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

August 11, 2015 Edition
(C) 2015 Portland Ice Skating Society

Welcome to a new edition of "The Portlandian". There's been two 
big Tonya stories over the past few months, both from New York: 
the opening of Matt & Viviana's Tonya/Nancy museum and the first 
full performance in that city of the Tonya rock opera. We've also 
unearthed some interesting pictures of Portland's past with a 
Tonya connection.


The gala opening for Matt & Viviana's Tonya & Nancy museum which 
we mentioned last issue was held on Saturday 18 April at the 
Standard Toykraft Theater and you'll be pleased to know it was a 
spectacular success. They've posted several photos of the event 
on their Twitter & Facebook feeds, and also released their 
official museum opening video:

Amongst those present at the party as guests of honor were Sandra 
Luckow, who made "Sharp Edges", the very first documentary about 
Tonya back in 1986, and Tonya impersonator Lynn Harris. Other 
highlights included a slide show and live trampoline 
performances, a 90's themed DJ playlist, plus guests were given 
swag bags with Nancy trading cards, iconic Tonya photos, cupcakes 
and "Team Tonya" and "Team Nancy" buttons. There's also been alot 
of media coverage of the event, including a Rolling Stone article 
which gives the most in-depth description of the opening gala so 
far. Unfortunately the writer seems to be irked that the curators 
insist on taking the museum idea itself seriously and won't say 
it's all a big joke at the skaters' expense, and spends most of 
the article hunting for evidence that this is the case:

Since then it's been almost non-stop tours of the museum itself. 
Amongst the visitors so far have been skating journalist Lois 
Elfman, the casts of the Tonya rock opera and a Tonya musical, 
Nanette Burstein (director of the ESPN documentary "The Price of 
Gold", which was what started all this) a lost dog they named 
Lillehammer (who, you'll be pleased to know, was eventually 
reunited with his rightful owner) and even some people actually 
from Lillehammer itself. But so far, no sign of Christine 
Brennan, despite us sending her an invitation. Here's just a 
sample of the coverage the museum has received:

IceNetwork took a tour:

United Airlines had a feature in its in-flight magazine:

It also features in an article about museums in private homes, 
written by the daughter of one of our subscribers, in Conde Nast 
Traveler magazine:

It was one of several projects this writer backed on Kickstarter, 
and as far as he is concerned, it delivered:

"It has all the makings of a Portlandia sketch":

A video made by a student filmmaker:

Matt & Viviana have also done numerous interviews and podcasts to 
promote their project:


- Susie Meister - The Meisterpiece:

- Newswhore:

- Overtired: (Tonya stuff from 
  approx 20 to 40 mins, and 1:06 onwards.)

- The Gist from Slate (first 9 minutes only)


- The Sharon Spell Show. To save having to download a whole pile 
of iTunes bloatware to listen to this, here's the link to the mp3 

It's even got international coverage as far away as Canada and 

- CBC's "As It Happens":

- ABC Australia:

More exhibits have also been trickling in, including the first 
batch of official Nancy stuff and some pastries that supposedly 
represented the two skaters, which got eaten in any case. The 
Dockside Saloon in Portland, where the so-called "Tunee Can" 
note was found, is contributing one of its menus. And Laura 
Collins has sent in a painting based on Tonya's mug shot of the 

It's also inspired one person to write a poem about the museum 
(and she hasn't even visited yet):

We are also pleased to advise that the Special Duties Section's 
East Coast Operative from North Carolina visited the museum with 
her husband shortly before it officially opened and gave us the 
following report. Unfortunately Viviana (who describes herself as 
a "Tonya") was not present but she did get to meet Matt, who 
despite being a self-confessed "Nancy" was more than happy to 
show her around and hear about her experiences as a Tonyaphile. 
She says:

   I really loved the two tiny videos that they had on their 
   wall, one was the shoelace bit and the other was the Minn. 
   program. I tried to show Matt where a guy in a white sweater 
   jumps up and down when Tonya lands the axel but it didn't show 
   up in their ABC TV clip. I pointed out in the stands where I 
   had seen the guy on a slo-mo tape from another angle. I also 
   talked about meeting Dodie Teachman and visiting the rinks in 
   Portland but not seeing Tonya. I also explained about the 
   check (with Tonya's signature on it) I have and have no idea 
   where it is but if I ever find it, I will send it to them. 
   They do have her signature on a white sheet of paper on the 
   wall, sent in by someone. They also loved the needlepoints and 
   have no idea who made it. Some things were sent in from fans 
   that had bought stuff off eBay too. 

She also explained her long-standing connection to us going back 
to the mid 90s, and how she got interested in Tonya.

