T   H   H  E
  T   H   H  E
  T   H   H  EEEEE

PPPP   OOOO  RRRR  TTTTT L       A   N   N DDDD  I   A   N   N TM
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

March 20, 2004 Edition
(C) 2004 Portland Ice Skating Society


Today, March 20 will see Tonya resume her boxing career with 
her sixth match, to be held at the Oakland Arena against Tracy 
Carlton of Compton, CA. Carlton is a late replacement for Blanca 
Hilder, a local stock trader and former kickboxer who was to be 
Tonya's original opponent. At this stage the reason for the 
replacement or any details about Carlton are not known, other 
than that this is her first pro fight. The latest article about 
the match, by the Alameda Star-Times can be found here:,1674,125%257E11080%2

This is Tonya's first fight since Dallas back in August. A match 
scheduled to be held in Boise, Idaho in January had to be 
canceled after a lawsuit was filed by Tonya's former management, 
Prize Fight Boxing, against the fight's organizers and the Bank 
of America Center where the fight was going to be held. We are 
pleased to report that this lawsuit has now been dismissed. This 
would appear to pave the way for Tonya to resume her boxing 
career without further interruption.


Actually, Friday night wasn't bad for fighting either, as fans of 
the Indianapolis Ice hockey team discovered when they turned up 
to watch their team play against the Colorado Eagles in 
Indianapolis last week.

The night was billed by the Ice as being a "guaranteed fight 
night", and so it turned out, though not in the way most people 
expected. After initial speculation by the media that Tonya was 
actually going to play hockey, caused no doubt by a somewhat 
misleading press release put out by the Ice, Tonya elected to 
give an exhibition boxing event consisting of a light-hearted 
sparring match with her trainer, Paul Brown. Brown wore oversized 
gloves and at one point pretended to be knocked out. The match 
helped to pull in a full house and raised $1000 for Big Brothers 
Big Sisters of Central Indiana, a local charity.

Earlier in the day there was some question as to whether Tonya 
was going to fight at all: in an internet chat and a TV 
interview, Tonya had stated that she would not do anything that 
would risk injuring herself before her upcoming match in Oakland. 

In fact it seems that there was never any plan for Tonya to play 
hockey at all. According to The Oregonian, Tonya's manager Paul 
Brown is quoted as saying on the previous Tuesday that "we 
agreed that she will appear back there in Indianapolis, be 
honorary captain and do charity work". He describes reports 
that Tonya will play hockey as "absolutely insane... 
hysterical". One has to wonder if the confusion wasn't generated 
deliberately as a publicity stunt. If so, it's worked 
spectacularly well, given the amount of press coverage it has 

In addition to her boxing, Tonya also did a live Internet chat 
for and appeared in a TV interview. More 
details, including a video of a local news report about Tonya's 
visit, can be found at these sites:


Although Tonya did not play hockey, Tonyaphiles did get to see 
her skate again recently. To commemorate the 10th annniversary of 
her performance in Lillehammer, Tonya featured on two consecutive 
episodes of "The Early Show" on CBS in February.

On the 23rd, Tonya appeared in an interview with host Harry 
Smith, and the following day skated a short 3.5 minute routine in 
New York's Central Park. Tonya did this with only six days 
practice after a break from skating of over year. The first 
appearance also featured an interview with Nancy Kerrigan, who 
actually said something nice about Tonya ("she had so much talent 
and some of the biggest jumps in skating").

Unfortunately, Tonya's performance was marred by a hand injury 
sustained while washing dishes one evening before the show, a cut 
that required nine stitches. "That set me back," she says. "I 
didn't want to fall on the hand while skating and risk further 
injury. I didn't have a lot of time to prepare, but I thought I 
did pretty well. It could have been better, but it was a lot of 
fun. And it was good for me."

For those of you who missed out on seeing Tonya's appearances, 
you can check out the following two articles on the CBS site. The 
latter has a clip from the show in both RealMedia and Windows 
Media format that includes Tonya's Central Park performance. 
There's also a photo essay recapping the last ten years that 
includes several images not widely seen before:

There were also reports that Tonya was supposed to appear on 
ESPN's "Cold Pizza" on Wednesday the 25th, but there seems to be 
some question as to whether this actually went ahead - one person 
who watched the show reports not seeing anything. Tonya has also 
done a segment for Comedy Central's "The Man Show" that is 
scheduled to air some time in May, so if you can receive this 
channel keep an eye on your local TV listings. The segment 
involves her doing a little sparring with co-host Doug Stanhope.


