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

March 14, 2003 Edition - PROUDLY SUPPORTING TONYA SINCE 1996
(C) 2003 Portland Ice Skating Society

A jam-packed issue today, with some news of Tonya's next bout, an 
upcoming movie appearance for Tonya, plus an exposť of another 
piece of junk journalism and a bit of fun with Speedy.


Regrettably Tonya has lost her first professional fight, against 
opponent Samantha Browning.

The good news is that it was a split decision, with two judges 
scoring it 39-38 and 39-37 in favor of Browning and the other 39-
37 in favor of Tonya.

Reports suggest that the fight was not a great one, with the 
fighters mostly grappling rather than punching. Tonya looked red-
faced afterwards. In the wake of the fight Browning said of 
Tonya: "She was a lot stronger than I thought, but she got weaker 
as the fight progressed. I knew I had to pour it on to get the 
decision and I did", indicating that Tonya was no pushover. "All 
I and anyone can ask for is that we give our best and that's what 
I gave," Tonya said. "I feel the fans got their money's worth 
tonight". "It's not like I expected at all," she also said. "This 
was much, much harder than I ever figured. But it only makes me 
want to work that much harder."

"I didn't know who won," Tonya said. "I just know it was a really
hard fight. She never hurt me, I just had problems getting to her 
with my punches. But it was my first fight and it was very 
exciting. I look forward to fighting again."

More coverage of the bout can be found at:
/104591934057721.xml (which 
includes photos)

Linda Lewis, Tonya's godmother, had this to say:

  Dear Tonya fans:

  As you have heard, Tonya didn't win her first boxing match (as 
  a professional).  But I can tell you that she had her heart in 
  it. I wasn't in Memphis, but I saw her train prior to her 
  going. She was ready. This was her first professional match. It 
  was a split decision. It was not a KO.

  It's the blue-collar workers and people who do not come from 
  privilege that make this country great. Tonya didn't have 
  money, but made it to the very top of the sport of figure 
  skating. This is what inspires so many people to take her side. 
  Tonya is a great athlete. With her skating, she accomplished so 
  much; great accomplishments, that still stand in the record 
  books to this day. From the age of three, she wanted to skate. 
  She went on to become one of the greatest figure skaters ever.

  Now she has chosen the sport of boxing. She will put her heart 
  into it, as she is a winner. She's a small petite athlete with 
  great talent, and great tenacity. What does she want? She wants 
  to do well. I have no doubt that she'll accomplish this.

  She doesn't complain, but with a smile, says I have to work 
  harder. She wants to please her fans. She always has. She wants 
  to be accepted, and loved; and who doesn't? She wants to do her 
  best, not just for herself, but also for you. You have given 
  her that love and acceptance.

  To all of you who sent your emails of support, I thank you. I 
  will see that Tonya receives them. The world hasn't seen or 
  heard the last from this little powerhouse. I'm very proud of 
  her, for who she is.

  My best to you all,
  Tonya's Godmother Linda

Linda also reports that Tonya hardly has a scratch on her and is 
feeling great. She wants the fans to know that she is going to 
work even harder and will continue to do better. She sends her 
love to all and thanks for the continued support.


Saturday, March 15 will see Tonya competing in her second 
professional boxing match, this time in Gulfport, Mississippi. 
Her opponent this time around is another first-timer, Shannon 
Birmingham, who is so obscure no-one even has a picture of her. A 
few more details can be found in this article by Portland's KATU 

Nashville's daily newspaper, "The Tennessean", has another 
article on Tonya, covering her reflections on her first fight and 
an interview with her trainer:

"The reason people are interested in her is because of her past, 
but I've told her that now she can do something to change the way 
people think about her now," her trainer, Jeff Hargis says. "When 
we started this, my first thought was that it was a publicity 
stunt," he says. "It didn't take long to find out I was wrong. 
She's a competitive person, and this is a way for her to be 
competitive again. The whole thing's been cathartic for her."

"There are similarities between skating and boxing. You have to 
be mentally prepared and focused because any little mistake can 
really cost you," Tonya says. "But I like competing one-on-one 
with somebody, and you don't really do that in figure skating."

And no, depite what the paper says, she hasn't moved to the Music 
City. Tonya just trains there. We've no plans to change the name 
of this e-zine to "The Nashvillean" or something similar.


Won't the legal system ever leave Tonya alone? February saw yet 
more legal problems for her, with a judge awarding $20,000 in 
damages against Tonya to her former landlord for damage allegedly 
beyond fair wear and tear that occurred to the property she was 
evicted from early last year. Judge John F. Nichols signed the 
order Monday. Some of the damage was apparantly from pets, and 
extra cleaning was needed, according to the landlord's lawyer.


Several issues ago we mentioned that Tonya had been offered a 
part in a low-budget independent film with a boxing theme. We're 
glad to report that Tonya completed filming of those scenes back 
in December on a trip to Tulsa.

The film is to be called "Prize Fighter" and is based on a true 
story that the director, Mark Mason, encountered while organizing 
fights in the early 1990's. The plot concerns a boxer who makes a 
comeback after his wife dies suddenly. Jeff Howard, who co-wrote 
the film along with Mason, informs us that a rough cut has been 
prepared and comments from the distributor are positive. Tonya 
was to originally play the role of the boxer's wife but now plays 
the owner of a diner that serves as a "Cheers" of sorts for the 
townspeople to watch the fights. She has several scenes with two 
local radio DJs who play her brothers along with some scenes with 
the fighter, his wife, and Howard himself, who plays the 
fighter's friend. She also has a scene with Leon Spinks, but none 
with Gary Busey, who also appears in the film.

