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  T   H   H  E
  T   H   H  EEEEE

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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

                          LIMITED EDITION COLLECTOR'S ISSUE
(C) 2014 Portland Ice Skating Society

         In 1975, film director Norman Jewison created a 
             dark & terrifying vision of the future:

      a future where the world is controlled by corporations,

              where sport is a tool of big business,

       and people are obsessed with skating & ultraviolence.

                      This was the world of 


               In 1994, Jewison's vision came true:

             the world is controlled by corporations,

                 sport is a tool of big business,

       and people are obsessed with skating & ultraviolence.

                     This was the world of 

                         TONYA & NANCY


that figure skating - and the news media - changed forever.

For Tonyaphiles it is a date seared into history. It needs no 
elaboration. For other, maybe younger, readers who weren't around 
at the time or were too young to remember exactly what was going 
on, here's a brief rundown:

In the early afternoon of the 6th of January, 1994, reigning US 
ladies figure skating champion Nancy Kerrigan had just finished 
practising for the upcoming Nationals competition that would 
determine if she would make the team that was to be sent to the 
Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway, in February. Within 
seconds of her leaving the ice that day at the Cobo Arena in 
Detroit, an event would occur that would change her life forever 
and puncture the public's perception of figure skating as a 
wholesome, genteel, ladylike activity.

From out of the shadows a man moved towards Nancy as she casually 
chatted to a reporter. But this wasn't some fan seeking an 
autograph - with a quick, unexpected movement he struck Nancy on 
the leg with an instrument that was later discovered to be a 
retractable baton of a type commonly used by law enforcement 
officers, sending Nancy sprawling onto the floor in front of 
stunned observers. He then quickly ran off, bolting through a 
Plexiglass panel when he discovered his escape route blocked by a 
locked door, as the bewildered Nancy lay sobbing in front of the 
TV cameras, clutching her knee. 

But within days what was already a major news story had taken a 
serious detour down Weird Street. Little could anybody know that 
in the following weeks the affair would explode into one of the 
biggest and most bizarre sports scandals of all time as details 
of a bumbling, comic-book level plot by four men, one of whom was 
connected to Kerrigan's main rival, Tonya Harding, would unfold, 
and ultimately shatter the career of one of the greatest skaters 
the world has ever seen and that still has repercussions decades 

In this issue, we'll do a full rehash of the affair for those 
unfamiliar with it. We'll look at the case against Tonya, and 
show that it's just as pathetic now twenty years down the track 
as it was at the time. We'll look at its long term impact on 
figure skating and news reporting. And we'll suggest that the 
media are continuing to miss the real point: that it's the dull 
grey men in dull grey suits who administer sport who are often 
the real bad guys rather than people like Tonya. Finally, we'll 
try to answer the question of why this scandal continues to 
fascinate today.


Born in Portland in 1970, Tonya grew up in a working-class 
family, which did not make her a typical figure skater (it's an 
expensive sport). Her mother was an alcoholic who married several 
times and her father had health problems that prevented him from 
holding down a steady job. She started skating at the age of 
three and was such a natural at it that despite her young age she 
was taken on as a pupil by local skating coach Diane Rawlinson, 
herself a former Ice Capades skater. Rawlinson's husband was a 
lawyer (who would later help to defend Tonya when her troubles 
began), and had connections with wealthy people who were so 
impressed with Tonya's ability that they helped to fund her 
training. At one stage George Steinbrenner was one of her 

Her proletarian background and lack of refinement meant there was 
always a prejudice against her from the skating establishment. A 
Newsweek article once described her as the "pool-playing, drag-
racing, trash-talking bad girl of a sport that thrives on 
illusion and politesse." However she had one asset that
the skating establishment couldn't ignore: she was a fantastic 
jumper. At the 1991 US Figure Skating Nationals, which she 
ultimately won, she became one of only two women at that time 
(the other being Japan's Midori Ito) to perform the difficult 
"Triple Axel" jump. Tonya later went to the 1992 Olympics in
Albertville, France, but arrived late and jet-lagged and failed 
to medal, falling during her performance.

In late 1990 Tonya had married Jeffrey Scott Gillooly. Gillooly 
quickly turned out to be a lazy, violent, abusive thug who seemed 
to spend most of his time sponging off Tonya's talent. Eventually 
they divorced, but by late 1993 they had reunited after a 
threatening phone call from someone at the U.S. Figure Skating 
Association implied that Tonya would not get the marks she 
deserved at the upcoming Nationals if she did not project the 
right "happy family" image. Skating is a corrupt sport where the 
judge's marks often depend as much on politics as individual 
talent - recall the 2002 Salt Lake City scandal where it was 
revealed that the outcome was rigged.