The "Edmonton Journal" has reported that Tonya has signed a deal 
with local promoter Wayne Barry to fight on a card slated for the 
Shaw Conference Centre in late June (assuming there are no 
immigration problems). This will be her first fight outside the 
United States.

The "Edmonton Sun" has two articles with more info about the 
fight. It appears that the fight was originally to take place in 
March, but Tonya's previous encounters with the law mean that 
getting admission to Canada is not a foregone conclusion, so the 
fight was rescheduled to June 25 in order to give time for all 
the paperwork to be completed:

The fight will be billed as "Law & Order", though Tonya says "I'm 
on the 'Order' side now". Asked inevitably about whether she's 
serious, she says:

"I wouldn't have got my head beat in five times if I was taking 
it as a joke. If people think I'm a circus act, I would tell them 
to get in the ring and see what it's like,".

On the accusation that she's exploiting her notorious image: "A 
whole bunch of people made a lot of money off me being the bad 
girl. I still use that as my nickname in the ring, but eventually 
I want my own name. Right now, it's time for me to make some 
money off the whole bad girl situation".


Also worth checking out is this article from Kerry Eggers of the
Portland Tribune that reveals Tonya hasn't totally given up on 
skating. It's about Tonya's renewed attempts at getting the 
USFSA's ridiculous life ban overturned so that she can skate 
again in events with USFSA skaters:

Paul Brown has announced he has authorized lawyers to draw up 
papers that he says will be filed with the USFSA soon. "It is not 
intended to reinstate my amateur eligibility," explains Tonya. "I 
would first and foremost like the opportunity to skate 
professionally, whether in an exhibition or a competition".

"It's good for both sides", says Brown. "For Tonya as an 
individual and them for an organization. It would be good for the 
sport. She has paid her debts to society and should be given the 
opportunity to compete again."

Although Tonya has skated in one pro competition, the ESPN 
championships in October 1999, she has persistently been denied 
the opportunity to skate in other shows due to skater's and 
promoter's fears of being blackballed by the USFSA, a giant 
octopus that has considerable influence on professional 
competitions even though it has no official jurisdiction over 
this area. "Other skaters don't feel they can skate with me," 
says Tonya. "Ninety-nine percent of the professional shows run 
through the USFSA, so they control pretty much everything. 
Skaters don't want to rock the boat, don't want to take a risk 
because of who I am. Even though if they took the risk, they 
would make a lot of money."

Tonya says her appetite for skating was whettted again last month 
while preparing for the CBS shows and a Swedish TV special. Brown 
has also been encouraging Tonya to skate as a way of training.

Whatever the outcome, one thing is certain: Tonya will definitely 
be performing during the US Nationals that will be held in 
Portland in January next year: "We are booked for a bout in the 
convention center, depending on the outcome of the appeal with 
the USFSA," Brown says. "I hope she will be able to skate. If 
not, we are going to be across the street fighting in a 
nationally televised bout."


If you've been following Tonya news coverage over the years 
you'll know that some of it is pretty shoddy, plagued with 
journalists who can't be bothered to check their facts so they 
just make stuff up or rely on their (usually bad) memories. For 
instance, you might recall Kate Maddox of the Las Vegas Sun who 
back in 2001 heard a rumor that Tonya had been offered a job 
skating topless in a Las Vegas show and wrote a story implying it 
was a done deal, then tried to make out Tonya had changed her 
mind when in fact she had rejected the offer immediately, even 
before Maddox's original article appeared. Then there was the 
story that was circulating just before Christmas 2002 that Tonya 
had got drunk on an airline flight and caused some trouble, when 
in fact it was the woman sitting in the seat in front of Tonya 
who was the real culprit.

Given that we've currently just been through the major awards 
season, we've decided to create what we call the "Jayson" award, 
named of course, in (dis)honor of disgraced New York Times writer 
Jayson Blair, which we'll dish out whenever we find examples of 
such poor workmanship. And just recently there's been plenty of 
candidates to choose from.

Take, for instance, Chris Hunter of the "Pacifica Tribune", 
Blanca Hilder's hometown newspaper. In their issue of Wednesday, 
March 17, 2004 he wrote:

  Remember Tonya Harding? The notorious figure skater gained 
  international fame not for her graceful moves, but for her 
  graceless attack on fellow figure skater Nancy Kerrigan.

  The January 6, 1994, attack on Kerrigan in the Winter Olympic 
  Trials gave both women a lot more fame than either probably 
  ever desired. Harding's henchmen, led by Jeff Gillooly, 
  admitted that Tonya knew about the plan to hobble Kerrigan.

