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

September 23, 2008 Edition 
(C) 2008 Portland Ice Skating Society

Welcome to another issue. This time we find that Tonya is in the 
record books again and gets a liitle bit country. We take an in-
depth look at Tonya's media blitz to promote her new book and 
check out a band that have written a song about Tonya. And it 
seems that the real "Tonya Harding candidate" in the U.S. 
election has finally emerged.


Tonya was at the Bonneville Salt Flats last month, for Speed 
Week. For those of you who might not be familiar with this, the 
salt flats are a large salt-covered area in Utah that has 
frequently been used over several decades by those wishing to set 
land speed records in modified or custom-built cars. Every year, 
usually around August, depending on the condition of the salt, a 
group of hot-rod enthusiasts called the Southern California 
Timing Association hold an event at which they conduct these 
record attempts. The event draws participants from all around the 
world - even as far away as New Zealand, as was recently shown in 
the 2005 film "The World's Fastest Indian".

She wasn't there as a spectator, however, but as a driver, 
competing in the Vintage Gas Coup Class. A friend of hers has a 
souped-up 1930's coupe that was competing there, and also 
allowed Tonya to borrow the car to make her own record attempt.

On Monday, Tonya did a qualifying run of 79.1 mph. On Tuesday, 
she did a second run, at 83.618 mph, establishing a record of 
81.37 mph, from the two runs. She is the first person to drive a 
1931 vintage gas coup on the Salt Flats, to establish a land 
speed record. Also, this is the first time that a vintage gas 
coupe has competed at a SCTA-BNI sanctioned event.

The car, named Licket-Split, is owned by Yacolt WA resident Pete 
Richardson. It's a 1931 stock body Model A coupe, powered by a 
1932 4-cylinder flathead, with few modifications.

Once again, Tonya Harding is in the record books for being the 
first to accomplish something no one else has done.


Nashville's Tennessean newspaper reports that Tonya was in that 
city at the end of July, recording a country song at Gene Breeden 
Studios. Linda Lewis tells us that the song, written by Linda and 
her husband Greg, is entitled "When We Shared Each Others Lives", 
and was actually previously recorded by Tonya several years ago. 
No word on a possible release date at this stage.


Tonya's long-awaited official biography, "The Tonya Tapes", is 
now available for order. Author Lynda Prouse has written several 
other skating books, and the cover was designed by an Aussie 
outfit, Further details can be found 
at the publisher's official web site for the book at:

Mostly written around the 1999-2001 period, with an update in 
2007, it follows a question and answer format, and is divided 
into chapters such as "Boyfriends, Husbands, & Horror," "1994 
Nationals - The Whack Heard Round the World," and "Making 
Television History - Skating at the Olympics." It also features 
many photos, alot of which have never been seen before. A major 
theme that has come through in interviews Tonya has done about 
the book is her desire to get those who are victims of abuse to 
speak up.

Unquestionably the most eagerly anticipated aspect of this book 
has been that Tonya is finally able to fully tell her side of the 
events surrounding the Kerrigan incident, in particular a 
detailed account of what occurred in the days afterward. And it 
doesn't make for pleasant reading: Tonya reveals that shortly 
after her return to Portland, she first learned of the plot after 
she overheard her ex-husband, Jeff Gillooly, talking with one of 
the conspirators. Gillooly and two of his friends later took her 
out into a remote spot, raped her, put a gun to her head and 
threatened to kill her if she revealed what she knew.

One reviewer had the following reaction:

   I vote yes primarily because of the way the book is presented. 
   Much of what I remember about Harding is when she would read 
   prepared statements in court, to the media, to the public, and 
   they were always short, stilted and awkward. .... There is 
   something appealing about reading Harding's words unfiltered 
   and hearing her story strictly in her own voice. Whatever your 
   opinion is of Harding, she is undeniably one of the most 
   recognized names of our time and if I have the opportunity to 
   understand her a little better by reading her words, I'll take 

   "Her overall message in the book seems to be that she has been 
   grossly misunderstood, a victim for most of her life, and it 
   is time to start anew and regain her life. She is also of the 
   belief that if she can help one person who's also a victim of 
   abuse to come forward and seek help, which is something she 
   never did, then she is satisfied with her life."


