 4 hours per day, though she said some skaters 
practice almost twice as long. She thought she didn't need such 
long practice times herself and said she'd burn out if she tried 
to practice that long.

Then Kevin logged onto Blades of Gold and looked at some of the 
stuff there on one of the "updates" pages. He mentioned to Tonya 
about the fund raising for her birthday (see below) and she 
seemed quite surprised. He also inquired about the auction of 
some Tonya items on E-bay and she said that it was all genuine. 
He then mentioned the recent TNN appearance and then they started 
discussing the upcoming video plans. This was where it got really 
interesting, as it appears that there are plans to put together a 
"Tonya's Top Ten" video of her greatest skating performances, 
which she said she hoped would be out by Christmas or maybe early 
new year. This sounds really promising and would certainly be a 
valuable addition for any Tonyaphile's video collection. Tonya 
had no idea when the earliest footage of her performing might be, 
but she mentioned her first contest was just before she turned 4. 
She won it, and also did her first axel there too.

Tonya said she has almost finished her book, and that Linda 
Prouse's agent is soliciting offers from publishers. She says it 
contains stuff that readers will find "very shocking to them". 
She says people regularly approach her all the time with 
questions about stuff they have read in the media, who have to be 

Cook then read an e-mail from someone inquiring about Tonya's 
dog, whom Tonya said was doing nicely. He sounds huge, as Tonya 
says he weighs 210 pounds (which for the benefit of people 
outside the U.S. means almost 100 kilos). She described the photo 
session with him last Christmas, and how he got stuck to the ice!

The subject of the Masters Skating Tournament was then discussed 
and Cook asked Tonya if she would be interested in competing in 
one should the opportunity arise. Tonya admitted she'd never 
heard of masters skating before but seemed keen, provided it 
didn't take her away from her dog for too long.

Perhaps the most disappointing factor is that Tonya reckoned it 
would take 6 months for her to get in shape for a competition. 
Even for an exhibition she estimated 3 months without the triple 
Axel, or 4 months with. This seems to smash any hopes we will see 
Tonya performing this season.

Cook then finished off quizzing Tonya about the Triple Axel, such 
as whether she thought we might see a woman doing one at Salt 
Lake (she was doubtful, but you never can tell). She says she 
landed her first one in competition when she was 12 at the 
Pacific Northwest Regionals in Portland, but she was not given 
credit for it because it was not landed cleanly. Tonya says that 
it all happens so fast - she takes of at about 25 mph and the 
whole thing lasts less than two seconds.

This will hopefully not be the last we hear of Tonya on Eyada - 
her own show may start before the end of the year.


Tonya's 30th birthday is coming up, so the good folks at Blades 
of Gold were looking for something special to do to celebrate. If 
you've got some ideas, why not drop by and let Kim and Stacey 

They've also taken up a collection for Tonya. U.S. residents can 
also make a donation via credit card at the Puppetland site using 

Tonyaphile Lisa Smith has had several Tonya sites running for 
some time now, each featuring many beautiful photos of Tonya 
skating, courtesy of such great skating photographers as Barry 
Mittan. Now she has added another one at, 
with many new pictures of Tonya that have never been published on 
the Web before. You can find it at:

Lisa also has lots of photos of other skaters as well (including 
some of Nicole Bobek, our second favorite skater) at:

So when you're finished looking at her Tonya photos you might 
like to check these out too.

Meanwhile, David House has put a new messageboard on line at his 
site, so you might want to help him give it a test run.


Yet another group of Tonyaphiles has now been revealed, this time 
on the Yahoo! Clubs network:

Founded by someone who goes by the name of "The Black Knight", 
this has apparently been operating for some time (about a year), 
but has been plagued by problems with a handful of idiots posting 
ridiculous rumors about Tonya. Fortunately, the founder seems to 
have now cleaned out these dimwits, and it looks like it has the 
potential to become a serious Tonya discussion forum - which is 
more than can be said for the Usenet Tonya groups, which today 
are little more than dumping grounds for porn and spam. You won't 
find any of that at this club, however, so we'd encourage people 
to join up.

Many thanks to Joe Haran for drawing this to our attention. And 
speaking of that subject...


Last issue former "Skater" editor Joe Haran began the first of a 
two-part account of his experience at the controversial Pacific 
Northwest Regional contest of November 1993, where somebody made 
a death threat against Tonya. In this issue, he concludes his 
description of this frightening chapter in Tonya's career.

