|Full name||Tonya Maxene Harding|
|Country represented||United States|
November 12, 1970 |
Portland, Oregon, U.S.
|Residence||Yacolt, WA, U.S.|
|Height||5 ft 1 in (155 cm)|
|Coach||Diane Rawlinson, Dody Teachman|
Tonya Maxene Harding (born November 12, 1970) is an American former figure skater. She is a two-time Olympian and a two-time Skate America Champion. In 1991, Harding won the U.S. Figure Skating Championships and placed second in the World Championships. Harding was the second woman (and the first American woman) to complete a triple axel jump in competition. In 1994, she was banned for life from the U.S. Figure Skating Association and pleaded guilty to hindering the prosecution following the attack on fellow skater Nancy Kerrigan.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Skating career
- 3 Controversy and subsequent infamy and celebrity
- 4 Boxing career
- 5 Automobile racing land speed record
- 6 Personal life
- 7 In culture
- 8 References
- 9 External links
Harding was born in Portland, Oregon, the daughter of LaVona Fay Golden (b. 1940), and her fifth husband, Al Harding (1933–2009). Her father had health problems that sometimes left him unable to work.
Harding stopped attending David Douglas High School in Portland during her sophomore year, as she was busy with skating competitions, having begun receiving invitations to them while she was still in junior high school; she earned a GED later.
Tonya Harding has claimed that by the time she was 7 years old, she was mentally and physically abused by her mother. In 2009, her mother admitted on The Oprah Winfrey Show to one instance of hitting Tonya at an ice rink.
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Harding began working her way up the competitive skating ladder in the mid-1980s, placing sixth at the 1986 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, fifth in 1987 and 1988, and third in 1989. She was considered a strong contender at the 1990 U.S. Figure Skating Championships after having won Skate America 1989, but she had a poor free skate as a result of suffering from the flu and asthma, and dropped from second place after the original program to finish seventh overall. While she was a powerful free skater, she typically had lower placements in the compulsory figures.
Harding's breakthrough year was in 1991, where she landed her first triple axel at the U.S. Championships, winning the title with the event's first 6.0 ever given to a single female skater for technical merit. At the 1991 World Championships, she again completed the triple axel jump (becoming the first American woman to perform it at an international event) but finished second to Kristi Yamaguchi.
In her career, Harding successfully completed four triple axels in competition. All of them were in 1991, where she completed each one she tried: one at the U.S. Championships, another at the World Championships, and two at the Fall 1991 Skate America competition.
At the Fall 1991 Skate America, Harding recorded three more firsts:
- The first woman to complete a triple axel in the short program;
- The first woman to successfully execute two triple axels in a single competition;
- The first ever to complete a triple axel combination with the double toe loop.
Despite these record-breaking performances, she was never able to successfully perform the triple axel in a competition after 1991, and her competitive results began to decline as a result. In 1992, she placed third in the U.S. Championships after twisting her ankle in practice. She finished fourth in the 1992 Winter Olympics, and in the 1992 World Championships, she placed sixth in a weak field. In the 1993 season, she skated poorly in the U.S. Championships and failed to qualify for the World Championship team.
Figure skating record
|Skate Canada International||4th|
|U.S. Olympic Festival||2nd|
|Prize of Moscow News||1st|
^† In June 1994, U.S. Figure Skating voted to strip Harding of her 1994 title. (See #Attack on Nancy Kerrigan) However, the competition results were not changed and the title was left vacant rather than moving all the other competitors up one position.
Controversy and subsequent infamy and celebrity
Attack on Nancy Kerrigan
On January 6, 1994, Harding's main team competitor Nancy Kerrigan was attacked. The widely publicized attack took place after a practice session at the 1994 U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Detroit. Harding's ex-husband, Jeff Gillooly, and her bodyguard, Shawn Eckhardt, hired Shane Stant to break Kerrigan's right leg so that she would be unable to compete at the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer. After failing to find Kerrigan at her training rink in Massachusetts, Stant followed her to Detroit. When she stepped off the ice after practice at Cobo Arena and walked behind a nearby curtain into a corridor, Stant struck her on the thigh a few inches above the knee with an ASP telescopic baton. Her leg was only bruised, not broken, but the injury forced her to withdraw from the national championship. Harding won that event, and she and Kerrigan were both selected for the 1994 Olympic team. Harding finished eighth in Lillehammer, while Kerrigan, by then fully recovered from the injury, won the silver medal behind Oksana Baiul from Ukraine.
The attack on Kerrigan and the news of Harding's alleged involvement led to a media frenzy of saturation news coverage. Kerrigan appeared on the cover of both TIME and Newsweek magazines in January 1994. Reporters and TV news crews attended Harding's practices in Portland and camped out in front of Kerrigan's home. CBS assigned Connie Chung to follow her every move in Lillehammer. Four hundred members of the press jammed into the practice rink in Norway. Scott Hamilton complained that "the world press was turning the Olympics into just another sensational tabloid event." The tape-delayed broadcast of the short program at the Olympics remains one of the most watched telecasts in American history.