In December 1993, Gillooly became concerned that Tonya was 
getting unfairly discriminated against after she got low marks at 
a competition in Japan and that the same thing would occur at the 
Nationals in Detroit in January (which were also used to 
determine the Olympic Team for the Lillehammer Olympics in
February). Gillooly saw an Olympic gold medal, with all the 
endorsements that come with it, as the big payoff for Tonya's 
skating and figured he would be able to cut himself in on the 
action as Tonya's "manager" (he had persuaded Tonya to part ways 
with her previous manager, well-known skating agent Michael
Rosenberg, several weeks earlier). He believed that the USFSA was 
going to fix the outcome of the Nationals so that Tonya's main 
rival, the tall, elegant Nancy Kerrigan would win. In fact, even 
had this occurred it would have made no difference to Tonya being 
placed on the Olympic team as the US was entitled to send two 
women to the Olympics that year and Tonya & Nancy were the only
serious contenders. And people forget that the Olympic Gold medal 
was eventually won by Oksana Baiul of the Ukraine, not Nancy 

Gillooly discused his concerns with his friend Shawn Eckardt, a 
self-styled secret agent/private eye who ran something called the 
"World Bodyguard Service". Eckardt had a CV that would have made 
James Bond green with envy, with its claims of expertise and 
experience in counterterrorism, espionage and protection of 
famous celebrities. Unfortunately the only thing it really had in 
common with James Bond was that it was a work of pure fiction - 
Eckardt had never even finished high school and the "World 
Bodyguard Service" headquarters was run out of a spare room at 
his parents house in the run-down Portland suburb of Lents. 
Indeed, at 300 pounds the only secret agent the portly Eckardt 
really resembled was Fat Bastard, the overweight Scotsman from 
the Austin Powers films.

Together they came up with the plan to disable Kerrigan to take 
her out of the competition. Eckardt contacted two friends of his 
who had recently shifted from Portland to Arizona, Shane Stant & 
his uncle Derrick Smith, to do the job, and a meeting between the 
four occurred at Eckardt's house in Portland shortly after 
Christmas. After initially toying with such ideas as trying to 
run Kerrigan's car off the road or cutting her Achilles tendon, 
the four conspirators settled on a plan to whack her on the knee. 
Eckardt also had the idea that the attacker should drop a note 
reading "all skating whores must die" at the scene in order to 
make it look as if a maniac was stalking female skaters to throw 
investigators off the track and also to cause a panic amongst top 
level skaters that would then hire the services of his 
bodyguarding business. Eckardt sweetened the pot with the promise 
of a $36,000 a week bodyguarding contract for a five man team to 
protect Tonya in the runup to the Lillehammer games. This was, of 
course, pure bollocks, but by now Stant & Smith were convinced 
enough to come on board.

The mission got off to a bad start when Stant, who was going to 
be the "hit man", accidentally took his girlfriend's credit card 
with him instead of his own and had to sit around for several 
days until it was mailed to him. When he finally made it to the 
Tony Kent Arena in Cape Cod, Mass. where Kerrigan trained, he 
discovered that she had already left for Detroit. By this time 
Stant was out of money and had to take a bus ride to get there.

Meanwhile, Gillooly (and, he claims, Tonya), were getting worried 
they'd been ripped off. "Do I have 'stupid' written across my 
forehead?" he replied when Eckardt asked him for more expense 
money. Not another dime would be provided unless there were signs 
of some action happening in Boston. Eckardt tried to excuse the 
delay with a wild story about how his two "agents" had stolen 
Kerrigan's car in order to get her address from the registration 
papers and had waited for her in her house on New Year's Eve, but 
she hadn't come home. Gillooly then told Eckardt that he would 
give Stant and Smith a $10,000 check that the USFSA had provided 
for Tonya's training expenses as a bonus if they got the job 
done. Motivated by this, Smith took the last $750 of Gillooly's 
original expense money and flew to Detroit on the 5th to join 
Stant. Gillooly is most concerned when he hears that the attack 
is now to take place in Detroit, and tries to again get Eckardt 
to call it off, but the hitmen are now determined to complete the 
job so they can get paid. By now Tonya is also in Detroit having 
flown there the previous day (the 4th) to prepare for Nationals.