10 December 1999

"The Portlandian"
Portland Ice Skating Society
New Zealand

To whom it may concern:

Well, let's see:  last night I was in the middle of describing my 
experiences during the 1993 Pacific Northwest Figure Skating 
Championship (Regionals); and I just got done with the part about 
United States Figure Skating Association (USFSA) tournament 
referee Joseph Driano's merciless tirade directed at Tonya M. 
Harding.  As Tonya was still recovering from that uncalled-for 
tongue-lashing by Driano, her attorney-at-law Dennis Rawlinson 
finally arrived.  I told him about Driano's actions, for whatever 
good it did.  Anyway, he and Tonya (with her coaches and 
Gillooly) went into the rink office.  Driano and all the USFSA 
factotums were in there; and the blinds were drawn.  After about 
30 or 45 minutes, they all emerged:  Tonya would not have to 
skate in the Regionals and she'd be given a bye to the United 
States Figure Skating Championships (Nationals) as long as she 
skated in the NHK tournament at Kobe in Japan.  Apparently 
Rawlinson the attorney asked Driano and the shopping-mall 
security chief to state whether or not they could absolutely 
guarantee Tonya's safety at Regionals.  The chief of security 
said they could not. So even though the USFSA originally saw this 
as a serendipitous way of eliminating Tonya from the Nationals, 
Rawlinson pointed out that the USFSA would look ridiculous if it 
said Tonya couldn't be guaranteed her safety and they were to yet 
insist that she expose herself to danger by skating.  So, the 
USFSA gave in.  At one point during the meeting, Tonya was told 
the gist of the telephone threat and broke down in tears.

At that point -- a large crowd of journalists having by then 
gathered outside the office -- it was decided by the chief of 
security we would quickly exit via the office's front door, hang 
a fast right to the nearby back-corridor doors and go double-time 
through those utility hallways to the exit doors nearest the car.  
The security chief asked me to lead the way and gave me a signal 
when he figured the media throng was looking the other way.  So 
we went, escorted by the chief and other security officers.  As 
we emerged from the exit doors into the parking lot, one 
television videographer had almost caught up with us; so I got in 
the back seat, as we figured that's where he'd first focus his 
camera.  Tonya got in the front-passenger seat and sure enough, 
the videographer turned on his sun gun and pointed his rig at me 
in the back seat!  So I waved and off we went.  The first place 
we stopped was at a large Fred Meyer variety store, as Tonya 
wanted to purchase an indoor television antenna so she could 
watch the local news coverage at 11:00 p.m. (they had canceled 
their cable access, so all they could receive was a lot of 
static).  I told her it would be a good idea for her to issue a 
statement to her fans and the public, saying how sorry she was 
that she wasn't able to skate for them et cetera.  Then, with her 
father behind the wheel, I was driven home to my small rented 
house in Northeast Portland (it wasn't long after that I ended up 
moving in with her father).  Tonya and I hugged and off they 

Later, I heard from an excellent source (and eventually I saw a 
print-out of the message itself) that a vice-president of the 
USFSA -- whose name I cannot recall -- sent a message over 
America On Line (AOL) stating several falsehoods:  although I 
cannot now remember all of them, one that sticks out in my mind 
is his claim that Tonya was seen shopping at Clackamas Town 
Center "within minutes" of the afternoon's skating session having 
been canceled; and that this indicated she was part of a death-
threat conspiracy.  Well, I was with her (except for her initial 
exit through the back door of the skaters' area) nearly the whole 
night until well after the shopping mall closed.  Her father and 
I even had her car in constant sight as we earlier followed her 
and Gillooly to their home in Beavercreek.  

Ah, yes!  I remember now that another of this USFSA big-shot's 
claims in his AOL message to lots of people was that Tonya must 
have been involved in a death-threat conspiracy because she had 
access to the telephone number the caller used (it was a number 
for official USFSA use only).  People to this day cite that as an 
example of her "obvious" involvement.  Well, folks, every other 
skater and "skating parent" and official had access to that 
telephone number as well; and since at least two other skaters in 
that competition were very jealous of Tonya -- well, you get the 
idea.  Mind, I have come to believe that it is entirely possible 
the death threat was a conspiracy; but again, given the fact that 
Tonya sincerely wanted to blow everybody away via her programs in 
that tournament, to show the public and the USFSA how wrong they 
were in considering her a has-been (another media device used at 
the time to denigrate her), I cannot conceive of Tonya being a 
part of such a stupid undertaking.  But I can easily believe 
Gillooly and Eckardt (and friends) could have manufactured the 
death threat.  They were just that stupid, as how could they have 
foreseen that things would turn out Tonya's way during an 
unscheduled closed-door meeting? 

Well, Tonya's reputation for courage in the face of crises was 
confirmed when she skated in a scheduled exhibition at Clackamas 
Town Center a few days later.  She told me that she had to get on 
with her life and not let demented people run it for her.  She 
also felt bad, as I could plainly see, that she'd let down her 
fans and the public.  (There had been a huge crowd at the rink on 
the afternoon of the death threat; and they sure didn't come to 
see a couple of unknown local wannabes.)  Anyway, the exhibition 
went forward before another huge crowd which overflowed into the 
main corridors of the shopping mall (the escalators had to be 
closed down as too many people were crowding onto them trying to 
get to rink level).  Tonya had, some days before, asked me to 
contact a particular handicapped figure-skater who was a big fan 
of hers and had always wanted to skate with her in an exhibition.  
This young lady was a Special Olympics skater.  I remember her 
parents were near tears when I told them Tonya wanted her to 
skate in the exhibition!  Anyway, the young woman did skate; and 
she was very nervous, of course; but it was the high point of her 
life up to that time.  Tonya was beautiful, of course: always 
looking like a million dollars no matter what.

Well, that's all for now.  More later!  Best wishes to you.






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