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

March 30, 2001 Edition
(C) 2001 Portland Ice Skating Society

Greetings, fellow Tonyaphiles. Things have been a bit quiet on 
the Tonya front in the past few weeks, but there has been some 


Tonya's been back on TV over the past few weeks, her latest 
appearance being on Court TV. Charlie Main of the Charliesweb 
site managed to catch this and kindly sent us the following 
information about it:

   "Tonya's latest Feb. 26th interview on the Court TV's 
   Catherine Crier Live show was generally upbeat. The interview 
   began with some quick comments of her troubled past and how 
   she was handling her banishment from pro skating.

   The bulk of the interview consisted of questions about what 
   Tonya is doing with her life now. Tonya commented on how she 
   is still teaching, writing a book and still making occasional 
   public appearances such as her upcoming Jacksonville, Florida 
   appearance to throw out the first ball at a baseball park.

   Tonya was ill the day of the interview and looked like death 
   warmed over but in typical Tonya Harding fashion, she didn't 
   cancel the interview and got the job done.

   Photos available at:


Court TV also has some very interesting on-line Tonya resources, 
including transcripts, video and streaming audio at the URL 

This seems to refer to another show - "Mugshots" - rather than 
the Catherine Crier interview. But certainly plenty of 
interesting stuff nevertheless, particularly the interviews with 
detective Napoleon of the Detroit police and Michael Rosenberg, 
Tonya's former agent. The Rosenberg one, which appears to have 
been done around early '99, is particularly intriguing, as it 
gives an inkling of what his plans were for Tonya's comeback 

   "I think Tonya Harding's Second Chance World Tour will be a 
   show that is self-deprecatingly funny and clever. Where she 
   immediately puts the audience at ease, with humor and her 
   personality. She has a very cute side to her personality. And 
   of course she's very sorry for what happened and she's 
   responsible for what happened. And she takes it with the
   audience, but not in a serious manner which would put 
   everybody ill at ease. I can envision a show that is 
   surrounded by other champion skaters and that is very, very 
   entertaining to the audience. And that Tonya speaks to the 
   crowd, many times and that there are cute ensemble numbers,
   skits if you will. Whether we have a baseball bat in the skit 
   or we have her tying a lace in the skit, whatever, but you can 
   see that she laughs about it now and so do I. And I think the 
   audience would immediately be amused and and feel comfortable 
   if she made them feel comfortable."


Well, actually it was a couple of months back rather than today, 
but a very important anniversary was marked recently as January 
saw the holding of the 2001 USFSA figure skating nationals.

On a cold February evening in 1991, Tonya made history at that 
year's nationals by becoming one of only two women to have ever 
landed the Triple Axel jump in a competition, a move widely 
acknowledged as the most difficult skating manouver of all. Tonya 
landed the Triple Axel several more times in 1991. And best of 
all, Tonya is still able to do this jump ten years on, as she 
recounted in an interview with Eyada's Kevin Cook back late last 
year. With the retirement of Japan's Midori Ito in 1997 this 
leaves Tonya as the only female skater currently able to 
accomplish this difficult jump.

How many women landed triple axels at the 2001 nationals? Yes, 
that's right: ZERO! zilch! zip! squat! And it's our betting it'll 
stay that way for a long time too. Don't hold your breath 
expecting any at the Salt Lake City Olympics. Why? Because the 
skating establishment favors the "dainty ice princess" body type, 
a shape that's not very conducive to powerful jumping. Until that 
attitude changes and a more athletic body shape like Tonya's 
becomes accepted in skating, you can expect ladies triple axels 
to remain about as frequent as appearances of Halley's comet.


December 2000 saw the debut of a rather unusual skating site on 
the web: "figureskatingsucks", described as a site by "two 
disillusioned figure skaters", aimed to expose what the authors 
saw as bad management in the Canadian skating establishment. 
After some intense lampooning of a major sponsor and Skate Canada 
head David Dore, however, the site hurriedly disappeared around 
early February. A post to from the 
site's creators - "Annie Anorexic" and "Jackomov Jackovski" - on 
February 20th revealed why: it appeared they'd got wind that Dore 
was getting his computer geeks to try and track them down, and 
fearing their careers might go the same way as Tonya's decided to 
pull the plug on the site.

As "Annie" and "Jacomov" put it: "If anything our site has proved 
just how power hungry David Dore and Skate Canada are. Ask any 
one in the skating community and they will tell you, 'do not 
question Skate Canada in public.' We dared to, and we quickly saw 
the ugly side of this organization. Apparently Skate Canada does 
not share our sense of humour."

