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

April 29, 2018 Edition
(C) 2018 Portland Ice Skating Society

Welcome to the first proper edition of the Portlandian for 2018. 
We've been so busy dealing with movie stuff that we haven't had 
time to put one out for months. So what we plan to do is roll up 
all our movie coverage into a bunch of Special Editions that 
we'll upload to the site over the next few weeks.


Friday the 13th is traditionally considered a day of bad luck. 
But that definitely wasn't the case for Tonya and her fans, with 
the worst-kept secret of the previous week being officially 
confirmed on that date - Tonya will be appearing on "Dancing With 
The Stars" this season!

She'll also be joined by two other skaters, Adam Rippon (whose 
name has already been mentioned in rumors) and fellow triple-
axeler Mirai Nagasu (whose name wasn't).

It should go without saying that the fact that Tonya has been 
invited on this prominent show is a major piece of evidence that 
she is finally being rehabilitated into being a mainstream 
celebrity. The fact that two top-level skaters are prepared to 
appear with her as well without fear of being blackballed by the 
skating establishment is also a great sign!

Tonya's dance partner will be Sasha Farber:

Oddly enough, although born in Russia, he actually emigrated to
Australia as a young kid and is now an Australian citizen, hence 
the funny accent. So it seems that the Aussie role in the big 
Tonya comeback continues:

As a kiwi, it's becoming awfully hard to dislike Australians when 
so many of them seem to be Tonyaphiles.

Here's some more of the Good Morning America DWTS reveal. Tonya
is in this one:

The Create The Craze segment - Tonya only in the background:

The big guns were out to interview Tonya on the red carpet 





Rehash of how we got here:

"It's been a very, very long time since I had people respect me 
in any way, so that's where the emotion comes in," she says. "If 
I get a standing ovation or have a huge crowd that does like me, 
I'll cry. Since I've become a mommy, I have more emotions."

"Everyone knows I wasn't very dainty (when I skated), but I want 
to do the beautiful dances. Sasha has his work cut out for him," 
Harding says.  Earlier in her career, she spent six months pair 
skating, and learned to land a throw triple salchow.

"Oh my God, I haven't been in anything skimpy in a really long 
time. I can't wait to lose 10 pounds," says Harding, who famously 
made her own skating outfits growing up. "I am open to (wearing) 
everything as long as the hoo-hoo is covered and my boobies don't 
pop out."

While Slater says she is putting all of her time and energy into 
her own partner, MLB legend, Johnny Damon, 44, “I’m really 
excited to his and Tonya’s dance partnership,” she admits. “I 
think they’re going to be phenomenal and I think people are going 
to be shocked. Sasha’s going to be outstanding and so is Tonya.”

After Slater teased Tonya’s dancing debut, we caught up with the
former figure skater herself, who’s been putting in the work in 
the studio with Farber. “We were sweating a lot!” she tells us of 
her first rehearsal with Farber. And, while they’ve only had one 
studio session, Harding is already setting her own goals. “I’m 
hoping it gets me in the best shape of my life,” she reveals. 
“Trust me, when I saw myself in the mirrors [in the studio]… I’m 
really going to be glad when this goes by and I can come out and 
show it! I’m going to look good after this month!”

“I get a lot more respect, which is really nice, ’cause it’s been 
a long time,” she said about how her life has changed recently. 
“I’m just very glad to be part of something that is just so 
wonderful, and meet so many new people. I mean … I’m totally 


Tonya's team name has been revealed - and you'll be pleased to 
know it's nothing to do with knees: they'll be known as "Team 
Axellent"! Tonya and Sasha's first dance will be a foxtrot to 
"When You Believe" by Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey. - Tonya at 7:30 - Tonya at 9:47

Tonya was interviewed by Access and ET while rehearsing - in this 
one she shows the scar where her mother threw the knife at her.

Tonya also admits she'll be pulling in some Hollywood star power 
for support - Allison Janney will be attending the first contest:


Naturally Tonyaphiles will be out in force with voting - here's 
what you need to know:

  The Monday eliminations will be based on the judges’ scores 
  and live viewer votes cast during the live broadcast in the 
  EDT/CDT time zones. The voting will be done via

  After Monday’s show, overnight voting will start via phone, and Facebook. Those votes will figure in the week 
  two eliminations.

