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

November 12, 2013 Edition - ANNUAL TONYA BIRTHDAY EDITION
(C) 2013 Portland Ice Skating Society

What can you say? It's Tonya's birthday - she's celebrating 43 
years on the planet today. All's been quiet on the Tonya front 
this year, but a source within the Tonya camp tells us that news-
wise "the dam will open in the not so far future". And with the 
20th anniversary of the Whacking and the Lillehammer Olympics 
just around the corner that's bound to change, with all the 
regulars like Christine Brennan, Inside Edition and the 
Oralgroanian doubtlessly jumping at the chance to cash in yet 
again on Tonya's misfortune. We can hardly wait.


And speaking of Portland's biggest-selling fish-wrapper, since 
it's Tonya's birthday, sure as shooting, regular as clockwork, 
here they come with a predictable poke at our favorite skater, in 
this case a little ditty about a whale that was blown up with 
dynamite the same day that Tonya was born:

The first verse gives a taste of the rest of it:

	Happy Birthday to our ice-skating hick
	A triple axel, you one time did stick
	But then your life got unruly
	Thanks, in part, to Gillooly
	You were born the same day they blew up Moby Dick?

And it goes downhill from there. Geez, and we thought our Tonya 
poetry was bad. Still, blowing up a whale is a great way to 
celebrate the birth of someone who would go on to be the first 
American woman to land a triple Axel. That's one honor a certain 
skater from the Boston area is never likely to have.


We were hoping that today we would be bringing you a review of 
ESPN's long-awaited Tonya documentary, which was supposed to 
screen on November 5th. Announced in July, it's part of ESPN's 
highly acclaimed "30 for 30" series, but it has been postponed - 
latest word is that it will probably now go out sometime in 
January. The reason for this change is not known, though it's 
likely that ESPN wants to align it more closely with either the 
20th anniversary of the Whacking or the Sochi Winter Olympics 
(which start in February) in order to get maximum publicity and 
milk it for all it's worth - a wise move as November always 
seemed a strange choice anyway.

Details of the "30 for 30" schedule can be found at ESPN's 
official page for the series:

So no fireworks this Guy Fawkes Day for Tonyaphiles after all.
We just had to watch "V for Vendetta" instead - particularly
the scene where the comedian guy (played by Stephen Fry) gets 
clubbed with a telescopic baton that looks awfully like the one 
used for another famous clubbing...


To celebrate Tonya's birthday, we've also uploaded another issue 
of "The Skater", the fanzine produced by the original Tonya 
Harding fan club that operated in Portland briefly back in the 

This issue recalls that on November 13th 1993, the day after her 
23rd birthday, Tonya skated in a special exhibition for her fans. 
Unfortunately the circumstances surrounding the exhibition 
weren't anything to celebrate - Tonya had several days earlier 
been forced to withdraw from the Pacific Northwest Skating 
Championships after receiving a death threat. It was part of a 
run of bad luck that seemed to plague Tonya in that period, 
including wardrobe malfunctions, equipment breakages and the 
theft of her pickup truck.

And yet, when Tonya was on, she was really on! This issue also 
reports that Tonya had recently skated two programs for an 
upcoming TV extravaganza called "Champions on Ice" for CBS in 
Charlotte, NC. This may be one of them here:

Often performances by skaters in these things are composites 
fabricated out of several takes, so everybody appears to skate 
flawlessly no matter how big a shambles they made of things. But 
unlike several other big-name skaters at the event, Tonya was 
able to do each of her programs in one take. So much for a skater 
who has been widely depicted as disaster-prone and incapable of 
completing a performance without drama.

