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  T   H   H  E
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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

December 24, 2000 Edition - SPECIAL CHRISTMAS EVE ISSUE
(C) 2000 Portland Ice Skating Society

A big Merry Christmas to all our subscribers as we kick off our 
Y2K Christmas edition. With news from Tonya, some great photos, 
website news, a movie review, and another episode in our series 
from Joe Haran, we're sure this issue will bring plenty of 
Christmas cheer to Tonyaphiles everywhere.


First off, Tonya wants to send this Christmas greeting to 

   Hi to all my wonderful fans out there. I want to wish you all
   my love and thanks for your support this past year. It's been
   a difficult one, but I look forward to a new year, and some
   exciting things which are starting for me. Your love and
   support have helped to keep me going, and I wish you all the
   most wonderful Christmas and New Year. I will be starting my
   radio show on the first part of January, and I look
   forward to meeting with you, so tune in. I'll let you know the
   exact date and time in a couple of weeks. My book is almost
   complete, and so hopefully it will be published very soon. I 
   also have some other exciting events coming up, and I'll let
   you know as soon as I'm able to. In the meantime, please know
   that you all are appreciated so very much. Again, have a safe
   and happy holiday. A special thanks to all of you who are
   running websites for me. You have shown so much support for
   me, and I thank you all so much.

   Love Tonya

Linda Lewis also says:

   I also want to send my Christmas greetings and thanks to all
   of Tonya's fans and friends out there. I know that this year
   will be great for Tonya. She has so many new things happening
   for her. Be sure to tune into her radio show when it starts
   the first part of January.

   Love to all,
   Linda Lewis
   Manager (Godmother) for Tonya


Tonya also sent us this message for Thanksgiving day in which she 
thanks her fans for their birthday wishes:

   Happy Thanksgiving To My Fans

   I just want to thank all of you for a wonderful year of
   support. I wish you all the very best and Happiest
   Thanksgiving. Also, thank you so much for the wonderful
   Birthday gifts form you. It made turning 30 that much easier.

   Love to all,



Tor Weibye of Eventyrplassen Vannførelag, the Norwegian 
Tonyaphile group, has sent us two excellent photos from a 
birthday party they held in Tonya's honor. He explains:

   Hello, how are you!

   This is a little message from Eventyrplassen Vannførelag
   regarding Tonya's birthday. 22 of our members were celebrating
   Tonya with a special decorated cake, made at our local bakery.
   And of course, we had champagne with the cake. I am enclosing 
   two pictures that I hope you and other tonyaphiles will enjoy.
   The text on the top of the cake is: Happy birthday, Tonya. 
   Best regards from Vannførelaget. It is our president, Mr. Ole
   Geir Johansen who is cutting the cake at the other picture. I
   am the photographer.

   Best wishes from Tor Weibye, Oslo, Norway.

We have uploaded them onto the server and they are available at:


Kim White of the Blades of Gold web site advises us that there 
have been 12 new photos added to Tonya's Personal Collection. 
They can be found in galleries 5, 6, and 7. Also, Puppetboy has 
streamlined his site, eliminating alot of extraneous text and 
concentrating on a new discussion forum.

Both these sites can be reached from the URLs at the end of this 

Meanwhile The Black Knight, who founded the Tonya club over on 
Yahoo! that we mentioned back in November, has turned his club 
over to another member, Herbert Phelps, and has started a new 
club on Lycos. It can be accessed at:

though you'll need to create an account and log in if you don't 
already have one on Lycos.


We finally have a chance to review this Tonya classic.

First, the plot for those who haven't seen it (warning - contains 

Myra is a courier for brutal mob boss Anton, but after a 
particularly bad day at the office decides to quit. Anton says 
yes, but asks her to perform one last assignment: a delivery of 
$300K to a hitman, Nicky, who also happens to be his nephew. When 
she leaves, however, Anton phones Nicky and tells him to "whack" 
Myra (and we don't mean on the knee), but Nicky bungles the job 
and Myra gets away with the cash. Needless to say, Anton isn't 
too pleased with this and sends another hitman, Gray, after Myra 
to help Nicky finish the task and get back the loot. Gray, 
however, "ices" Nicky after he gets in his way once too often. 
When Anton learns of this, he's so pissed he not only throws his 
fax machine out the window but also sends the rest of his hoods 
(who look like they've been watching Reservoir Dogs too many 
times) to recover the cash and kill everybody. Meanwhile, Myra is 
hiding out in a cabin in the woods that belongs to her sleazebag 
boyfriend Carter (who's actually two-timing her with a restaurant 
owner called Gina - that's Tonya) along with a nerdy 
anthropologist named Dan she's met while trying to dodge Nicky 
and Gray.