On the 5th of January, Stant and Smith, who had by that time also 
arrived in Detroit, cased out the Cobo Arena where the skating 
Nationals were to be held. Security was slack. On the 6th of 
January, Stant approached Kerrigan after her practice and whacked 
her on the knee with a collapsible metal baton (not a tire iron 
as is often mistakenly reported) that he had purchased earlier 
from a security shop in Phoenix. Gene Samuels, a video cameraman 
working for an outfit called Intersport (who were making a 
documentary on the event) and who was following Kerrigan as she 
left the ice caught the aftermath of the attack on tape, thereby 
becoming the Abraham Zapruder of figure skating. We've all seen 
the footage of poor Nancy lying clutching her knee screaming 
"why?, why?" (not "why me" - another common misreporting). Stant 
bolted for a nearby door, and finding it now locked, butted 
through a panel with his head to escape to a waiting car driven 
by Smith. No threatening note was ever found.

The mission appeared to had been accomplished: Kerrigan was 
incapacitated, the hitmen had got away cleanly. Witnesses' 
descriptions were poor - they couldn't even agree if the attacker 
was white or black (Stant was half Hawaiian and half Native 
American). Investigators initially focused their attention on the 
Canadian province of Ontario, just across the border, from where 
Nancy had received hate mail in the past. At one point they even 
briefly considered the idea that Nancy had orchestrated the 
entire thing herself. Tonya had gone on to win the National 
skating title (though there's a good chance she would have 
anyway), and been picked for the Olympic team. It probably would 
have all worked, but for one thing: Shawn Eckardt.

Unbeknownst to the other conspirators, Eckardt had secretly 
recorded their late December planning meeting, perhaps to 
blackmail Gillooly if he failed to pay for the job. Eckardt was 
so keen on letting everybody know what a "gangster" he was that 
he insisted on playing this recording to all and sundry and 
within a few days news of his involvement reached the FBI & the 
"Oregonian", Portland's major newspaper. Under pressure from the 
Feds, Eckardt quickly spilled his enormous guts on Stant, Smith & 
Gillooly, the latter initially denying any involvement by himself 
or Tonya.

Tonya also initially denied any involvement, but later admitted 
that she had learnt shortly after she had returned home to 
Portland of her ex-husband's connection to the crime. Tonya was 
later charged with and pled guilty to a charge of "hindering 
prosecution" over her untrue statements to investigators, was 
fined $100,000 plus costs, agreed to make a large donation to the 
Special Olympics charity and sentenced to 500 hours of community 
service & three years probation. In an extremely unusual move the 
plea deal also required that she resign from the USFSA, 
effectively ending her amateur (or "eligible", as it's called in 
skating) career. Despite the fact she was now no longer a member, 
the USFSA held a closed door hearing in Colorado Springs in June 
1994 after which they banned her for life (Tonya was not 
present). Their report has never been publicly released.

Although in theory Tonya was still free to pursue a pro career, 
there is strong anecdotal evidence that she is blacklisted by 
other skaters and that many of them have "no Tonya" clauses in 
their contracts. There is also a fear amongst pro skaters that 
they will be barred from "open" (ProAm) competitions if they 
skate with Tonya, and the USFSA will not allow its amateur 
skaters to appear in any ProAm competition in which she takes 
part. As a result, it wasn't until late 1999, almost six years 
later, that she was allowed to particpate in a pro competition 
run by ESPN. She also cannot appear as a "coach of record" for 
USFSA skaters, so that career avenue is now also closed off for 

Tonya has said she made those untrue statements only because she 
feared for her safety - she'd had restraining orders taken out 
against Gillooly before that weren't worth the paper they were 
written on and doubted promises by authorities of protection 
would be any more effective this time around. In her 2008 book 
"The Tonya Tapes" she claims that shortly after her return to
Portland she was abducted and taken to a remote spot in the woods 
where she was gang-raped by Gillooly and his friends and 
threatened with a gun if she talked. To this day she denies any 
prior knowledge of the crime and no-one has ever produced 
anything to prove otherwise. Most of the evidence against her
comes from Eckardt - a notorious liar whose own lawyer described 
him as having a "credibility problem" - and Gillooly, who only 
started implicating Tonya after she told the truth about him.


By early February pressure was mounting on the US Olympic 
Committee & the USFSA to boot Tonya off the team, based largely 
on the accusations of Eckardt & Gillooly. Faced with no other 
choice in order to retain her chance at realizing her dream of an 
Olympic gold, Tonya mounted a lawsuit against the U.S. Olympic 
Committee, which ultimately caved in and allowed her to compete.
The scene in Norway was a shambles, however. By this stage, the 
story had erupted into one of the biggest media sensations of the 
decade, eclipsed only by the O.J. Simpson affair of a few months 
later. And it was also apparent that Nancy would be competing at 
the Games as well, her assailant's blow having failed to produce 
sufficient injury to force her off the team. This meant a 
Tonya/Nancy showdown was on the cards. As if things couldn't get 
any more bizarre, a British tabloid published scenes of Tonya 
stripping off a wedding dress that had been lifted from a home 
video shot by Gillooly some years before. Several months later 
even more explicit footage was released on video by Penthouse 