  Toll-free phone voting will be open nationwide from the end 
  of the live show until 5 a.m. EDT/2 a.m. PDT on Tuesday.

  Online voting at at and 
  on Facebook at will open at the end of 
  the live show and closes at 10 p.m. EDT/7 p.m. PDT on 

And you thought the 2000 Florida election was complicated...


Will Tonya and Sasha claim the mirrorball? The experts weigh in 
on how long they'll last:


Tonya Harding spent much of her early life taking ice skating 
lessons. She eventually became the US champion in 1991 and 1994, 
and she was the world silver medalist in 1991. In 1991 she also 
made history as the first American woman to successfully land a 
triple axel in competition, and only the second woman of any 
nationality to do so after Japanese skater Midori Ito. She was 
also a two-time Olympian, so her competitive credentials are 
undeniable. That athleticism and choreographic experience will 
likely serve her well on “DWTS.”

In the late 1990s Harding became a professional boxer. So since 
she has already adapted to different sports, she might adjust 
especially well to ballroom dancing.

Harding was also recently the subject of the biographical film 
“I, Tonya,” which starred Margot Robbie in an Oscar nominated 
performance as the figure skater. It was a sympathetic portrayal 
of Harding, so audiences who may feel newfound respect for her 
may root for her on the dance floor and vote for her to stay in 
the competition.


Her professional partner on the dance floor will be Sasha Farber. 
This will be his fifth season competing on “Dancing with the 
Stars,” but he has yet to make it to the finals. When he first 
competed in season 17 with Nicole ‘Snooki’ Polizzi they finished 
in eighth place. He returned for season 22 with Kim Fields, but 
they came in seventh place. In season 23 with Terra Jole he 
finished in fifth place. And when he last competed in season 24 
with Simone Biles they came in fourth place. Farber keeps 
improving his placements over time, but he still hasn’t made it 
onto the podium.

There’s probably a group of people who still have not forgiven 
Tonya Harding for the attack on her figure skating rival Nancy 
Kerrigan in 1994. Not only did that incident result in Harding 
being stripped of her 1994 US championship, but she was also 
banned from the US Figure Skating Association for life. On top of 
that, Kerrigan competed on the 24th season of “Dancing with the 
Stars” just a year ago, so if the infamous event wasn’t already 
on the minds of “DWTS” fans it certainly will be under these 

With less than a week to go before "Dancing with the Stars" 
begins its special 26th season featuring only athletes on April 
30, Tonya Harding moves up in our predictions for who will win 
the Mirror Ball Trophy. She now ranks third with 5/2 odds with 
the top two spots continuing to be held by Adam Rippon and Mirai 

6. Tonya Harding and Sasha Farber

Tonya Harding is a famous retired American figure skater and 
later entered the world of boxing. Although she is in her late 
forties, we feel that she will be in the middle of the pack. Her 
training and background in figure skating is just too strong, 
that it probably has not left her. We are interested to see how 
this one plays out!

Way down the odds for the all-athlete dance contest is perhaps 
the most controversial figure to feature on DWTS: former figure 
skater Tonya Harding. Capitalizing on the popularity of her 
recent bio pic, I Tonya, Harding is a +4,000 long shot to win the 
Mirror Ball Trophy and it will be interesting to watch the hosts 
and judges “dance around” her infamous past.

Tonya Harding: This can go either way. Tonya has been back in the 
spotlight thanks to the movie about her life, I, Tonya. The movie 
has done really well, which might gain Tonya a cult following, 
and it might benefit her in the competition. But it’s been many 
years since Tonya’s competed in anything and her nerves might get 
the best of her because of her past. If she can put that behind 
her and enjoy her resurgence she might go far with partner Sasha 

3. Tonya Harding, retired Olympic figure skater

Harding’s last return to the athletic spotlight — celebrity 
boxing in 2004 — was, in a word, pathetic. Fans booed as she 
entered the ring. She got her face pummeled. They cheered as she 
left the ring. Then came a string of documentaries and network 
interviews before the PyeongChang Games that revived her star 
power. The movie “I, Tonya” won critical acclaim and an Oscar for 
Allison Janney (whose previous best role was C.J. Cregg in “The 
West Wing”). In interviews, she was both charming and bubbly, and 
whiny and vengeful, lest we all forget that she “may” have helped 
orchestrate an attack on her rival, Nancy Kerrigan.