On February 1, 1994, Gillooly accepted a plea bargain in exchange for his testimony against Harding. Gillooly, Stant, Eckhardt, and getaway car driver Derrick Smith all served time in prison for the attack. Eckhardt was sentenced to 18 months in prison for racketeering but was released four months early in September 1995.
Harding avoided further prosecution and a possible jail sentence by pleading guilty on March 16 to conspiring to hinder prosecution of the attackers. She received three years probation, 500 hours of community service, and a $160,000 fine. As part of the plea bargain, she was also forced to withdraw from the 1994 World Figure Skating Championships and resign from the USFSA. On June 30, 1994, after conducting its own investigation of the attack, the USFSA stripped her of her 1994 U.S. Championships title and banned her for life from participating in USFSA-run events as either a skater or a coach. The USFSA concluded that she knew about the attack before it happened and displayed "a clear disregard for fairness, good sportsmanship and ethical behavior". Although the USFSA has no control over non-competitive professional skating events, she was also persona non grata on the pro circuit because few skaters and promoters would work with her. Consequently, she failed to benefit from the professional skating boom that ensued in the aftermath of the scandal.
In her 2008 autobiography, The Tonya Tapes, Harding states that she wanted to call the FBI to reveal what she knew, but refused when Gillooly allegedly threatened her with death following a gunpoint gang rape by him and two other men she did not know. He subsequently changed his name to Jeff Stone and called the allegations "utterly ridiculous." Eckhardt, who legally changed his name to Brian Sean Griffith following his release from jail, died of natural causes at age 40 on December 12, 2007.
Harding had a celebrity sex tape: an explicit "wedding video" showed her having sex with her then-husband, Jeff Gillooly. They had sold it together to Penthouse, for an advance of $200,000 each plus royalties. Penthouse published stills from the tape in September 1994, and the tape itself was released at about the same time.
On June 22, 1994, in Portland, Oregon, Harding appeared on an Asistencia Asesoría y Administración (AAA) professional wrestling show as the manager for wrestling stable Los Gringos Locos. The night's performance included Art Barr, Eddie Guerrero, and Brian Cox.
She acted a 1996 crime film Breakaway, playing the girlfriend of a criminal.
In March 2008, she became a commentator for TruTV's The Smoking Gun Presents: World's Dumbest..., later retitled TruTV Presents: World's Dumbest... after TheSmokingGun.com ended its partnership with TruTV in the production. She appeared in over 100 episodes from 2008 to 2013. The show ended in 2014.
In 2002, she boxed on the Fox TV network Celebrity Boxing event against Paula Jones, winning the fight. On February 22, 2003, she made her official women's professional boxing debut, losing a four-round decision in the undercard of the Mike Tyson-Clifford Etienne bout, amid rumors that she was having financial difficulties and needed to box to earn money. She did another celebrity boxing match, on The Man Show, and won against co-host Doug Stanhope.
She won her third professional bout against Alejandra Lopez at the Creek Nations Gaming Center.
On March 23, 2004, it was reported that she canceled a planned boxing match against Tracy Carlton in Oakland, California, because of an alleged death threat against her.
On June 24, 2004, after reportedly not having boxed for over a year, she was beaten in a match in Edmonton, Alberta, by boxer Amy Johnson. Fans reportedly booed her as she entered the ring and cheered wildly for Johnson as she won in the third round. Harding later protested the outcome.
|4 Wins (3 decisions, 1 TKO), 3 Losses (2 knockouts, 1 decision), 0 Draws|
|2003-02-22||Samantha Browning||Loss||Decision (split)||4 (4)||Los Angeles, California, U.S.|
|2003-03-15||Shannon Birmingham||Win||Decision (unanimous)||4 (4)||Gulfport, Mississippi, U.S.|
|2003-03-28||Alejandra Lopez||Win||Decision (unanimous)||4 (4)||Tulsa, Oklahoma, U.S.|
|2003-06-13||Emily Gosa||Win||Decision (unanimous)||4 (4)||Lincoln City, Oregon, U.S.|
|2003-08-02||Melissa Yanas||Loss||TKO||1 (4), 1:13||Dallas, Texas, U.S.|
|2004-06-14||Doug Stanhope||Win||KO||1 (4)||The Man Show, U.S.|
|2004-06-25||Amy Johnson||Loss||TKO||3 (4), 1:04||Edmonton, Alberta, Canada|
Automobile racing land speed record
Harding was born to parents Al Harding and LaVona Fay Golden and grew up in Portland with brother Karl. She married Jeff Gillooly in early 1990, when she was 19 years old. Their tumultuous marriage ended in divorce in 1994. She divorced her second husband, Michael Smith, in 1995 and married 42-year-old Joseph Jens Price on June 23, 2010. On February 11, 2011, it was announced that she was pregnant with her first child. She gave birth to a son on February 19, 2011.