Under the enormous pressure of both the media frenzy and the 
already tense preparation for the Games, Tonya's skating 
collapsed. Just before Tonya was to commence her Long Program, 
skating to music from the film "Jurassic Park", a shoelace had 
broken on one of her skating boots and a replacement of suitable 
length could not be found. Early on in the performance the lace 
came undone, forcing Tonya to abandon her first attempt and plead 
for a re-skate. Her concentration gone, Tonya finished eighth, 
pulling her up from the tenth place she had finished in the Short 
Program. Ironically, the pressure had the opposite effect on 
Nancy, who went on to skate one of her best performances, taking 
the silver behind Oksana Baiul of the Ukraine. The Tonya/Nancy 
showdown was to be one of the most widely-watched events in the 
history of television, despite being screened delayed in the U.S.


Gillooly claims that he told Tonya of the entire proposed plot 
after the late December meeting and that she "green lighted" the 
operation. He also claims that she phoned the Tony Kent arena 
asking for Kerrigan's practice details. Phone company records do 
confirm calls made from Tonya's house to Tony Kent, but of course 
there is no way of knowing who made the calls - it could have
been Gillooly. Staff at Tony Kent say that enquiries about Nancy 
were common and would not remember a particular call or if the 
caller was a man or woman.

Eckardt claims that at a practice session on New Year's Eve, 
Tonya skated up to him, berated him for the delay and asked "why 
don't you stop screwing around and get it done"? We have 
information from the editor of Tonya's fan club newsletter who 
says he was also present on the night and that at no time
did Tonya ever go anywhere near Eckardt. Eckardt's claims also 
contradict his earlier testimony to the FBI in which he implied 
Tonya was not involved. Given his penchant for making up wild 
stories he can hardly be regarded as a reliable witness.

In other words, the only people implicating Tonya are people who 
are of low credibility and who have changed their story several 
times. They had vested interests in shifting as much of the blame 
as possible onto Tonya in order to cut a better deal with the 

There are also claims that Tonya asked a clerk at the hotel where 
the skaters were staying for Nancy's room number, supposedly to 
get her to sign a poster of herself, Nancy & Kristi Yamaguchi for 
her fan club. This poster has widely assumed to be non-existent, 
but the former editor of Tonya's fan club magazine confirms that 
it did exist. He says that he was in the skater's area at the 
rink where Tonya trained, along with Tonya, Elaine Stamm 
(president of Tonya's fan club) and others one evening:

   Stamm produced a large-format photographic print, donated to 
   the THFC by the photographer at "The Oregonian" who had taken 
   most of the photos of Tonya up to that point, showing Tonya 
   flanked by Kerrigan and Yamaguchi.  Tonya was admiring the 
   print when Stamm pointed out to her that it would be worth 
   much more money at a fund-raising auction if it was signed by 
   all three skaters.  Tonya signed it right away, then stated 
   she knew how to get in touch with Yamaguchi and was sure she'd 
   sign it too.  But she wasn't sure how to get ahold of 
   Kerrigan.  So she said she'd call around to find out where 
   Kerrigan was practicing and try to get her autograph somehow.  
   Isn't that interesting?  The Tonya-bashers think the photo 
   story is just that:  a story Tonya cooked up to cover her 
   butt.  Yet I heard the whole thing go down; and it was all 
   strictly on the up-and-up. 

The only physical piece of evidence that supposedly implicates 
Tonya is what is known as the "Tunee can" note - a piece of paper 
found in late January 1994 in a garbage bag in a dumpster outside 
a bar in Northwest Portland on the opposite side of town from 
where Tonya lived. This appears to be someone's attempt at noting 
down details of the address and phone number of the Tony Kent 
Arena from a distorted answering machine tape. However it is 
unclear who wrote this note - handwriting experts are divided 
over whether this is Tonya's handwriting or not. Even if it was, 
it is entirely consistent with the poster story. Also, it is 
implied that Tonya drove all the way across town and dumped this 
note in order to destroy evidence - somehow evading the 50 
billion reporters that were camped outside her house at that time 
in the process - rather than simply burning it and flushing the 
ashes down the toilet. Which raises the question: was this an 
attempt by Tonya to destroy evidence - or by someone to plant it 
and discredit Tonya?