While as we have no way of knowing whether "Annie's" and 
"Jacomov's" criticisms were valid, we do find it disappointing 
that Skate Canada seems to have such a disturbing attitude 
towards those who question the way it runs things. We've all come 
to expect such jack-booted goose-stepping Francoist tactics from 
the IOC when dealing with opponents, but have they now infected 
the skating establishment in the great white North? Perhaps it's 
not really surprising - after all, back in June Mr. Dore received 
an Olympic Order, something which puts him in such distinguished 
company as Nicolae Ceausescu, Eric Honecker and other dictators. 
And as this recent article in the Vancouver Sun shows, Skate 
Canada, like the IOC, prefers to cover up allegations of 
corruption rather than do anything to eliminate it:

We'd suggest that something is rotten in the Canadian skating 
establishment when its leader seems to prefer devoting his 
organization's resources to persecuting honest officials and a 
couple of skaters with a harmless web site rather than tackling 
real issues like bent judging. It seems that Skate Canada is more 
interested in avoiding negative publicity rather than really 
acting in the sport's interest and appears to indicate that the 
creators of Figureskatingsucks might have been making a valid 
point after all. Either way, we congratulate them for having the 
courage to set up their site, and wish them the best of luck if 
they plan to revive it elsewhere.


13 December 1999

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

Dear Terry,

Thanks for your message today!  Well -- as much as I would like 
to get Tonya M. Harding to autograph one of those special 
Christmas photographs for me, I'm afraid it's out of my price 
range.  "Cash flow" hereabouts means merely it's disappearance 
within hours of payday.  Koda must be Dakota's nickname, eh?  I 
hope Tonya sells a zillion of those pictures; and perhaps 
someday. . . .


At the time of the 1994 United States Figure Skating 
Championships (Nationals), I was out of the loop with The Tonya 
Harding Fan Club (THFC).  Some gal had taken over the THFC duties 
of making news releases; and Tonya was supposed to come home on a 
late-morning flight from Detroit.  Well, that morning I received 
a telephone call from Shawn E. Eckardt:  he said that Tonya and 
Jeffrey S. Gillooly had been detained by law-enforcement officers 
in an interview and would not be on their scheduled flight.  I 
told him what a serious mistake it was for Tonya to miss her 
planned homecoming, but Eckardt said Gillooly didn't want her to 
be exposed to any media coverage anyway.  We both agreed that 
would be yet another serious blunder for Tonya; and Eckardt told 
me Tonya herself had insisted upon meeting the media when she 
came on a later flight that night.  So Eckardt asked me if I'd 
set up a news-conference situation at the airport; and I did so:  
I immediately telephoned the major news departments in the 
Portland area and told them about the night-time flight.  It's 
now only about two hours before her original flight was due to 
land, so I realized it was too late to telephone everyone in the 
whole world with a postponement warning; and, besides, it wasn't 
my job anymore anyway.  So I rode the train/bus to the airport.  
Unknown to me at the time, I was being followed by undercover 
detectives of the Clackamas County Sheriff's Department!  Julie 
(J. E.) Vader, a Tonya-bashing columnist with "The Oregonian," 
had told police in Detroit that I was probably behind the 
assault; so I became a nation-wide "person of interest" to the 
police.  Anyway, I got to the airport just a few minutes before 
Tonya's original flight landed.  There were literally hundreds of 
people crowding the gate and flowing well into the concourse:  
all sorts of media, official-looking guys in suits, people 
holding placards, regular-folks fans and even the band from the 
Royal Rosarians (that's the ultimate power-elite organization in 
Portland; and you know you've "arrived" when they show up to see 
you off or welcome you home)!  When people began deplaning, a 
huge cheer went up, the band struck up; and everyone was 
cheering, smiling and waving -- and waiting.  And everyone kept 
cheering and waiting; and cheering and waiting.  Then puzzlement 
and consternation set in, when it become obvious Tonya wasn't on 
the aircraft!  Everyone slowly drifted away, after many knots of 
people had formed to share opinions about what might have 

As for me, I went to the offices of the airport's catering and 
restaurant services and spoke with the manager about getting an 
area set aside for Tonya's news conference that night.  He 
happily obliged, offering not only a large room with tables and 
chairs but also a coffee/tea/water set-up -- all free of charge 
for our two-time national champion.  Now, jumping back a bit:  
the day of the assault I was sitting in Tonya's father's 
apartment.  Eckardt and Gillooly showed up and began talking 
about how they needed to get Tonya's telephone card somehow.  It 
seemed to be a big deal to them.  So Gillooly said he'd get it 
from her when he went to Detroit later that day.  While we were 
watching the assault-news stories on television at noon, Eckardt 
repeatedly said:  "I wonder if that hurt?  I'll bet it really 
hurt!  Joe, don't you think that would have really hurt?"  I told 
him I supposed so; but, inside, I was puzzled by the level of 
satisfaction written all over his face.  Gillooly seemed to be 
enjoying the news a bit too much, also.  But I never attached any 
special significance to these events until much later.