In 2014, ESPN aired a 30 for 30 documentary on the Kerrigan attack called The Price of Gold.
On February 23, 2014, NBC aired a documentary on the incident called Nancy & Tonya.
In 2014, Matt Harkins and Viviana Olen created the The Nancy Kerrigan And Tonya Harding Museum in their Brooklyn, NY apartment. This installation was covered by several national press outlets. 
Music and opera
- Elizabeth Searle collaborated with composer Abigail Al-Doory to create Tonya and Nancy: The Opera, a chamber opera produced in May 2006 by Tufts University and directed by Meron Langsner.
- Searle and composer Michael Teoli later created Tonya & Nancy: The Rock Opera, which was presented at the American Repertory Theatre's Oberon space twice. Singer/actress Kristen Lee Sargeant played Tonya in the opera and Nancy in the rock opera.
- The song "Tonya Harding" by the Atlanta band The Coathangers is about Harding and her role in the attack on Kerrigan.
- She was the subject of "Tonya's Twirls," a song by Loudon Wainwright III, a US folk musician. The song was recorded and issued on Social Studies (1999), with a live recording also issued on So Damn Happy (2003).
- The 1994 "Weird Al" Yankovic parody song "Headline News" contains lyrics about Harding and her role in the attack on Kerrigan.
- Australian rock band 'Jonny Don't Play' referenced Harding at the end of their song 'I like football' during live performances in 1999 and 2000.
- The book Women on Ice: Feminist Essays on the Tonya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan Spectacle (1995) included a number of essays analyzing her public image in the context of the sport of figure skating.
- Elizabeth Searle's novella, Celebrities In Disgrace, centers on the Harding-Kerrigan affair.
- Spunk: The Tonya Harding Story was a satirical short which aired on Comedy Central during the 1994 Olympic Games.
- In an episode of the television program Seinfeld called "The Understudy," when Seinfeld's date, a performer, takes the stage, she has a problem with the laces on her boot and, in an act reminiscent of Harding's bootlace incident, tearfully asks that she be allowed to start over.
- A 1999 episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000 featured the movie Soultaker. The star/writer of the movie, Vivian Schilling, was the target of numerous Tonya Harding references in the MST3k episode due to their physical resemblance.
- Janofsky, Michael (February 7, 1994). "Winter Olympics; Always Tonya: As Cool as Ice But Troubled". The New York Times.
- "Tonya Harding Biography: Ice Skater, Athlete (1970–)". Biography.com (FYI / A&E Networks). Retrieved March 22, 2016.
- Brownstone, David M.; Franck, Irene (1995). People in the News, 1995. Macmillan Reference USA. p. 155. ISBN 0028970586.
- Janofsky, Michael (March 12, 1991). "A Triple Axel With Rippling Effects". The New York Times.
- Marshall, Sarah. Remote Control, The Believer, January 2014.
- Saari, Peggy (1998). Great Misadventures: Bad Ideas That Led to Big Disasters. Thomson Gale. p. 697. ISBN 0787627992.
- "Tonya Harding's Skating Scandal". Oprah.com. Retrieved November 28, 2016.
- Tonya Harding reveals her side of roller-coaster life Today Show May 15, 2008.
- "The Oprah Winfrey Show: Newsmakers of the 90s, Where Are They Now? [23 April 2009]". IMDb.com. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved November 28, 2016.
- "Skater Nancy Kerrigan Assaulted". MassMoments.org. Retrieved April 14, 2009.
- "Olympic Results – Medalists" (PDF). usfigureskating.org. U.S. Figure Skating. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 2, 2007. Retrieved November 28, 2016.
- "Worlds results" (PDF). isu.org. International Skating Union. Retrieved August 30, 2006.
- "World Figure Skating Championships 1990–1999 results". eskatefans.com. Archived from the original on January 5, 2004. Retrieved November 28, 2016.
- Skating magazine, August 1994
- "U.S. Title Is Taken Back From Harding". The New York Times. Associated Press. July 1, 1994. Retrieved September 28, 2010.
- "Player in attack on Kerrigan dies at 40". Yahoo News. December 15, 2007. Archived from the original on December 18, 2007.
- Swift, E. M. (February 14, 1994). "Anatomy of a Plot". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved November 28, 2016.
- Hamilton, Scott; Benet, Lorenzo (1999). Landing It: My life on and off the ice. New York: Kensington Books. ISBN 1-57566-466-6.
- Nielsen Media Research (August 6, 2000). "Top 100 TV Shows of All Time". Variety.