Former skating judge Jon Jackson, in his 2006 book "On Edge" says:

	There was never any solid evidence that proved that Tonya 
	had anything to do with her worthless ex-husband's attack 
	on Nancy Kerrigan. Tonya said she didn't know anything 
	about it. No other court of arbitration was involved to 
	prove otherwise. Yet the bungling simpletons of U.S. Figure 
	Skating blamed and convicted her anyway, making her the 
	first person ever banned from the sport for life. They 
	didn't care that there was no proof. All they cared about 
	was that they finally had a way to get rid of the shabby 
	little girl that didn't represent their ideal of figure-

	If Tonya could have stayed focused, she probably would have 
	medaled at the 1994 Olympics. She was technically better. 
	She had the skills to beat - or at least be on the podium 
	with - Nancy Kerrigan. She didn't have the elegance of 
	Nancy, or the propaganda of Oksana, but she was a better 
	athlete, and she had the triple axel.

If the evidence for Tonya being involved in the conspiracy is 
shaky, then there is a much stronger case that Tonya was denied 
her right to due process and a fair hearing by both the sports 
authorities and the general public. Consider the following:

- Many journalists immediately suspected involvement by Tonya in
  the clubbing within minutes of it happening. Christine Brennan 
  and Verne Lundquist have both confirmed this was the case on 
  the Fox "Breaking the Ice" special. Philip Hersh stated on the 
  same special that a senior USFSA official suggested something 
  to that effect to him at a function on the night of the attack. 
  This was long before any evidence of Gillooly's or Eckardt's 
  involvement emerged or was made public.

- There were accusations that Tonya had faked the death threat 
  against herself at the Pacific Northwest Regional championships 
  several weeks earlier. In fact, Tonya's coach of 18 years, 
  Diane Rawlinson, says that Tonya was genuinely terrified after 
  receiving the threat.

- Ron Hoevet, Gillooly's attorney, called for Harding to be 
  banned and booted off the Olympic team in a lengthy speech that 
  seemed to be more of an attack on Tonya than a defense of his 
  client. He also called for "due process". This is a strange 
  idea of due process, where the result is already made up. His 
  statements resulted in 29 complaints to the Oregon State Bar.

- While preparing for Lillehammer, Tonya found herself not only 
  under investigation by the FBI, but also the subject of two 
  disciplinary proceedings by the sports authorities. The USFSA 
  gave her 30 days to respond to the charges. In addition to the 
  USFSA action, The USOC planned to hold its own Hearing in 
  Norway on the 15th of February to discuss removing Tonya from 
  the team. Tonya's coach, Diane Rawlinson said in an affidavit, 
  "To require Ms. Harding to appear at hearings several hours 
  from the site of her training within 10 days" of her first 
  scheduled performance "will make final preparations for the 
  competition impossible." And yet people wonder why Tonya forgot 
  simple things like a spare shoelace?

- Sports Illustrated of January 24, 1994 reported "On Saturday 
  USOC President Dr. LeRoy Walker, cited the overwhelming 
  response against Harding, and then went on 'we have to make a 
  decision without the consideration of whether or not her rights 
  have been abridged'". In an article in the "Washington Post" 
  Dr. Walker indicated the USOC would consider removing Tonya 
  from the team regardless of whether or not she was charged in 
  the alleged plot, saying it was concerned with "potential 
  disruptive elements within the U.S. delegation at the Games".

- When Tonya took the only course open to her to protect her 
  rights, in the form of legal action, she was castigated for 
  "poor sportsmanship". A judge sided with Tonya and ordered the 
  USOC to negotiate.

- Despite a total lack of any evidence, some commentators implied 
  that Tonya had murdered one of her half-brothers whom she 
  claimed had molested her and who was killed in a hit and run 
  accident in 1989. In fact the relative in question was well 
  known as having an alcohol problem, and Portland Police have 
  denied any connection.

- Tonya's privacy was repeatedly invaded by members of the press. 
  Several reporters tried to hack her e-mail account at the 
  Games. ABC rented an apartment in the same building Tonya was 
  staying in order to spy on her. Her most intimate moments with 
  her husband were splashed all over tabloids despite being 
  totally irrelevant to her guilt or innocence.

Although it is unlikely that we will ever know the full truth 
about what went on that week in late December 1993, the evidence 
for Tonya's involvement in the conspiracy is feeble and the 
reasoning supporting it largely illogical. It was feeble & 
illogical then, and in the intervening twenty years nothing new 
has emerged to bolster the case for Tonya's involvement beyond 
what she has admitted to.


The aftermath in the years immediately following the affair was 
an explosion of skating tours and TV shows that only fizzled out 
in the late 90s because the skating community simply couldn't 
churn out new skaters and new programs fast enough to keep up 
with the insatiable demand for more & more skating.