You can order it via the publisher's own on-line store, though 
they don't appear to have international shipping. Recommended 
price is $US18:99, plus postage:

Other outlets include: ($17:09)

Both are offering it for $17.09, the cheapest we've seen so far. 
For those in Europe, copies can also be ordered via Amazon's 
outlets in the UK, France and Germany. Cost is around 10 UK 
Pounds or 14 Euros, plus shipping. These copies are printed in 
the UK for expedited delivery.

In Canada, you can get it from, it's around $CAN20:

In Australia, Booktopia has it for $AU39:50 - not sure if this 
includes shipping:

In South Africa, you can get it from Price is 265 
Rand: also has other outlets and a handy price 
comparison engine:


In the wake of the book's release, Tonya has embarked on an 
extensive promotional campaign over the past few months, giving 
numerous interviews in all media, from radio, print, TV, and the 
web. We've attempted to build a comprehensive list of all of 
these that are available on-line:


One of Tonya's first appearnces was an interview on NBC's "Today" 
show. In it she reveals some rather horrifying details about what 
happened in the days after she returned home from the 1994 

This was followed by a short interview on MSNBC with Tamron Hall:

This, frankly, was pretty disappointing - it only goes for a few 
seconds and Tonya is asked the same question (about the 
comparison between her and Hillary Clinton) as she was asked on 
the Today interview. I think her answer - that the candidates 
should concentrate on the important issues rather than smearing 
her name - is far more intelligent than the interview itself, 
which seems to be a complete waste of time. It's certainly a far 
more intelligent answer than that of most other celebrities, many 
of whom waste no opportunity to ram their uninvited political 
views down the public's throat at every opportunity.


Here's another video interview, this time with the Associated 
Press. Looks like it was done the same day as the Today 
interview. Sound is pretty poor, unfortunately:


This article from Tonya's hometown paper gives details of a photo 
shoot that Tonya did for "People" magazine:

I can't say I blame her for brushing off The Columbian, given 
that they were the outfit that published the non-story about the 
gunshots a few months ago. Guess they'll have to go back to 
writing about the really big news in Clark County that they 
normally cover, like "dog wees on fire hydrant", or suchlike. The 
"People" article itself is available at:,,20204048,00.html

Interestingly, it seems to suggest that she's finally gone cold 
on boxing:

   These days, life includes occasional visits to the closest 
   rink ("Within half an hour, I'm doing double jumps!" she 
   says), spending time with her new boyfriend and black Lab 
   puppy and coping with the local wildlife. (Frightened after a 
   raccoon "hissed at me," she shot him and "kept a souvenir.") 
   Money is tight, but she hopes gigs like doing commentary on 
   truTV's The Smoking Gun Presents: World's Dumbest will keep 
   her from having to box again: "It's not me."


Tonya also appeared on something called "Extra Tonight", which
appears to be some kind of "Entertainment Tonight"-type show. It 
is available on-line at:


Tonya was interviewed by Bob Miller on KPAM again (Tonya was on 
this show a few months ago being interviewed about the rock


Tonya appeared on "Fox and Friends" on the Fox News channel. The 
video is available at the Fox News site and also on YouTube:


Tonya was also talking on TruTV about the book as well:


Tonya's interviews have not been confined to the U.S. She was on 
Network Seven Australia's "Sunrise" show:

The interview is now also on-line (Tonya gives a big thank you to 
the Aussie guy who designed her book cover):


Tonya also featured on Dan Patrick's show, and was also on two 
Canadian radio stations, CJAD of Montreal and CFRB Toronto. Matt, 
the Australian guy who did the cover design and layout for 
Tonya's book, has uploaded a couple of these radio interviews to 
YouTube, the first from CFRB Toronto on May 30th and the second 
from Dan Patrick's show on the 21st. He has also assembled a 
montage of photos from the book to go with each one, many of 
which have never been published on-line before as far as I can 

Tonya Harding & Lynda Prouse int. Jim Richards CFRB Toronto Radio 

Part 1 of 2 

Part 2 of 2 
Because of YouTube's limit on 10 min movies, the Dan Patrick 
interview is divided into 2 parts:

Part 1 

Part 2

It can also be found on his site:


Here's one Tonya and Lynda Prouse did with CTV Canada back on May 


An appearance on the CBS "Early Show" is particularly interesting 
in that it shows Tonya skating - this must be the first footage 
we've seen of her on the ice for at least a couple of years. 
Looks like she's back coaching too:

Of even more interest is a brief clip of Tonya skating at age 6: 
this would have to have been shot around 1977! Almost surely the 
oldest motion picture film or video footage of Tonya in 
existence! The circumstances of how it was shot is unknown.