- "Kerrigan Attacker and Accomplice Sent to Jail". The New York Times. May 17, 1994. Retrieved November 28, 2016.
- Longman, Jere (January 6, 1994). "Jealousy on Ice". The New York Times.
- "The Tonya Harding–Nancy Kerrigan Saga". Washington Post. The Washington Post Company. 1998. Retrieved November 28, 2016.
- Nelson, Amy K. (December 13, 2013). "Finding Gillooly: What Happened To Figure Skating's Infamous Villain?". Deadspin.com. Retrieved November 28, 2016.
- "Tonya and Jeff's Wedding Night". IMDb.com. Internet Movie Database. 1994-08-01. Retrieved 2013-04-19.
- Guerrero, Eddie (2005). Cheating Death, Stealing Life: The Eddie Guerrero Story. Simon and Schuster. pp. 100–101. ISBN 0743493532.
Tonya Harding was actually very quiet, nice and sweet, not at all like the crowbar-swinging ho the press made her out to be. Of course, she had no idea who we were. She was just earning a paycheck, capitalizing on whatever was left of her fifteen minutes of fame.
- "Stage Fright". People. 44 (12). Time, Inc. 1995-09-18. Retrieved 2013-04-19.
When disgraced Olympic skater Tonya Harding took to the stage in Portland, Ore., earlier this month under her new guise as a pop singer, she showed none of the biker-girl swagger that once so unsettled the skating world.... Mostly what she and the other members of the Golden Blades felt was the derision of 10,000 raucous music festival fans, who jeered and tossed soda bottles onto the stage, forcing the Blades to beat a retreat.
- "Tonya Harding Debuts As Singer In Portland Concert For MDA". Seattle Times. The Seattle Times Company. 1995-08-30. Retrieved 2013-04-19.
Harding will appear with her band, The Golden Blades, at a concert Sunday to raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. The band will perform "light pop" music, possibly including a Madonna song, according to Kellie Shipp of KKRZ-FM, the radio station that invited Harding to perform.
- "Breakaway". IMDb.com. 1996-12-28.
- "Harding Helps to Save Woman's Life". The New York Times. Associated Press. 1996-10-29. Retrieved 2013-04-19.
TONYA HARDING...was being saluted as a hero yesterday, after helping to save a woman's life Sunday night at a bar in suburban Portland, Ore., near her home. Shortly after Harding and her godmother LINDA LEWIS stopped at the Lost and Found Saloon to play video poker, ALICE OLSON, 81, collapsed and stopped breathing. Harding called 911 with her cellular phone and administered mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
- "World's Dumbest (2008– )". IMDb.com. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved November 28, 2016.
- "truTV Presents: World's Dumbest". TV.com. Retrieved November 28, 2016.
- Eggers, Kerry (January 5, 2007). "Ready for 'Life With Tonya'?". Portland Tribune.
- Tonya Harding's professional boxing record, BoxRec.com, accessed January 13, 2007.
- Tonya Harding biography at tonyaharding.com, accessed July 16, 2006.
- Sarah Michaud (February 14, 2011). "Tonya Harding is pregnant". People. Retrieved February 27, 2011.
- Mike Fleeman (February 23, 2011). "Tonya Harding welcomes a son". People. Retrieved February 27, 2011.
- Lester, Paul (March 4, 2009). "Tonya Harding bitter and thankful over Obama's 'kneecap' comment". The Guardian. London. Retrieved May 25, 2010.
- "The Price of Gold".
- Mizoguchi, Karen (March 21, 2016). "Margot Robbie to Play Tonya Harding in Upcoming Film I, Tonya". People. Retrieved March 23, 2016.
- "Tonya & Nancy the Rock Opera".
- "Tonya Twirls", accessed July 21, 2007.
- Bromley, Tom (2006). We Could Have Been the Wombles: The Weird and Wonderful World of One-Hit Wonders. Penguin. p. 90. ISBN 0141017112.
- Women on Ice: Feminist Essays on the Tonya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan Spectacle. 1995. ISBN 0-415-91150-8.
- David Lavery and Sara Lewis Dunne (2006). Seinfeld, master of its domain. Continuum International Publishing Group. Retrieved 2009-04-09.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Tonya Harding.|
- REMOTE CONTROL: TONYA HARDING, NANCY KERRIGAN, AND THE SPECTACLES OF FEMALE POWER AND PAIN by Sarah Marshall
- tonyaharding.org Discussion Forum and Archive of Tonya Harding files
- sptimes.com Harding, Kerrigan are linked forever by skating incident
- courttv.com Interview with Harvey Schiller, former Exec. Dir. US Olympic Committee (talks about Harding)
- Interview with Tonya Harding from 2009
- Tonya Harding at the Internet Movie Database
- Professional boxing record for Tonya Harding from BoxRec