While Tonya's career was "iced", skating itself boomed on the 
coattails of the whole incident. USFSA membership expanded 
rapidly, and numerous made-for-TV ice spectaculars such as "Ice 
Wars" filled the screen. The USFSA had 127,538 members in 1996, 
an almost 42 percent increase from 1990-91. And the largest 
increase was in the 1993-94 season, the year of Tonya/Nancy, when 
the Association's membership rocketed from 109,721 the previous 
year to 125,101. The Ice Skating Institute saw its numbers 
quadruple from 1992 to 1997. Hundreds of new rinks were built, 
many in warm-weather cities - hardly the traditional centers of 
skating popularity.

"It was a terrible, terrible thing to happen," skating coach 
Frank Carroll told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution back in 2003. 
"But it was sensational. It caused humongous headlines and great 

In her 2011 book "Skating On Air" author Kelli Lawrence looked at 
media coverage of figure skating over the years, and devotes an 
entire chapter to the T/N incident. "One thing just about 
everyone I interviewed agrees on - the Tonya Harding/Nancy 
Kerrigan incident was a game-changer. Not just for the sport 
itself, but the public interest in it and TV's reaction to that 

A more long-term and insidious effect was that it also pretty 
much established the tabloid journalism culture that we have 
today with its obsession with celebrity & scandal. The fusion of 
news and entertainment to become "infotainment" - a development 
forecast in the film "Network" almost 20 years before - took a 
major step forward with Skategate. Established journalists recall 
a new paparazzi-type ruthlessness they had never seen before. 
Thomas Boyd, now a photographer for "The Oregonian", but working 
for "The Columbian" at the time, recalls covering Tonya's 
departure from Portland to Norway at the airport:

   "This was the absolute most intense media scrum I've ever been 
   involved with. The shooters, both still and television, from 
   New York and Los Angeles were quite a bit more aggressive than 
   we were accustomed to. We had to up our game just get a 
   glimpse of her. I remember fighting, pushing, elbowing and 
   climbing past other shooters to get close."

One of the most high-profile examples of this new media culture 
was David Hans Schmidt, a bottom-feeder who orchestrated the 
release of nude photos of Tonya, and later went on to build a 
career peddling sex tapes of D-list celebrities. Schmidt was 
later to become unstuck while attempting extort money from Tom 
Cruise over photos of the actor's wedding.

Since the events of '94, Tonya has continued to be harassed and 
given a raw deal by the media often beating up non-stories about 
her. Her critics then use this as evidence that she is a 
publicity seeker desperate for the spotlight. Positive aspects to 
stories, like her work for charity, is always studiously ignored 
because it doesn't fit their "bad girl Tonya" narrative. Here's 
just a handful that you have probably missed:

  April 1993 - raised money for Troutdale Elementary School, 
     Troutdale, OR.
  April 1995 - recorded a charity record for victims of OK bomb 
  Sept 1995 - formed a pop group, "The Golden Blades" for a 
     one-off concert in Portland to raise money for Jerry's Kids.
  Sept 2001 - appeared on "Weakest Link" for 9/11 victims.
  Nov 2003 - participated in "Motor Madness" for an unnamed 
     charity, Charlotte NC.
  March 2004 - $1000 raised in boxing match at Indy Ice, 
     Indianapolis IN. 
  Jan 2006 - raised money for The People's Clinic, Morehead KY.
  Nov 2007 - provided a pair of autographed boxing gloves that 
     were auctioned off to raise money for boxing equipmemnt for 
     kids in Harrison, AR.
  Jan 2009 - various charity activities in Douglas, GA. including        
     talking to at-risk young people. According to promoter Tim 
     Pafford it was one of the conditions she insisted upon for 
     the visit to Douglas.


While continuing in trying to paint Tonya in a negative light, 
the media has also missed the biggest villains in sport. These 
are often not athletes, or even thugs like Gillooly and his 
galoots, but corrupt or incompetent sports administrators who 
take bribes, turn a blind eye to doping, or, in the case of 
figure skating, run their sport into the ground and try to 
sabotage reformers.

In 1992 investigative journalists Andrew Jennings & Vyv Simson 
published a book, "The Lords of the Rings" (issued as "Dishonored 
Games" in the U.S.), exposing corruption & commercialization in 
the International Olympic Committee. It was a companion volume to 
a BBC documentary of the same name. The world yawned & hit the 
snooze button. They didn't want the facts about the dirty 
underbelly of sport ruining their nice, clean Olympic Games.

