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

November 12, 2001 Edition - Tonya birthday edition
(C) 2001 Portland Ice Skating Society

In our annual Tonya birthday issue, we look at Tonya's recent TV 
appearance, check out some more Tonya-related oddities, and hear 
from an artist working on a pro-Tonya multi-media work.


As you'll be aware, Tonya appeared recently on NBC's "Weakest 
Link" game show. Tonya, who was playing for a charity called 
NOVA, performed well, surviving until the second round. Although 
it is a pity that Tonya did not stay longer, she handled her time 
on air with humor and style, as always.

For those of you who missed the show, or those who just want to 
relive Tonya's appearance again, David House has put some clips 
on-line in the movie section of his site:

Unfortunately, Phil Mushnick of TV Guide didn't seem too 
impressed by Tonya's appearance. In an article in this week's 
issue at:

Mushnick is heavily critical of her invitation to be on the show. 
The basic theme of his article seems to be that NBC has somehow 
tarnished its Olympic image by putting Tonya on air. Tarnishing 
Olympic tradition? What a joke - we didn't think that it was 
possible to tarnish it any more given the drugs and bribery 
scandals that have been exposed in recent years.

Trying to tarnish the image of the Olympics would be like trying 
to tarnish the image of a certain notorious Arab terrorist - it's 
already as low as it can go. And what about the other 
"celebrities" that were on? People like Gennifer Flowers, who not 
only doesn't even know how to spell her name properly but whose 
sole claim to fame is that she shagged a President? Hardly a role 
model by any means. 

We think that Mushhead - oops, I mean Mushnick, is the real weak 
link here. His concerns about sleaze in television are valid but 
he could find many much better examples to illustrate his case 
with than Tonya. We suggest that Tonyaphiles write to TV Guide at and give them a large Bronx jeer for 
this kind of poor quality journalism.


While on the subject of the Olympics, we're pleased to note that 
at its meeting back in July the IOC picked Jacques Rogge as a 
successor to aging fascist Juan Antonio Samaranch, who has long 
been past his use-by date and has finally realized it's time to 
quit while the going is good (or at least before it gets any 
worse). Rogge seems to be Mr Clean, with no known skeletons in 
his closet, and certainly is a much better choice than the sleazy 
Un Yong Kim of Korea, a former Korean CIA goon who was given a 
"serious warning" (or was it a "very serious warning" - we can't 
remember) back in '99 for his activities over Salt Lake City. 
We've updated our IOC "Hall of Shame" table to reflect the 

A quick look at the table, though, will show that there are still 
a whole host of slimebags in the IOC, and that a lot of work is 
still to be done. While as Rogge's election is a step in the 
right direction, it's only an early step on what's going to be a 
long road to reform. For instance, less impressive is the fact 
that Samaranch's son (who might be termed "son of Sammy"), was 
appointed to the IOC, showing nepotism is still alive and well in 
Lausanne. Also unimpressive is the IOC's decision to award the 
2008 Games to China, a country with an abysmal human rights 
record and a long history of organized doping. It appears that 
the IOC's promotional slogan of "celebrate humanity" doesn't 
extend to celebrating human rights.

Awarding the Games to Beijing reveals that the Olympics is still 
in the pockets of big business, and that the IOC seems to be a 
modern-day Marie Antoinette whose attitude to those Tibetan monks 
or Falun-Gong members languishing in Chinese "re-education" camps 
is not so much "let them eat cake" but "let them drink Coke". 


Emi Jones is a mixed-media artist working on a sympathetic piece 
about Tonya. It is non-commercial and it is hoped that it might 
feature in an undergraduate exhibition.

Emi is looking for audio or video footage that can be used in the 
work. If you know of a source for anything, get in touch with us 
and we'll put you in contact. Of Tonya, Emi says:

   "I think Ms. Harding was sorely abused and misunderstood
    and I'm happy to see her reclaiming her life now. She's been 
    a good sport about it all..."


Tonight's oddities: a fistful of dollars - and stamps, and 

Many people are into collecting things. Some collect stamps, 
others collect currency, and others even phone cards. Well, if 
you're a Tonyaphile into one of these things then here's a chance 
to combine two hobbies. First up is this stamp featuring Tonya 
from a few years back:

In case you are wondering, no, it's not real. This was one of a 
series of fake stamps (or "cinderellas" as they are called in the 
philatelic trade) put out in 1994/95 by a New York artist, Cati 
Laporte, working under the name "F.I.R.E." (First Issue Reserved 
Edition). The Tonya stamp showed her skating in handcuffs, whilst 
others in the series featured such other infamous celebrities as 
Amy Fisher, Dr. Jack Kervorkian, and O.J. Simpson and were a 
rather tasteless joke. Reports are that several people actually 
successfully sent letters through the postal system using some of 
these, though we wouldn't advise it - if you're caught, it could 
be YOU that ends up in handcuffs!