Tonya also appeared on ABC's 20/20 recently, talking about life 
since the Olympics. Unfortunately, it does not appear to be on-
line, apart from a preview clip, which does not feature Tonya:


There's also been a few articles. This first one, by Barry Wilner 
of the Associated Press, has been widely reprinted:

This article has an excerpt from the book:

This is also available as an image file at:

Also a big article in Newsweek. Gillooly has finally crawled out 
from under his rock to respond, and is talking about suing 
publisher World Audience:


Here's an item about a visit by Tonya to Kentucky back in late 
July that was shot by a local TV station:

She seems to be looking better than ever, and appears to have 
lost more weight. She kicked the reporter's ass at pool, too.


Tonya's also back on TV in more episodes of TruTV's "World's 
Dumbest" series. Some of the clips that Tonya did for this have 
now surfaced on YouTube:

World's Dumbest Criminals 5:

World's Dumbest Partiers:

In this one, a burglar breaks into a pizza restaurant and steals 
the tip jar (ignoring the cash register next to it), then bashes 
his head into the door getting out, forgetting he'd actually 
entered through the other side:

Tip Trip

Which raises the question: is this guy related to Shane Stant?


This also brings us to our Tonya trivia question. In our last 
issue, we asked what the connection was between Tonya and her 
four fellow panelists on TruTV's "World's Dumbest" series 
(apart from the obvious one of all having had run-ins with the 

Danny Bonaduce featured on Fox's Celebrity Boxing with her in 
2002. Amy Fisher was supposed to box Tonya on that show, but was 
replaced by Paula Jones at the last minute, and Leif Garrett 
appeared on "The Weakest Link" with her in 2001. Todd Bridges 
actually has two connections - he appeared with Tonya on BOTH 
"Celebrity Boxing" AND the same "Weakest Link" episode.


The Coathangers are a four-girl band from Atlanta, Georgia, who 
have written a song about Tonya. The song comes from their self-
titled debut album, which includes other tracks with names like 
"Nestle In My Boobies" and "Don't Touch My S..t!". Although 
described by themselves as "punk", their style is more 
reminiscent of late 70's/early 80's New Wave acts from the same 
area of the country, such as the B52's. There's a music video 
(which, oddly enough, doesn't feature any images of Tonya):

and also a live performance, recorded at the the Entertainment 
Research lab at Georgia State University (in stereo):

A higher quality version of this can be downloaded from here, but 
it's big (93 megs) so don't bother trying if you haven't got a 
broadband connection:

Alas, it seems that the lyrics aren't very pro-Tonya:

Which is a shame, as it's a really cool sounding song. But who 
listens to the lyrics of pop music anyway?


It seems that the media and the candidates just can't keep 
themselves from dragging Tonya into the U.S. Presidential 

In the past few months we've heard candidates use Tonya's name 
numerous times when describing their opponents. We've heard the 
media speculate that Hillary Clinton is going to use "the Tonya 
Harding option" (sic - really the Jeff Gillooly option) to deal 
with Obama. The arrival of Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin on the 
scene as Republican candidate John McCain's running mate has, 
however, resulted in a new and lurid low in the campaign rhetoric 
that invites comparison with Tonya in other, more disturbing 

Palin's nomination has caused an eruption of vitriolic bile 
reminiscent of the reaction caused by Mentos dropped into a 
bottle of Coke. We're not just talking about the normal scrutiny 
that someone seeking such a top job should reasonably expect, but 
vile, emotive, personal attacks. Her critics have done pretty 
much everything except burn her at the stake - and we suspect the 
only reason they haven't done that is because they're probably 
worried about the carbon emissions. Indeed, conservatives have 
now coined a term for it: PDS, or Palin Derangement Syndrome, 
which seems to be an irrational fear and loathing for anything to 
do with Ms. Palin. A closer examination, however, shows that PDS 
bears more than a passing resemblance to an equivalent condition 
that exists in the figure skating world known to us as 
"Tonyaphobia" - an irrational fear and loathing for all things 
Tonya. Since her nomination, Ms. Palin has, like Tonya:

- been attacked for her social class backgroound;
- been subjected to sexist comments because  she doesn't fit into 
  a supposedly desirable existing female stereotype;
- had her e-mail account hacked, and the conntents published by 
  paparazzi sites;
- been the victim of a biased, inaccurate smmear campaign by the

For a start, Palin has been attacked because she is, like Tonya, 
a self-confessed "redneck" from a small rural town, as if this 
alone makes her unsuitable for high office.