Harding, 47, is the obvious villain in season 27 of DWTS (despite 
the protestations of my colleague, Sarah Dunton, and others of 
her ilk who itch for a Harding comeback). But villains have a way 
of sticking around longer than anybody wants, so Harding comes in 
at No. 3.

You know “Dancing” will also try to bring in the big guns for 
Harding: “I, Tonya” stars Margot Robbie and Allison Janney could 
attend to cheer her on or at the very least film a talking head 
about her.

Meanwhile Kareem becomes the first to make the inevitable joke 
about you-know-what:

  "Well, I'm not competing against Tonya in a way where she 
   needs to break my legs so you know," Kareem said as he 
   laughed. "Tonya tries to get along with everybody. I found 
   most of the people that I met in connection with this have 
   been great. They're friendly and we're gonna go out there 
   and have some fun with it."


Not everybody's pleased about Tonya's DWTS comeback: Twitter 
explodes and the Tonyaphobes on FSU come out from under their 

But Sasha has leapt to her defense:

"I have only spent a couple of days with her but I have learnt so 
much about her and I’m looking forward to learning more," Farber 

"One thought I want to throw out there is that humans have the 
ability to change, people have the ability to find faith and 
shouldn’t have to live in the unbelievably devastating shadow of 
a bad past, wrong decision or bad influences for the rest of 
their life. They should be allowed to move on and live a full 
life like those around them. People live and learn, people 
forgive and forget and most of all we change, and not only change 
ourselves, but also the people around us."

He went on to thank those who've sent positive comments, noting 
how appreciative he is of all the love and support.

"I promise we will work harder than ever this season," Farber 
added. "I really respect Tonya for doing the show and I’m proud 
to be her partner. We’re ready to dance!"

A commenter on GoldDerby, when they first raised the possibility 
back in March, was also supportive:

  Gwen says:
  March 15, 2018 at 7:57 pm
  This is Democracy at its finest!

  If DWTS is honored enough by Tonya Harding agreeing to dance 
  on the show, then you should compensate her ten-fold the 
  amount that you compensated Nancy Kerrigan. This woman’s 
  story is heart-wrenching and real life. After years of 
  hearing my mother talk about Nancy, I finally realize that 
  she fell into the millions of Americans who were brainwashed 
  to believe that Nancy was the “fair-haired child”.
  My heart and those of my children go out to Tonya Harding. 
  Godspeed, Tonya.You are a true survivor.

And believe it or not, Tonya was not the most controversial 
athlete considered for DWTS: former NFL quarterback Johnny 
Manziel was rumored to have been considered but was rejected for 
being "too controversial", due to his partying, substance abuse 
and being pulled over by police while arguing with his 
girlfriend. The fact that Tonya was accepted is a good sign that 
public attitudes are changing.


One of Tonya's skating costumes has been put up for auction. This 
is the one that Tonya wore in her Short Program & Exhibition at 
the Albertville Winter Olympics in 1992, and in her Long Program 
at Worlds that year. It comes with a Letter of Authenticity from 
Tonya and a COA from James Spence Authentications (U32179) for 
the signature on Tonya's letter:

But does the JSA COA have its own Certificate of Authenticity? 
That's my worry...


If you were starting to get withdrawal symptoms now that "I, 
Tonya" is disappearing from U.S. cinemas, there was some good 
news for those in the Portland area in early March - an outfit 
called A Touch Too Much Productions organized a Tonya Harding 
Film Festival that was held at the Alberta Rose Theatre on 
Thursday 8, and to a packed audience:

Check out their Facebook page for more info:

To call it a "festival" was maybe a bit of an exaggeration, given 
that there were only two films shown, but they were both films 
that any Tonyaphile worthy of the title would crawl over a pile 
of broken skate blades to see: first up was Sandra Luckow's 
documentary "Sharp Edges", which was made as part of her Yale 
Film Studies course back in 1986. Footage from this appears in 
the closing credits of "I, Tonya" and has regularly turned up in 
Tonya documentaries over the years - it's the source for the clip 
of LaVona Harding with the parrot on her shoulder that inspired 
Allison Janney's Golden Globe and Oscar winning performance, for 
instance - but it's rarely been seen in its entirety.