   Matt asked me how I got so interested in Tonya. etc. I 
   explained I had loved ice skating and never got to skate 
   growing up in NC. I also explained how my Dad liked it too on 
   ABC's Wide World of Sports and followed it since I was a small 
   child. I barely remember Peggy winning in Grenoble and also 
   followed speed skating and meeting Eric Heiden and Dan Jansen 
   and I had roller skated also and was a tomboy growing up so 
   was outside a lot. I also told him of growing up in a hearing 
   school and being hard of hearing and the only kid with hearing 
   aids for miles around so I identified with Tonya on having a 
   harder time growing up and loving sports. I told him of my 
   meeting Chris Bowman and that he grew up next door to my 
   husband Joel's friend in LA and that I had met a skater of his 
   in Michigan online and she gave my pix with me and Chris to 
   him and he signed the back and she sent it back to me. I told 
   Matt also that Tonya and Chris had that raw talent that others 
   didn't have and didn't train hard enough etc.

   I also told him of that long Sports Illustrated article (that 
   he maybe could find online) from after Tonya won in Minn. of 
   how her Dad would leave her in the car as a 4 year old and go 
   hunting and how they camped and Tonya developed the arm 
   muscles for the jumps by chopping wood, etc. He was amazed by 
   that story. I also told him of how 20 years later that more 
   compliment Tonya on that program on YouTube and how that 
   program was one of the best done by a woman, etc.

While there, she donated a Tonya pin to the museum and plans to 
donate a check she has with Tonya's signature on it if it can be 
found. She has also sent Matt a picture that she took of her 
husband standing in front of the Lillehammer Skating Hall a 
couple of years ago.

To get the latest news about the Museum project, check out the 
web site, or the Facebook and Twitter feeds:


Also dropping by the museum was Bobby Cardos, a member of the 
band Doubting Thomas Cruise Control, which has written a song 
inspired by Tonya:

Called "Lillehammer", it comes from their new album "Remember Me 
John Lydon Forever", and you can listen to it here:


It seems that New Yorkers for some reason just can't get enough 
of Tonya. July 9-16 saw new performances of "Tonya & Nancy: The 
Rock Opera" at the New York Musical Theatre Festival, marking its 
first proper performance in the Big Apple (there was an earlier 
staged reading in 2013). Even before the first performance hit 
the stage it set the New York theater scene abuzz: (with a nice photo from a previous performance).

These articles are largely repetitive, but each has a different 

Like the museum, the event has also got international coverage: 
the story of "les patineuses Américaines" got mentioned in Quebec 
(in French, obviously):

and also in Singapore (an English version of the article above), 
South Africa, Australia and the UK Daily Telegraph:

Both leads featured experienced actresses, and it's a testament 
to the quality of the production that it's attracted such talent. 
"Tonya" was portrayed by Tracy McDowell, and she's not just 
acting the part of Tonya, she's a Tonyaphile of long standing, 
who describes it as a dream role and says that Tonya has been on 
her dressing station mirror since high school. Her other work 
includes "Motown", "Rent", "Measure of Success (The Lark)", 
"Jawbreaker", "Atlantis", "Hair" and "Godspell" and has appeared 
on Oxygen's "The Next Big Thing". She's also a soloist for 
Broadway in South Africa, a charity that teams up impoverished 
youth living in that country with professional artists to empower 
them and inspire change. "Nancy" was played by NYMF veteran Jenna 
Leigh Green who has had many guest starring roles on TV such as 
"Bones", "Ghost Whisperer", "E.R.", "Castle" and "Cold Case" and 
also played Libby on "Sabrina the Teenage Witch".

All the shows quickly sold out, and it's also scored a solid 6.0 
with the critics, as these reviews testify, including one from 
International Figure Skating magazine:,,20937575,00.html

Liz McCartney, who pulls double duty playing both LaVona Harding 
and Brenda Kerrigan, won the 2015 NYMF Outstanding Featured 
Actress for her portrayal of the skaters' mothers.

For more information, such as any future performances, you can 
keep up to date at their web site and Facebook page: (yes, we know 
it actually says "Tony and Nancy", but that's the correct address).

Next stop: Broadway? And then perhaps... Hollywood? Could 
"Tonya" end up with a Tony? Perhaps this could turn into one of 
those audience participation things like "The Rocky Horror Show". 
Except with people dressing as fat wannabe secret agents instead 
of transvestite vampires in garter belts.

Uh-oh, I've just had this vision of Shawn Eckardt in a garter 
belt. I do wish it was possible to "unimagine" things...


A couple of issues ago we reported on how an important piece of 
Tonya history is under threat: the skating rink where she first 
took to the ice some forty years ago.