That Palin is a redneck seems to be beyond doubt: her love of 
traditional redneck activities such as hunting and fishing are 
well documented and she herself seems to have no objection to the 
term. Much is made of the fact that she knows how to "field 
strip" a moose. Some years ago she formed a business called 
"Rouge Cou", literally "red neck", and refers to herself proudly 
as "valley trash", a reference to the Mat-Su valley area of 
Alaska that she hails from, which is apparently Anchorage's 
answer to Portland's Clackamas County. Nor is this confined to 
Palin herself. Her future son-in-law described himself on a now 
deleted blog as a " redneck", and her husband, who refers 
to himself as the "First Dude", races snowmobiles.

However, it seems that Palin is being subjected to the same kind 
of classist bigotry that Tonya had to put up with in the elitist 
world of figure skating. Already the Washington snobs are 
sneering down their noses at the Palins as a Northern version of 
the Clampetts from the "Beverly Hillbillies". She's been labeled 
"trailer trash" because she wears hoop earrings (despite the fact 
that upmarket stores like Nieman Marcus sell hoop earrings for 
$12,000). Film critic Richard Roeper referred to her as 
resembling "Ted Nugent with a uterus" - clearly this guy needs a 
new pair of glasses (preferably the trendy frameless type that 
Palin wears). On September 5th, Heather Mallick, a web site 
columnist for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, described 
Palin's supporters as "white trash," compared the vice 
presidential candidate to a "porn actress" and called her 
daughter's boyfriend a "redneck" and "ratboy." The column has 
provoked a host of complaints from both sides of the border:

Meanwhile, a few quick Google searches turn up the 
following results:

"Sarah Palin" and "redneck" - approx 76500 hits
"Sarah Palin" and "white trash" - 23900 hits
"Sarah Palin" and "trailer trash" - 18600 hits
"Sarah Palin" and "valley trash" - 213 hits

Some are even comparing Palin to Tonya herself. And what's most 
puzzling is that they actually seem to think that that's a BAD 
THING!: (ever notice how so many of these Tonyaphobic bozos can't spell her name properly?)

Barry Crimmins, in a comment that seems to have been widely 
repeated elsewhere, describes her as "Tonya Harding with a 

Then there's this clown at: who says:

   And Sarah! Sarah! Sarah is the Prole to end all Proles. She is 
   practically an Arch-Prole. Look at that hair, girl! Does it 
   say bridge in the front and tunnel in the back, or is it the 
   other way around? I also love the fact that the only scandal 
   they can dig up on her is one involving the fact that her ex-
   brother-in-law threatened to "put a bullet in" her father. If 
   Governor Palin turns out to be in some way related to Tonya 
   Harding, I shan't be in the least surprised. Dear!

Does this tosser sound like a complete poseur or what? We're 
never impressed by people who seem to think that the trendiness 
of someone's hairstyle is somehow an important measure of their 
worth. It generally says much more about the person making the 
jibe than the target, and it isn't anything very flattering. 
Notice also how many of these knuckleheads have Obama banners on 
their sites. Do they really think they're doing their candidate a 
favor with this stuff?

She's also been the victim of blatant sexism unheard of in public 
these days outside of an episode of "Mad Men", oddly enough, 
often coming from women. "Her greatest hypocrisy is in her 
pretense that she is a woman" says Wendy Doniger, a Professor at 
the University of Chicago's Divinity School. Gee, Wendy, who gave 
you the right to decide what a "woman" is or isn't? South 
Carolina Democratic chairwoman Carol Fowler also attacked Palin, 
saying McCain had chosen a running mate "whose primary 
qualification seems to be that she hasn't had an abortion." So-
called "comedian" Sandra Bernhardt let loose with a tirade 
implying that Palin would raped by black men if she visited 
Harlem - it seems that racist stereotypes and jokes about rape 
that would never be deemed acceptable from a white man are just 
hunky-dory if you're an "avant gard perfomance artist". Much of 
this seems to be because as a wife, mother and former beauty 
contestant she doesn't fit in with the politically correct idea 
of what a successful woman should be, just like Tonya was 
pilloried because she didn't fit the traditional "ice-princess" 
mold of female figure skaters as defined by the USFSA.