To cut a long story short, Carter, Gray and all the bad guys get 
killed, Myra falls in love with Dan and goes to Fiji, and Gina 
(Tonya) ends up with the money (which everybody else assumes was 
destroyed in an explosion). Overall, it's very definitely a two-
star potboiler that would be of only passing interest if it 
wasn't for Tonya. However, there's a decent car chase, a few 
shootouts and a bit of shagging (not involving Tonya), so
it's certainly worth the price of a rental even for those not 
interested in Tonya. Plus you get to see some of Portland, a city 
that's sorely under-utilized by the film industry.

As for Tonya, her role is pretty limited. Although her acting 
isn't great, it isn't bad either and is certainly quite adequate 
for a film of this nature. Things probably weren't helped by the 
fact that Tonya's real-life boyfriend of the time, Doug Lemon, 
was apparently hanging round the set and wouldn't allow Tonya to 
do anything "romantic" like kissing, which is why her scenes with 
Carter look a bit passionless. The only time she really seems to 
be at home is during the early morning jogging scene. 
Nevertheless, with a few acting lessons I'm sure Tonya could have 
had a decent career in low budget action movies of this type and 
it's a real pity she didn't pursue this further.


By the way, we recently spotted this DVD of "Breakaway" on E-bay, 
the first time we have seen any evidence of it being available 
on this format:

Whether it's PAL or NTSC isn't stated (probably PAL given it's 
from Hong Kong), but it is described as all-region with Dolby 5.1 
channel sound, English & Mandarin soundtracks and Chinese 
subtitles. The seller claims it's an official release (a rarity 
in Asia where the bulk of stuff is pirate), though we have no way 
to verify this.


12 December 1999

Terry Hall, Head
Special Duties Section
Portland Ice Skating Society
Christchurch, New Zealand

Dear Terry,

Just think:  within several days I'll be done with all this Tonya 
M. Harding saga stuff.  I surfed the Lycos system tonight, 
searching for Tonya stuff; but I didn't expect 75% of it to be 
pornography sites.  Yikes!  Well, it's all the more reason for us 
to work in defense of Tonya's honor.  Please forgive my 
occasional fits of impatience:  I'm new to this internet stuff; 
and though it's wonderful that there are people like yourself who 
appreciate Tonya for who she is and what she's accomplished 
during her young life (several average lifetimes of hurt), I 
sometimes despair that she will not realize her dreams; and I 
want to help her achieve them, if at all possible.  Well, now 
that the homily has concluded I'll get back to the Tonya Saga.


With just a few days remaining before Tonya's trip to the United 
States Figure Skating Championships (Nationals), one of the 
lacing hooks at the top of one of her boots tore from the leather 
as she was skating in a midnight practice (see previous letter).  
(By the way, the rink management was very supportive of Tonya; 
and they stuck around for these unusual way-past-closing-time 
practices -- running the Zamboni over the rink, et cetera.)  
Well, as soon as the hook failed Tonya came to the wall looking 
upset.  The practice was over and it had only just begun. The 
next morning, she and I, along with Gillooly at the wheel of her 
truck (What's this guy thing about insisting upon driving when 
with a woman?  Tonya was a better driver than Gillooly anyway.) 
set out to find a place that would repair her boot.  (By the way, 
whenever they rode together she'd be right up next to him and 
he'd have his right hand down between her thighs at crotch level 
all the time -- which I figured was his constant reminder to her 
of who was in charge.  Tonya was always wearing sheer black 
tights, as she wouldn't change her clothes after practices just 
to run errands.  The truck had an automatic transmission, so 
Gillooly could maintain that particular contact for the duration 
of any trip.)  We went to a few shoe-repair places in Portland, 
to no avail.  The story was always the same:  sorry, but we don't 
have the right equipment for sewing through such thick leather.  
So, we ended up over in Vancouver (Washington) and stopped at a 
few more shoe-repair stores (same story) in addition to a saddle-
maker's shop (same story but harder to believe).  Tonya looked so 
forlorn and pleaded with these various proprietors to help her, 
with Gillooly standing next to her in his usual slow-burning-fuse 
angry and stiff mode, all to no avail.  I got the feeling that 
they all recognized Tonya, but Gillooly's fame as a jerk had 
preceded him and a lot of people around here weren't sure how to 
react to Tonya in his presence.  Well, as it turned out, some 
friend or relative of hers or his -- to whom I was introduced, 
but I can no longer remember her name nor her relationship to 
Tonya -- ended up doing the work that night:  at Tonya's request, 
the lacing hooks were replaced with eyelets to mitigate against 
another hook failure.