The owners of Portland's Lloyd Center Mall, Cyprus Equities (and 
if that name doesn't sound like an outfit run by a Bond villain, 
I don't know what does) is planning to shift and remodel the rink 
- believed to be the very first ice rink in a shopping mall 
anywhere in the world when it was opened in the early 1960s - as 
part of an "upgrade" to the mall. This remodeling will leave the 
rink, which is already below USFSA standard regulation size and 
marginal for top-level skating, almost 25% smaller and a bizarre 
oval shape. By all accounts the new downsized rink will be 
effectively useless for even serious recreational skating, let 
alone elite-level competitive performances, so it means one less 
facility where those Portlanders who hope to follow in Tonya's 
tracings and become Olympic-level figure skaters can develop 
their skills.

It's a double blow for both Tonyaphiles and the Portland figure 
skating community as the other large-sized rink where Tonya 
trained, at the Clackamas Town Center Mall, closed back in 2003. 
A third major Portland rink, Winterhawks in Beaverton (which is 
mainly a hockey rink), also has an uncertain future. If this 
happens and the remodeling of the Lloyd Center rink goes ahead as 
planned it will leave only two decent publicly accessible skating 
rinks in the entire greater Portland area: one in Sherwood, in 
the Southwest of the city, the other over the river in Vancouver 
WA, neither of which have evening sessions and both of which are 
in areas with poor public transportation. Neither of these is 
within the City of Portland boundaries. In other words, Portland 
OR, the former home of Tonya Harding, one of the world's greatest 
figure skaters, could have NO full-size public skating rinks left 
AT ALL if this proposal goes ahead - a pretty shocking state of 

There is also the danger that the redesigned rink will be such a 
flop that it will eventually be closed completely. This will 
basically leave the mall as a JAFM - Just Another Frigging Mall 
that looks like the thousands of others in the U.S. In an era 
when malls across America are dying by the dozen, jeopardizing 
the future of Lloyd Center's most distinctive feature is flat-out 

The good news is that it appears that the remodeling work is not 
scheduled to start until January of next year, so there may still 
be time in the next six months to stop this butchery. Local 
skaters have also set up a Facebook group to co-ordinate 
opposition to the proposal, and also a petition at

We would urge you to publicize these links on your website or 
social media feeds if you can. With a bit of work and some luck 
maybe it might be possible to sink this idea, or at least get 
some sort of compromise to the design that will still leave the 
rink a useable size. We've already lost one Tonya-connected rink - 
let's not lose the other.

We've also come across this fascinating article about the 
Portland area mall rinks - it's mostly about Lloyd Center but 
does mention Clackamas and has a photo of Tonya practising there. 
There's even a couple of photos of Diane Schatz (better known to 
us as Diane Rawlinson) skating at Lloyd in 1966 in what appears 
to be some sort of promotion for Chrysler (it was an open air 
rink at that stage):


Many people have been shocked and stunned in recent weeks over 
the rapidly moving chain of events surrounding the FIFA 
corruption scandal, culminating in the sudden resignation of Sepp 
Blatter. In fact, this is no surprise at all to people who have 
been following the work of investigative journalist Andrew 
Jennings, who has been writing on the topic of sports corruption 
for years. It was he who in 1992 warned of corruption in the IOC, 
six years before the Salt Lake City bribery scandal exploded. 
Almost ten years ago he wrote "Foul!", a book which alleged 
corruption at FIFA, and in an uncanny sense of perfect timing, 
now has a followup book available, "Omerta", in which he further 
exposes the sleazy underbelly of the FIFA "family", comparing 
them to the Mafia:

If you want to keep up with this developing story, his blog and 
Twitter feed have all the latest news:

Now if this guy would just start digging into the International 
Skating Union, it would be nice. Football's given Blatter the red 
card - now maybe figure skating can take a cue from them and dump 


June 30th marked an infamous anniversary for Tonyaphiles: it's 
the 21st anniversary of her life ban from the sport of figure 

Although we can't report anything positive on that front, there 
is related news about another American sporting icon who his 
supporters say also got a bum deal, baseball legend Pete Rose. 
Rose was banned for life for betting on baseball games, even 
though there's no evidence he ever bet against his own team. Word 
is that Major League Baseball's new Commissioner Rob Manfred is 
planning to meet with Rose, in order to give him a venue to "tell 
me whatever he wants to tell me about the state of the situation 

"I think it's important to understand the facts as they existed 
when they made the agreement (to ban Rose for life), what's 
happened since then," Manfred was quoted as saying in a recent 

It's all pretty cryptic, but it does seem like a thawing of the 
ice over Rose and that MLB could be open to reconsidering his 
situation, perhaps even ultimately removing the life ban that 
prevents him from being inducted into the Hall of Fame. It seems 
to indicate that given sufficient time, a changing of the guard 
at the top of a sports organization can lead to a reappraisal of 
such bans as new people without a vested interest in the 
decisions of the past take over. Perhaps we can be cautiously 
optimistic that this same process will occur at the USFSA and 
that given sufficient time they will also re-appraise their 
attitude towards Tonya.


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