The film-makers were quite pleased with their encounter with 
Tonya. "She flew into Tulsa on Sat December 7th and was on set 
all day December 8th. She appeared in several scenes with Phil 
and Brent, two morning radio personalities with radio station 
KMOD in Tulsa. On Monday morning she appeared on the Phil and 
Brent show, answered questions at a press conference, and left 
town around noon. All in all she did a good job on the film and 
we were happy to have her".

"She came in with only two hours of rehearsal, off of an 
airplane, jet-lagged, and she did a fantastic job," Mark Mason 
said. "This girl has acting ability." So much for those who pooh-
poohed Tonya's acting talent in "Breakaway". Said Tonya: "It's 
going to be a fabulous movie. It's like a little love story. It's 
about a boxer who loses his wife, and then comes back and wins in 
her honor."

Further details can be found at (the 
film's original working title), including an article from the 
"Tulsa World" newspaper about Tonya's visit. Jeff Howard has said 
that he will be updating the site with pictures of Tonya's on-set 
appearances when he gets time, so be sure to check back.


Many of our readers probably watched the much-hyped Martin Bashir 
documentary on Michael Jackson that aired last month. As you've 
probably heard, Jacko wasn't at all pleased with Bashir's exposť, 
which he labeled inaccurate and deliberately misleading.

But this time it was the "exposer" who found himself being 
exposed, with Jackson turning the tables. You see, Jackson had 
his own cameras rolling during the interview, and two weeks later 
aired his footage on Fox. This second special, fronted by Maury 
Povich (a good Tonyaphile by the way), shows a totally different 
story to what Bashir wanted you to see. For instance:

- one key point of controversy surrounding  Jackson is that he has 
an alleged desire to turn himself white through plastic surgery. 
In Bashir's interview, we saw Jackson saying he has only ever had 
two operations, both on his nose. Yet Jackson's own footage 
reveals that they also discussed a 1984 incident in which his 
hair caught fire, necessitating extensive surgery on his scalp. 
He also mentioned that he suffers from a rare medical condition 
that has bleached his skin. Yet Bashir left all this stuff - 
surely highly relevant to the issue of Jackson's appearance - on 
the floor. Why? Did he want to make Jackson look like a liar?

- in his documentary, Bashir paints a very  negative portrait of 
Jackson's parenting skills. Bashir claims his view towards this, 
initially positive, changed after the now infamous "baby 
dangling" incident in Germany and a trip to a Berlin zoo that 
turned into a circus. Yet again Bashir fails to mention important 
facts, like that the zoo was supposed to have been especially 
closed to the public for Jackson's visit. In addition, we clearly 
hear Bashir off-camera praising Jackson's relationship with 
children in an interview that was recorded AFTER the incidents in 
Germany. Also edited was the explanation that it was the mother 
of Jackson's kids who came up with the idea of them wearing 
masks, not Jackson himself.

- Bashir left out footage of Jackson sayingg nice things about his 
father, leaving in only negative comments.

While as we don't want to get into a debate over whether Jacko 
really is whacko or has an unhealthy interest in little boys, we 
do think that this whole incident is an excellent example of the 
type of manipulative trash "journalism" that we have been 
complaining about for years and which Tonya has seen more than 
her fair share of. Bashir's treatment of Jackson exposes Bashir 
as the two-faced manipulative jerk he is, and unfortunately he's 
all too typical of alot of modern journalists, who are only 
interested in making the "facts" fit the story they want to tell. 
It's just a pity that Tonya didn't also have her own cameras 
rolling back in 1994 - maybe we'd also get the truth about that 
incident as well.


Here at Special Duties we've managed to achieve something that 
most figure skating fans would have thought impossible - we've 
found a way of making Speedy look even more stupid & ridiculous 
than he is already:

It's all due to a piece of image manipulation software known as 
the GIMP, which stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program. 
Although originally developed for Linux, there is also a Windows 
version for those leery of giving Redmond's Operating System of 
Mass Destruction the flick at this stage. The capabilities of 
GIMP are reckoned by many to compare favorably to expensive 
commercial packages such as Adobe Photoshop - and you can't beat 
the price, as GIMP is completely free. A version for doctoring 
moving pictures, formerly known as FilmGIMP, has been used on 
several major Hollywood features recently including "Scooby-Doo".

We suggest that skating fans disgruntled with the Saddam of 
Skating and his secret scoring systems go to 
and download it and try a few Speedy variations yourself. They'd 
look perfect on t-shirts at the upcoming Worlds protest in DC 
later this month, especially with a few safety pins stuck through 
them in strategic places.

By the way, we found that one of the GIMP plugins produces a 
bizarre swirling psychadelic effect eerily reminiscent of the 
opening titles of early 70's Jon Pertwee-era "Doctor Who" 
episodes. Does this mean Speedy could actually be the Ninth 
Doctor?  It would be no surprise - most skating fans have long 
reckoned he's on a different planet.


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