Now, back to the homecoming of our favorite Alpha female.  This 
whole "bodyguard" thing is strange, as the only time Eckardt ever 
guarded Tonya's body was that night at the airport.  I showed up 
well in advance of her flight's arrival.  Eckardt then showed up 
and we looked over the news-conference set-up.  Then we went out 
onto the proper concourse and to the arrival gate for Tonya's 
flight.  While we were waiting, Eckardt launched into a verbal 
train of thought about getting laid.  He wondered aloud about 
what sort of things a woman looks for in a man as a prospective 
lay.  He asked what Tonya would want from a man; and whether or 
not he had whatever it was Tonya might want, et cetera.  I 
remember being rather concerned about Eckardt's statements, as in 
totality they implied he wanted to get in bed with her and was 
trying to talk himself into propositioning her.  Well, thankfully 
the aircraft arrived.  All the Portland media were there, but 
only a handful of supporters.  While Tonya received greetings 
from her most loyal fans, Eckardt and Gillooly immediately 
launched into a discussion about what sort of punishment would be 
accorded those who were involved in the assault; and it seemed 
odd to me that they concluded such involvement would only rise to 
the level of a misdemeanor.  Hmm.  Then Eckardt asked Gillooly if 
he'd managed to get Tonya's telephone card; and Gillooly said he 
had.  I still wondered why this telephone-card business seemed to 
be so important.

Then, with me leading the way, everybody headed down the very-
long concourse to the room set aside for the news conference.  
I got there first and stood aside so Tonya could pass through; 
and she came seconds later, leading the media throng.  "I'm 
walking here!" she said over her shoulder to the media crowd, 
encouraging them to follow her.  "Hi, Joe!" she said to me with a 
big smile and a satisfied look in her eyes.  Everybody filled the 
room, with Tonya alone at a table in front (I'd made sure there 
was only one chair at the table, so dead-pan Gillooly wouldn't 
end up sitting next to her).  Tonya was in one of the best moods 
I've witnessed; and she happily answered all the questions put to 
her, in addition to providing unsolicited comments on different 
aspects of the competition.  She said she was sorry Kerrigan had 
been assaulted; and she said she wasn't fully satisfied with her 
own victory because she hadn't skated against Kerrigan (she 
always referred to her as "Nancy," of course).  It wasn't until 
the news conference concluded -- after about 30 or 40 minutes -- 
that, as Tonya was preparing to leave with me and her father plus 
Eckardt and Gillooly, one or two journalists cornered her 
and asked whether or not she knew anything about the assault.  
She was genuinely taken aback; and she told them so:  "How can 
anybody even think that I would be involved in such a thing?"  
The reporters and videographers then left, so our little group 
did too.

We went out to the curb in front of the terminal building; and Al 
Harding pulled up in his car.  Eckardt was playing traffic-cop 
with us and motioned Tonya and me into Al's car.  He said he 
would follow along with Gillooly in his (Eckardt's) car.  So off 
we went:  Al driving, me riding "shotgun" and Tonya alone in the 
rear seat.  She was so pumped!  Tonya and I exchanged the "dap" 
(that ritual handshake) and I told her:  "Way to go!"  She warmly 
thanked me, then went on talking non-stop about how great she 
felt and how excellent it was she'd won; and how much she looked 
forward to the Olympics, et cetera.  She was totally "up."  We 
went directly to Gillooly's mother's house, though I don't know 
why; and we were there for about 30 or 45 minutes before Eckardt 
drove up and he and Gillooly came in.  Tonya sat cross-legged on 
the floor in front of the television receiver, watching a video-
tape of her free-skate program; and when Gillooly interrupted 
her, she waved him off and said:  "Not now!  I want to watch 
this!"  And she kept up a dialogue describing what she was doing 
on the ice, et cetera.  After every jump and spin, she'd exclaim:  
"Yes!"  I have seldom if ever seen her so happy and full of 
energy as that night.

After the video-tape had run its course Tonya stood up, stretched 
upwards to the ceiling, then bent over to get something out of 
her purse.  Gillooly then stepped forward and put his hand up her 
butt, saying quietly:  "Let's go."  Tonya immediately stood 
upright, announced "Well, I've got to go!" and out the door they 
went.  The next morning, I was awakened by a ringing telephone.  
It was a local radio-news department wanting to know if I knew 
anything about Tonya being involved in the assault on Kerrigan.  
Thus began one of the most traumatic times of my life to date; 
and for our buddy Tonya, it was 100 times more so.






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