They were forced to take notice six years later when the Salt 
Lake City bidding scandal erupted, revealing that hookers and 
bribes had been used to secure the Games. The IOC went through a 
token cleanup job, chucking out a bunch of expendable black guys 
from third world countries that nobody would miss. Long serving 
leader Juan Antonio Samaranch, revealed by Simson & Jennings as a 
former stooge of Spanish Fascist dictator General Franco, was 
replaced by Belgian doctor Jacques Rogge who made the right 

A 2004 BBC "Panorama" documentary claimed that 70% of those who 
took bribes over Salt Lake were still in the IOC at that stage, 
suggesting the purges had had only a superficial effect. Our 
table suggests that there is still a way to go in cleaning up the 

Jennings has since published other books on corruption in FIFA, 
the body that controls world soccer. But by and large the work of 
people like him have been confined to the shadows, and ignored by 
the mainstream media who prefer to pick on people like Tonya.

Salt Lake proved a watershed in another way: it exposed what 
skating fans have always suspected - that the outcomes of major 
competitions are often rigged. The scandal, dubbed "Skategate II" 
by the media, occurred when Canadian Pairs skaters Jamie Salé & 
David Pelletier were demoted to silver despite turning in a 
performance that most commentators thought was far better than 
those of the Russian winners. French judge Marie-Reigne LeGougne 
later confessed to having done deals with the Russians to knife 
the Canucks in the back in Pairs in return for a favorable deal 
for French skaters from the Russian judges in the Dance. Three 
years later a suspected Russian participant in the rigging, 
Chevalier Nusuyev, was "whacked" in what was believed to be a hit 
by the Russian Mob.

Under enormous pressure from the IOC, International Skating Union 
head Ottavio "Speedy" Cinquanta responded by belatedly awarding 
two sets of gold medals, turning the competition into a farce, 
and by later redesigning the scoring system in a way that the 
average fan can't understand anymore and that makes corruption 
easier to hide. This did more to alienate fans and caused TV 
ratings to plunge even further.

As it turned out, this was not the first time corruption had been 
mooted in skating: Canadian judge Jean Senft had complained of 
vote rigging in the 1998 Nagano Olympics but was told by Skate 
Canada head David Dore to zip her lip & stop rocking the boat. 
When she went to the media, she was suspended because of 
"national bias" and given no support from Skate Canada. Yuri 
Balkov, a Ukranian judge Senft fingered as one of the ringleaders 
was given a token suspension and was back to judge the 2002 
Olympic Dance competition! A Russian & Ukranian judge were also 
caught on camera exchanging signals at the 1999 Worlds and were 
given slap-on-the-wrist suspensions.

A possible solution to this nightmare emerged in early 2003 with 
the formation of the World Skating Federation as a figure-skating 
only alternative to Speedy's ISU. Backed by many big names in the 
skating world, the WSF would have ensured that figure skating 
would finally be in control of its own destiny, retaining the 6.0 
scoring system and adopting a zero-tolerance attitude to 
corruption. The response from skating federations such as the 
USFSA and Skate Canada was to do everything they could to 
undermine and destroy this new organization, depite the fact that 
the WSF was an alternative to the ISU, not the national 
federations themselves. The USFSA engaged in a witch hunt against 
WSF supporters such as Ted Clarke, Ron Pfenning & Jon Jackson, 
wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars (that could have been 
better spent on skaters) on spurious legal actions against them 
that were later overturned by higher authorities. Unfortunately, 
despite being exonerated, it came too late for the WSF which 
folded a couple of years later without producing a single skating 
contest, probably due to the ISU & USFSA pulling strings behind 
the scenes to kneecap them:

The Inquisitor In Chief behind these actions was USFSA official 
Morry Stillwell, a well known Tonyaphobe who circulated an e-mail 
in 1993 alleging without any evidence that Tonya had faked a 
death threat against herself to avoid competing in the 1993 
regionals in Portland.

The result of all this nonsense is that skating viewership has 
plummetted and skating is now rarely seen on TV outside of the 
Olympics anymore, except on oddball cable channels or 
subscription-only on-line services. It's a dramatic turnaround 
from the heady days of the late 90's when competitions like "Ice 
Wars" and "Too Hot To Skate" filled the primetime airwaves.

This destruction of a sport that was once top of the ratings has 
received little coverage outside of a few books by skating 
insiders published by niche-market publishing companies. Like the 
work of Andrew Jennings, it's been ignored by the major media in 
favor of cheap tabloid sensationalism.