This reminds me of the time prior to Nationals, when I was living 
with Tonya's father Albert, that Our Hero needed her skate blades 
sharpened.  And that reminds me of the reason for Tonya's having 
failed to land her triple Axels at the 1992 Olympics:  prior to 
that tournament, she was skating at Valley Ice Arena in the 
Portland suburb of Beaverton; it was a hockey rink (concrete 
base) and not a figure-skating rink (sand base); and it was also 
colder than the rink at Clackamas Town Center (which turned out 
to be good for her as her asthma acted up less in the colder 
air); and, the guy who sharpened Tonya's skates did so as if they 
were hockey skates.  As you probably know, hockey and speed-
skating skates have a flat profile on the bottom (of course, they 
all have a groove down the middle of the blade).  Figure-skating 
skates are slightly curved, enabling the skaters to perform 
spins.  Although this sharpening guy at Valley Ice Arena made 
Tonya's skates very sharp indeed, he inadvertently (perhaps) over 
time also made them too flat.  It happened so gradually that 
Tonya didn't notice any drastic change; but by the time she got 
to the '92 Olympics the skates were so flat that the toe picks at 
the front of the blades were dangerously close to the ice -- and 
when she would land her triple Axels, the bottom pick on her 
landing-foot blade would catch the ice and throw her off balance.  
As you may recall, Tonya never made any excuse for not doing as 
well as she had wanted (fourth place); but when, shortly 
thereafter, she fired her coach and re-hired Diane Rawlinson it 
was immediately evident to Rawlinson that the blades had been 
made too flat through repeated improper sharpenings.  Tonya 
showed me the actual blades; and even I could see how flat they 
were in comparison to her properly-sharpened blades.  So, you may 
wonder, why didn't Tonya notice this at the time?  Primarily 
because she only had one set of blades at a time (and one set of 
boots), so the obvious visual comparison could not be made.  
Also, I believe it was just her nature that if something didn't 
work right Tonya would muscle through it anyway -- and she 
could do just that under ordinary circumstances; but Murphy's Law 
caught up with her at the '92 Olympics.

Now, back to the blade-sharpening episode prior to Nationals.  A 
fellow who lived in the Portland suburb of Aloha (I think) had 
done a good job sharpening Tonya's blades in recent months, so Al 
took the boots to him.  Then, he went and picked them up that 
night.  Well, since Al had to go to work first thing in the 
morning I suggested that I take the boots to Tonya at the rink in 
time for her first hour of practice (her training featured 
different aspects at different times of the morning).  So, dark 
and early I walked to the light-rail station and took the train 
to Southeast 82nd Avenue; and from there, I caught the number-72 
bus to Clackamas Town Center.  All told, counting bus/train-stop 
waiting, the trip would take me about 90 minutes.  Well, here I 
was riding on mass transit -- or waiting with others at bus/train 
stops -- with these little white figure-skating boots with gold-
plated blades; and on the sole-leather bottoms of the boots the 
name "TONYA HARDING" had been burned in by the boot-maker, the 
Harlick Boot Company in California.  I remember feeling, well, 
proud of myself and proud of Tonya, too: I'm taking our National 
Champion and Olympian her one and only pair of boots; and, in 
fact, everybody at the bus/train stops and on the bus was eyeing 
those boots -- and eyeing me as well.  Perhaps some of them knew 
that white boots are traditionally for female skaters.  Of 
course, they were so tiny.  Anyway, it may seem like no big deal 
to anyone else; but it was a very special moment for me.  I felt 
like a part of a team, as if I was a necessary link in the chain.  
While other skaters had multiple pairs of blades and boots -- and 
surely didn't need a guy riding public transportation at 4:00 
a.m. to fetch them -- here is our home-town hero Tonya depending 
upon me to show up with her most urgently-needed equipment.  
Well, enough of all that feel-good nonsense!  When I got to the 
rink, still conspicuously holding the boots (I didn't want to put 
them inside my pack for fear of their being soiled), Tonya and 
Rawlinson were both just arriving -- Tonya in her traditional 
pre-skating "rush" mode.  Rawlinson said to me, smiling, "Those 
are nice white boots you have there!"  It was just a little 
humor, but at that time of day I appreciated her effort.  Tonya 
looked up at me seriously and said, "Give me my boots.  I've got 
to go skate."  And off she went, boots in hand.  Then she turned 
and shouted, "Thanks!"


That's it for now.  Best wishes, as always.





And with that, we'll sign off and wish Tonya and everybody a very 
merry holiday season. We've got lots of photos and other site 
improvements planned for the new year. To paraphrase Arnold 
Schwarzenegger, "We'll be back" - with more info on Tonya's book 
and Eyada radio show as soon as it becomes available.


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