Can you help us? We're trying to build up a complete collection 
of issues of "The Skater" to put on line, but we're missing 
several editions and some are sourced from relatively poor-
quality photocopies that have required extensive restoration 
work. If so, you can contact us by e-mail or using the form at 
our site:


Recently a long-standing Tonyaphile from North Carolina traveled 
to Norway along with her husband. Amongst the places they visited 
while they were there were some of the Olympic venues from both 
the 1952 Oslo Winter Games and the 1994 Lillehammer Games. She 
has kindly sent us a picture of her husband standing outside the 
back of the Lillehammer figure skating hall, the site of the 
climactic showdown between Tonya and that other skater:

As you can see, the combination of time, vandals and the harsh 
Nordic winters have not been kind to it, with it now looking 
distinctly tatty after a period of only 20 years, a not uncommon 
problem for Olympic venues that often can't justify expensive 
upkeep after the event they were built for is over.

Unfortunately they were not able to go inside and couldn't see 
much through the windows. However, for a Tonyaphile, this is 
like being at Woodstock - it doesn't matter if you're so far 
away from the stage that Jimi Hendrix looks like an ant, just 
being able to say you were THERE is what counts. We'd like to 
thank her for generously sharing this with us.


What a difference 20 years makes in other ways, too. In 1994, the 
Winter Olympics were being held in Norway, one of the world's 
most socially progressive countries. In 2014, the Olympics will 
be held in Russia, one of the world's least socially progressive 
countries. In 1994, the Soviet empire had just collapsed and 
hopes were high that Russia would eventually become a westernized 
democratic nation. Today, those hopes are dashed as under 
Vladimir Putin it now sinks back towards reverting to an 
oppressive dictatorship, where opponents are harassed and put in 
jail on trumped-up charges by kangaroo courts (think Pussy Riot).

Perhaps nowhere is this better illustrated than in the area of 
gay rights. While other countries (including Norway) legalize 
same-sex marriage, and even the Pope is calling for tolerance for 
gays, in Russia they are increasingly persecuted in the same way 
that Jews were in another European country a few decades earlier.

And what's going to be the centerpiece sport of the 2014 Winter 
Olympics? Why, it's figure skating, an activity which everybody 
knows is the gayest sport in the universe. And it's being held in 
Russia, one of the most homophobic countries in the world. It's 
yet another insult, another slap in the face to the figure 
skating and gay communities by the IOC, an outfit that just six 
years after Beijing is holding the Olympics in another oppressive 
state, yet again demonstrating their total insensitivity and 
backwardness on human rights and freedom.

But perhaps this should be no surprise given the recent results 
of the IOC's leadership election. You might have heard that the 
IOC has appointed Thomas Bach of Germany as its new President to 
replace the outgoing Jacque Rogge. Here's a few facts that you 
might like to know about him that probably aren't in his official 
IOC bio.

This article alleges that Bach, a former Olympic fencer, was a 
cheat, using a wet glove to short out the sensors on his fencing 
jacket so that legitimate hits by his opponent would not 

Our IOC table also shows that he's a stooge of the Dasslers, the 
German shoe magnates who were the leading figures in "pimping 
out" the Olympics. There are also claims in Stasi files that he 
organized supplies of hookers in order to win a sports election, 
so it sounds like he may be a pimp in the literal sense too:

It's an appalling choice - Rogge wasn't fantastic but he was 
still light years ahead of Samaranch. This guy sounds like a 
return to the bad old days of Sammy and shows that as The Who 
once said, "meet the new boss, same as the old boss".

And what are the media doing to expose this? With the exception 
of a handful of people like Andrew Jennings, not much. They'd 
much rather rehash a two-decade old scandal than do investigative 
journalism about the REAL crooks in sport - and they ain't short 
blonde figure skaters from Portland!

Well, as they say in the Loony Tunes cartoons, that's all folks. 
We hope that Tonya has a "whale" of a time (get it? "whale" of 
a,... oh never mind, we thought it was funny anyway) on her 
birthday. And that there are many more of them to come. Before we 
go, here's an interesting factoid: Tonya shares her birthday with 
several other famous people, including rocker Neil Young (1945), 
actress Grace Kelly (1929), gymnast and fellow Olympian Nadia 
Comaneci (1961), sculptor Auguste Rodin (1840), and last but 
certainly not least, serial killer Charles Manson (1934).

But not Herman Melville, the guy who wrote Moby Dick.


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