While other scandals from that era - Amy Fisher, Monica Lewinsky, 
O.J. Simpson, that woman who tried to hire a hit man to "whack" a 
cheerleader's mother - have largely faded into the furthest 
recesses of the public memory, 20 years on, the Tonya/Nancy 
scandal continues to fascinate the world. Even in recent years 
there's been an opera, a rock opera, musicals, a weird play from 
France (a country that doesn't seem to have any obvious 
connection to the scandal at all), a couple of upcoming 
documentaries on major TV networks and continued mentions in pop 
culture. U.S. Presidential candidates make references to it in 
speeches. Journalism students write dissertations on its impact 
on the media, feminist studies students on the class & gender 
role issues involved. And you can guarantee that "Tonya's" and 
"Nancy's" are regulars at Halloween parties across the USA come 
each October 31st.

In order to understand why Tonya/Nancy survives today it is 
necessary to understand just how enormous a phenomenon this thing 
was at the time. Let's make no mistake: this thing was big. It 
was as big as "Star Wars", at least during its brief two month 
lifespan. People who didn't know a triple axel from a truck axel 
were suddenly obsessed with women's figure skating. Big burly men 
would end up in fights in pubs in disagreements over which side 
they took. Hundreds of reporters would be camped outside the 
houses of Tonya, Nancy, the skating rinks where they trained and 
eventually in Lillehammer in an attempt to catch even the vaguest 
hint of a "scoop". Anybody who had even the slightest connection 
to anyone involved was tracked down and interviewed in a 
desperate attempt to come up with some kind of new "angle" on the 
story. And if they couldn't do that, they'd start covering the 
coverage itself in an orgy of self-righteous and hypocritical 
tut-tutting about how much time was being wasted reporting on a 
"soap opera" instead of "real" news.

Like Nancy, we must also ask "Why?". What gives it such staying 
power? Because it's got sex, violence, glamor, revenge, greed, 
mystery, comedy & tragedy. Not to mention that "so strange it's 
got to be true" factor that sends the Weirdometer right up to 
"11". It's perfect, timeless, dramatic fodder. Shakespeare would 
have killed for raw material like this. Because of these 
qualities it's the "omniscandal", the "mother of all scandals", 
the "one scandal to rule them all", the gold standard of 
scandals, the perfect 6.0 of scandals. And for that reason it is 
our prediction that people will still be discussing it when the 
100th anniversary in 2094 rolls around.

Perhaps, however, we should leave the last word to Sarah 
Marshall, an MFA student who teaches at Portland State University 
and who has recently written one of the best pieces of pro-Tonya 
writing we have come across in recent years. In this article for 
"Believer" magazine, Marshall sytematically deconstructs many of 
the myths that have built up around the affair:



Tonya Harding - now married, Tonya lives in a rural area of 
central Oregon. She is currently focusing on raising her child 
who turns three in February. In recent interviews she revealed 
that she is yet to take him skating.

Nancy Kerrigan - married her agent, Jerry Solomon, shortly after 
the incident, and they are still together today raising a family. 
Was in the news in 2010 again after her father died following an 
altercation with her brother Mark.

Oksana Baiul - enjoyed a successful skating career. Was arrested 
for drunk driving in 1997.


"Stone Cold" Jeff Gillooly - now using the name "Jeff Stone", 
Gillooly was recently interviewed by a reporter for "Deadspin". 
He is married, with two kids, and lives in Clackamas, OR. only a 
few kilometers from the mall where Tonya trained. He now sells 
used cars for a living.

Shawn "Fat Man" Eckardt - was tracked down by a Willamette Week 
reporter in 2004, living in a run-down area of Portland under 
name "Brian Sean Griffith", running an IT company. Deceased Dec 

Derrick "The Driver" Smith - now lives in Montana.

Shane "Hit Man" Stant - ironically, the man who actually wielded 
the club seems to be one of the few people who comes out of the 
affair with anything positive. In a new Bleacher Report article 
he reveals that in recent years he has found religion and turned 
his life around. At one stage he made an unsuccessful attempt to 
join the Navy SEALS.


Michael Rosenberg - living in a retirement community in 
California after enjoying a successful career as a talent agent 
for skaters.

Elaine Stamm - lives in a retirement village in Arizona.

Diane Rawlinson & Dody Teachman (Tonya's coaches)- both are still 
involved with figure skating.

Al Harding - Tonya's father died in April 2009.


Norm Frink (the D.A.), Ron Hoevet (Gillooly's attorney), Bob 
Weaver (one of Tonya's lawyers), and various other lawyers 
involved in the case held a reunion in the Dockside Saloon 
recently in which they relived old times.


David Hans Schmidt - committed suicide in Phoenix AZ. in 2007 
after unsuccessfully trying to blackmail Tom Cruise over some 
illegally obtained photos.

Morry Stillwell - USFSA President 1995-98. Now lives in 

Kathy Peterson - still owns the Dockside Saloon in Portland where 
the "Tunee Can" note was found in a dumpster. They mention it on 
their web site (


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