The next item, spotted on e-Bay a few months back, consists of a 
genuine U.S. dollar bill with Tonya's picture pasted where the 
President's would usually be. Unlike the stamp, the producers of 
this claim that it's fully legal and spendable (though why 
Tonyaphile would want to part with something with Tonya's picture 
on it is anyone's guess).
Finally, there's this pair of unique phone cards featuring Tonya 
and another well known skater dressed as an angel and a devil (no 
prize for guessing who was the devil):

Issued by North American Telephone, probably in 1994, this mint 
condition pair of cards were offered on e-Bay by a seller from 
Alaska some months ago and went for the princely sum of $3.25. 
That's less than half their face value. Details of the artist are 


Tonight Joe reveals how Tonya's most notorious off-ice 
performance came to be released, and how once again Tonya got 
shafted by big business and some of her so-called "friends".

16 December 1999

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

Dear Terry,

Howdy!  I've only got a few more huge tomes to send you:  all 
that's left for me to describe regarding Tonya is what I learned 
about the "wedding night" video; and I'll talk about that here.  
The only other big subject left for me to relate is the media-
circus phenomenon.  The latter is more about me than about Tonya, 
since it marked the end of my friendship with her.  The media 
circus was a big deal to me at the time, but I had no idea I 
would never see Tonya again.  Reliving all this has been 
wonderful in a way, but just now I've become saddened because 
it's nearly all over.  It's a personal thing, you see, because 
somehow I held out the hope that more effort in her behalf would 
bring a reconciliation closer to reality.  Logically, as Mr. 
Spock would have said, it doesn't necessarily follow.  But my 
heart was hoping it would.


Here is what I learned about the "wedding night" video business.  
Right after the Bad News broke in 1994, Tonya moved in with 
Stephanie Quintero and her husband.  An arrangement was made so 
that Tonya could go back to her Beavercreek home and collect her 
things in the absence of Gillooly, who continued to live there.  
Tonya and the Quinteros went to the Beavercreek house; and Tonya 
went into the bedroom with Stephanie to gather up her clothing.  
While those two were occupied in the bedroom, John Quintero went 
to the place in the living room where the "wedding night" tape 
was kept and removed it.  He had found out about the tape from 
Stephanie, who had learned about it from Tonya some years before.  
Apparently, he and Gillooly had made some kind of deal -- 
although I wasn't able to confirm that to my own satisfaction -- 
so that both he and Quintero could make some money with the tape.  
Quintero knew right where to look for it.  I think Tonya may have 
briefly looked for the tape later; and being unable to find it 
put it out of her mind.  The three of them then left the 
Beavercreek house.

Quintero sold certain rights to tape to the television program 
Hard Copy, which ran brief non-intercourse scenes on its 
syndicated broadcasts.  The "fuzzy pixel" technique was used to 
block out Tonya's breasts and pubic area.  Just how the tape 
enjoyed such longevity is unknown to me; because it was next 
obtained by Penthouse magazine.  Penthouse sent a representative 
to Portland to meet with Tonya and Gillooly.  They all met at the 
Benson Hotel downtown.  Tonya was told that Penthouse was going 
to run still-frame photographs in its magazine and then 
distribute the video-tape nationwide.  However, the tape would 
not be available through the Penthouse mail-order service 
(located in New England) to anyone residing in Oregon.  
Photographs in the magazine enjoyed First Amendment rights, but 
those rights did not extend to the video-tape itself.  So, should 
Tonya decide to sue Penthouse over the matter she would have to 
do so in an out-of-state court -- which would be a greater 
expense to her and she was less likely (Penthouse knew) to obtain 
a sympathetic jury.  Penthouse would fight her in court, so that 
meant they already had Gillooly's permission via his having sold 
the tape to them; and they felt that was sufficient legal grounds 
to mount a court battle should Tonya sue.  But they wanted 
Tonya's permission as well, just to cover all the bases and so 
they wouldn't have to go through the whole courtroom hassle.  
Should Tonya agree not to sue, Penthouse would give her a sum of 

I believe Tonya made the only decision she knew how to at that 
time:  she was low on funds; and everyone was going to see the 
tape anyway.  Portlanders who wanted to see the tape or sell the 
tape in "adult" bookstores and video shops had only to drive 
across the bridge to Vancouver in the State of Washington to buy 
as many copies as they'd want.  So Tonya signed some sort of 
document and Penthouse gave her about $150,000 in return.  Most 
of that money went toward buying that house in Oak Grove for her 
and Lemon to live in.  She was still trying to get Lemon to marry 

Well, that's all I know about that sordid topic.  Mind, I wasn't 
there in person; but some really good sources put this chain of 
events together for me.  It's a bit strange, isn't it?  Here I 
was, homeless and with no decent future in sight, yet I had 
access to a telephone and thus connections with excellent 
sources!  It's probably the only activity that kept me going.  
But I'd have traded it all in a second for a renewed friendship 
with Tonya.  Sigh.

That's about all for now.  I'll wait until you're back up and 
running again before I produce my (probably) last big Tonya Saga 
installment.  Let me know how things are going.  I hope we can 
continue to converse this way.  You seem to care enough about me 
to write interesting messages.






And on a final note, we are pleased to announce that Tonya's home 
town of Portland has been picked to host the 2005 US Figure 
Skating Nationals.

Maybe we might see some of Tonya's students getting a chance to 
show off their stuff?


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