  As it turned out, both women wound up skating in the 1994 
  Olympics, with Kerrigan earning a Silver Medal and Harding 
  finishing in eighth place. Later that year, Harding admitted 
  guilt in the attack and avoided prison. She was subsequently 
  stripped of her winning titles and banned from professional ice 
  skating for life.

Any good Tonyaphile should be able to spot the errors there. But 
Hunter has strong competition from Brad Locke of, 
who has Tonya playing in an ice hockey game that she never did! 
In an article entitled "Welcome To The Freak Show" written March 
17, a full FIVE DAYS after Tonya's Indy appearance he wrote:

  Tonya Harding made her professional hockey debut March 12 with 
  a minor league team.

Hello, McFly, is there anybody home? This guy is so far behind 
the times it's funny. The rest of the article is the usual 
pompous twaddle about how sports are turning into a circus. And 
needless to say the fact that the boxing match that Tonya DID do 
raised $1000 for charity is never mentioned (if he had it would 
have seriously undermined his case). Perhaps Mr. Locke should 
spend more time reading and keeping up to date than writing pious 
self-righteous claptrap.

Then you've got Dave Newhouse in the Alameda Times who, in an 
otherwise positive article, says "Harding admitted later she knew 
about the plot beforehand".

It's a tough call, but we think the "Jayson" has to go to Chris 
Hunter of the Pacifica Tribune, for the sheer number of errors 
and generally anti-Tonya sentiment. If there's anyone that's 
"graceless", it's him. At least we can be thankful of one thing: 
unlike with alot of other awards it's highly unlikely we'll have 
to put up with a boring, long-winded acceptance speech.


Most of us are familiar with the deck of playing cards issued to 
American soldiers in Iraq featuring senior members of Saddam's 
deposed regime. Now at least two outfits have produced their own 
variation of the idea: cards featuring mug shots of various 
celebrities who have had run-ins with the law. And Tonya is there 
amongst the pack.

The first is Starz Behind Barz (, 
located appropriately enough, in Las Vegas. Amongst the other 
famous faces featured are Eminem (gun charges), Bill Gates (for a 
speeding ticket), Sid Vicious (murder), and Michael Jackson (you 
know what). Jackson is the joker, not surprisingly. The second is 
from well-known celebrity crime website The Smoking Gun 
(, and feature much the same group 
of people. The Tonya cards from both decks can be viewed on the 
"photos" page on our site at:

And what card is Tonya? Well, the the Starz card has her as the 
Queen of Diamonds. The Smoking Gun set has her as, if you haven't 
already guessed, the Queen of Clubs. Either way, Tonya's an ace 
as far as Tonyaphiles are concerned.


December saw an important development in the war for control of 
figure skating with the fledgling World Skating Federation filing 
a lawsuit against Speedy's powerful ISU. Their complaint, which 
can be downloaded in pdf form from the WSF site at, alleges that the ISU has engaged in anti-
competitive conduct designed to maintain their monopoly over 
eligible skating by blacklisting WSF supporters. Perhaps even 
more importantly, it also makes damaging accusations against 
Speedy himself, claiming he has been taking kickbacks from TV 
networks disguised as part of their ISU TV rights payments.

The past year has been a difficult period for the WSF. The 
organization has yet to produce its first skating event, chiefly 
because of threats and bullying from the ISU. The WSF has also 
suffered from internal management wranglings. This month saw 
Sonia Bianchetti step down as acting Vice President after she 
claims she was named as a Director of the organization in 
incoporation documents without permission.

We feel that this lawsuit is long overdue. The ISU has long been 
acting as a bunch of bully-boys to anybody who tries to buck the 
system in a way that no other business would be allowed to get 
away with. These days sport is a business, and the ISU needs to 
be held to the same standards that other businesses are held to. 
Whether the suit will succeed, of course, and if so whether it 
will result in any meaningful evisceration of the ISU remains to 
be seen - given what happened to Microsoft we don't have much 
faith in U.S. anti-trust law. But the accusations about Speedy 
are particularly interesting: while as he is widely despised 
throughout figure skating for his arrogancce and incompetence, 
this is the first time anyone has accused him of actually doing 
something illegal, even though many have long suspected he is 
dirty. If the WSF has evidence of this, then it could certainly 
be as damaging to the ISU's public image as the Salt Lake City 
fiasco and will totally destroy what little credibility their 
claims of being serious about cleaning up skating may have left.

The best advice is, watch this space. When this goes to court, 
things could get pretty interesting in Speedy-land.


PortIce -
David House -
Charlie Main -
Puppetboy -
Valerie Smith -
Swan Lake -
Blades of Gold -
Back to Portlandian index
Back to PortIce Home Page

This page hosted by Get your own Free Home Page