Earlier this week Palin's Yahoo! e-mail account was hacked, and 
the information was then forwarded to well-know sleazerazzi site 
Gawker, which published this illegally obtained material. It's 
pretty much a repeat of what happened to Tonya at the Lillehammer 
games, when several "journalists", some from supposedly 
respectable well-known news outlets, broke into Tonya's account 
on the Olympic computer system. The Lillehammer hackers got away 
scot free, rather than being fired or prosecuted, however the 
Palin hacker may not be so lucky: unlike Tonya, Palin has the 
Secret Service to find the culprits, and since he's obviously an 
honors graduate of the Shawn Eckardt school of spycraft (rule #1: 
always brag about your exploits to as many people as possible) 
he's left a nice messy trail of cyber-evidence that has already 
led the Men In Black directly to his door pretty quickly.

In addition, Palin has also been subjected to outright lies and 
absurdities, such as the preposterous claim that her Down-
syndrome baby Trig is actually her daughter's. Others have 
circulated anonymous, unverified slurs claiming she's a racist 
who refered to Obama as "Sambo" and who makes snide comments 
about Eskimos (ignoring, of course, the fact that her husband is 
part Eskimo). A fake list of books that she allegedly tried to 
have banned from the local library (some of which - like the 
Harry Potter series - weren't even published at the time) has 
been circulated. In a recent article in Newsweek, 

   "We've been flooded for the past few days with queries about  
   dubious Internet postings and mass e-mail messages making 
   claims about McCain's running mate, Gov. Palin. We find that 
   many are completely false, or misleading."

Her recent interview with Charles Gibson was heavily edited to 
make her look stupid and glib. The full transcript can be found 

Thoughtful, considered answers were left on the floor - obviously 
thought to be too mentally taxing for the ten-second attention 
spans of today's audiences by the show's producers. She was 
ambushed with a question about something called the "Bush 
Doctrine", a vaguely-defined term that is not in current 
widespread use and that even President Bush himself doesn't use.

Where the heck is Howard Beale
( when you need him to 
add some integrity back into TV journalism?

Headlines quoted executive Carly Fiorina as saying that Palin was 
unqualified to run a major corporation, which, although a correct 
quote, ignored that fact that she'd actually said that NONE of 
the other major candidates were qualified either.
It's old stuff for Tonyaphiles, who are used to the biased "get-
Tonya-at-all-costs" mentality of the mainstream media. Even the 
media are getting concerned about the extent of the personal 

The PDXISS would never be arrogant enough to tell people in a 
foreign country who to vote for in their elections. But we do 
have this advice: do your own research, and make up your own 
mind. Don't let some Hollyweirdo celebrity tell you who to vote 
for, and don't believe every silly rumor that you hear on-line 
when making up your mind about Sarah Palin, because, as with 
Tonya, you're not getting the real deal about her from the 
mainstream media. It is clear that Palin is being "Tonya-ized" by 
the media. Two sites that you should definitely check out apart 
from the abovementioned are:

There are many questions that surround Ms. Palin's suitability to 
be Vice President, such as her lack of foreign policy experience 
(and no, the fact that you live in a state that's next door to 
Russia doesn't count), her flip-flopping on the matter of the so-
called "bridge to nowhere", and her policies on environmental 
issues to name a few. These are genuine issues for the press and 
her opponents to explore. However, she deserves to be judged on 
her policies and experience (or lack thereof), not on the basis 
of lies, innuendo, her humble origins, or what type of earrings 
she wears. In the sense that this is what's happening, then Sarah 
Palin really is the "Tonya Harding candidate" in this election.

All this makes us wonder whether perhaps Tonya should move to 
Alaska. She certainly wouldn't be the first person with a 
troubled past to move up there to make a fresh start. It sounds 
very much like Oregon, only more so. Sarah could teach Tonya how 
to disembowel a moose carcass, and Tonya could teach her how to 
fix a whiny differential in a pickup truck in return. Of course, 
if that happened, we'd have to rename ourselves as "The 
Anchoragian" or "The Fairbanksian", or perhaps even "The 


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