This was followed by a Q&A with the director which you can view 
at her FaceBook page. Unfortunately the sound isn't that great, 
and no, we don't know what the story is with the strange special 

But, as they say in those steak-knife infomercials, that's not 
all. If this wasn't enough, you get, completely free of charge - 
a second helping of Tonya: a special screening of "Breakaway", 
the ultra-obscure low-budget action movie in which Tonya played a 
bit part shortly after she was banned from figure skating. This 
barely got a theatrical release at the time and has never been 
issued on DVD in English, so this was a very rare chance to see 
it on the big screen.

Tonya plays a restaurant owner who finds herself caught between 
mobsters and a woman on the run with $300K of a gangster's loot 
in this low-budget thriller that as far as we can tell has never 
been reissued on DVD (at least not in English). Highlights 
include a scene in which Tonya beats up a hoodlum and kicks him 
down a flight of stairs. Joe Estevez puts in a good performance 
as a hitman, and there's also a car chase, a shootout, some 
explosions and a decent-looking woman (Teri Thompson) baring some 
skin, so if that plus Tonya isn't enough for a good night out, 
well, we don't know what is.

We are proud to say that we were able to assist the Festival
organizers in obtaining a superior quality copy of "Breakaway".
By the way, it turns out that this was not the only chance for 
Portlanders to see "Breakaway" - it also screened at the 
Hollywood Theatre in early February as part of their B-movie 
Bingo series:

The Festival also was extensively covered in local media, with 
articles in Willamette Week, the Oregonian, and three local TV 

KGW's "Tonight With Cassidy" show also covered the Festival, 
interviewing both organizer John-Ryan Griggs and "Sharp Edges" 
director Sandra Luckow. The latter reveals why it's taken so long 
to get that film out to the public:

In the wake of the Tonya Harding Film Festival, "Portland at the
Movies" also reviewed "Breakaway" & "Sharp Edges":

How's that for incredible value? And remember, unlike steak 
knives, Tonya never needs sharpening!


Tonya was interviewed on two local TV channels recently.

Tonya did her first local TV interview on March 14 with Steve 
Dunn, which streamed live on KATU Portland Oregon at 6:00 PM. 
Tonya talked about her reactions to watching the movie, her life 
today raising her son, and also does some skating too. There's a 
short version that runs for around 4 minutes at the top, and a 
longer 14-minute version at the bottom. And don't be fooled by 
the picture - it really is Tonya-Tonya being interviewed not 

Tonya's manager has also told us they received a wonderful text 
from Steve, who said Tonya was awesome and the interview went 
great. We've also got more pictures of Tonya from the interview:

And that's not all: Tonya also did an interview on another local 
channel, KGW, with Joe Donlon which screened a few days later. 
And unlike Steve, Joe can skate, which helped him enormously when 
it came to interacting with Tonya. Word is that Joe was also very 
impressed with Tonya and said it went wonderfully:

Tonya also dropped more hints about her big announcement that she 
will make in the near future, saying it is something skating 
related. So we don't need to worry - she's not going to be making 
"Breakaway II" - or taking up curling.


As San Francisco's most famous fictional resident, "Dirty Harry" 
Callahan once said, "You've gotta ask yourself one question - 'do 
I feel lucky?' Well, do yah, punk?"

Well, some moviegoers in the city of peace & love and the Zodiac 
Killer were definitely feeling lucky a few weeks ago, because 
back in March they were treated to something extra special: a 
screening of "I, Tonya" - with the real Tonya in attendance!

Yes, Tonya herself appeared at the New Mission Alamo Drafthouse 
on the afternoon of Sunday 18th March for a special screening of 
the movie, after which she participated in a moderated Q & A 
session with the audience:

Unfortunately, it sold out just about instantly, so if you didn't 
grab a ticket quickly, you were - as Harry would put it - "shit 
outta luck".

Tonya discussed the background to her decision to agree to do the 
film, and described watching it for the first time, and her 
favorite scene, along with how it felt to be a mother and landing 
the triple axel. Also accompanying Tonya was her long-time coach, 
Dody Teachman, with whom Tonya is working on her skating.

As Dirty Harry himself would say about all this, "Go ahead - make 
your day". Because Harry knows that if the Triple Axel was a 
handgun, it'd be a .44 Magnum. And that makes Tonya the Dirty 
Harry of figure skating.


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