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Thread: Worlds most famous (infamous?) skater

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    Custom Title skateluvr's Avatar
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    Worlds most famous (infamous?) skater

    I was reading Patti Lupone's memoir today, and for those who don't know who she is -she's a broadway star whose became very famous for playing Eva peron on Broadway as Broadway's first "Evita." She has a great voice. She was talking about the Eva understudies (no names) and claimed one's boyfreind did a "Tonya Harding" or a rival for the role and went to jail. And she never made it after that. No comeback. It is a very good memoir and I thought how famous Tonya is that it is used like a verb ie. person x "pulled a Tonya Harding." She is American and who does not know Tonya if you were alive and watching TV in the early 90's. It made me wonder if she will earn a spot in the dictionary or some official idiom. I also wondered how famous she is around the world? The Olympics being the biggest stage of sport.

    I felt bad, as she wanted to be famous, but she got infamy for all the wrong reasons. It seems Bobek was given a second chance depite the illegality and danger she posed. I think her celebrity status helped her stay out of prison in the meth ring charges. I wonder if Tonya will get to skate when she's 60 in some show. Not likely. I was reminded out of the blue of that whole saga and how people even got sick of Nancy who was the victim, though she has done very well for herself in the years after. She was lucky-1 inch made all the difference. I wonder if Tonya is famous in Asia as the Asian fans seem to learn everything about a sport they seem to love and follow fervently?

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    Wicked Yankee Girl dorispulaski's Avatar
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    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TruTV_P...'s_Dumbest...

    Tonya has a husband, a baby, and a gig on TruTv's World's Dumbest Criminals as one of the hosts/commentators.

    Things are going relatively well for her this year.

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    I don't think Tonya will ever get to skate in shows again. I don't think the type of uberfans who go to skating shows would actually want to see her. I believe the only reason she was able to do shows/pro events in 1999 was because at that time there just weren't enough marquee skaters to fill the many televised events that were going on. I was actually surprised Bonaly participated in an event with Tonya, but I suppose it's because the French are soft on criminals

    Although I would not want to see Tonya skating anymore (since I think the lifetime ban was fully appropriate given the circumstances) I am happy she has started a family and is generating some income. She does deserve to be able to have a clean start outside skating and success in other endeavors.

    That Bobek has come back doesn't surprise me. Her criminal behavior, while repugnant, did not directly endanger her fellow skaters and therefore she wasn't ever blacklisted by her peers.

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    Custom Title spikydurian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dorispulaski View Post
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TruTV_P...'s_Dumbest...

    Tonya has a husband, a baby, and a gig on TruTv's World's Dumbest Criminals as one of the hosts/commentators.

    Things are going relatively well for her this year.
    I couldn't help wondering what an irony. But I do agree with drivingmissdaisy that she has done her dues and be given a chance to move on in life.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dorispulaski View Post
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TruTV_P...'s_Dumbest...

    Tonya has a husband, a baby, and a gig on TruTv's World's Dumbest Criminals as one of the hosts/commentators.

    Things are going relatively well for her this year.
    Tonya actually has a nice speaking voice. I always noticed that. I'm glad she has a chance to have a decent life, as long as it's not in skating.

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    Custom Title skateluvr's Avatar
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    I guess only God and a couple people know how much she was involved. Tonya sadly is to skating what Whitney Houston might be to Popular music - one of the best - who threw it away.

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    One of the best ... at certain aspects of the sport. Namely, jumping, and often enough, competing. But with many obvious shortcomings to her skillset as far as other important elements needed to become the very best, she was lacking.

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    Custom Title skateluvr's Avatar
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    Hi icd. I am one of those people who believe tonya had very decent skating skills and that if she had stopped smoking, trained consistently, and had a stability (ie parents like other top skaters with money or who sacrificed and supported them) she could have been the best. In her era jumps were very important. Tonya was pretty when thin, and though she did not have the costumes, etc others had, money would have remedied that. Kristi came from money (dad is dentist) and solid solid, Asian family. Nancy's dad worked two jobs to get her teeth capped and get her nice costumes. I did not see Tonya as just a jumper. Her layback was better than MK's ever was. I think it was the biggest waste of raw talent in ladies we saw. I am always struck at how many skaters never get to seniors because of money or parental support. Bobek was like this as well. She never trained well. She is another that threw it away.

    Kristi was a jumper to me as an amateur. She was petite, pretty, consistent, but she did not become a mature skater with beauty, lines, musicality until she skated many, many SOI routines over the years. When I hear Scott say she is an artistic skater in those competitive skates, I always think, Not so much. She became a beautiful skater, and often had 3 triples in her SOI programs. I liked Nancy and her reserved style. She truly was robbed of that gold in Norway, OT. Her jumps were not huge, but she was excellent when on. It was fashionable not to appreciate Nancy due to a few silly comments she made in her disappointment. I thought her a more complete performer (she was older) than Kristi. Kristi was the favorite, very likeable and consistent. The judges could count on her as she was so compeitive and gutsy, already a pairs champion. So it made sense they were behind her.

    I think Tonya could have had it all, had she been able and willing to apply herself. It is hard to compare men and women, but Tonya had to me natural ability, as opposed to Evan Lysacek, who had ability, but moreso, a rock solid family/work he clearly learned from them. Evan works works works, we read. He has shortcomings, but he had the best coach, best support, and the family foundation needed to sustain singleminded training. WE can all point to people who he skated against with more natural ability. Imho, Daisuke is in another league, but he was injured by 2010. Effort is 98% of elite skating. To use a top female, Kira Korpi. She moves awkwardly over the ice. Her style will never be better than now. But she is fairly consistent, works hard, is advantaged, is beautiful in a sport that value beauty. Tonya chose the lazy way, or the people around her chose the criminal way. I think Tonya felt she was not pretty enough, rich enough, "in" enough. Her inner insecurities and fears became realities. But as for raw talent, I always saw her as very capable of deserving higher second marks. With beauties and cuties like Trenary, Yama and Kerrigan, she must have felt she had no chance at all in the "club" to do what she (most likely) did. She was not a bright or educated girl, and seemed easily influenced by her husband in that period. I am in no way excusing her for what she did. But I see someone who could have been a complete and very successful skater. She had a lot against her. I have always felt compassion for her. I know many do not.
    Last edited by skateluvr; 02-29-2012 at 09:38 PM.

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    Custom Title spikydurian's Avatar
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    That's an insightful piece, skatelurv. Certainly, being from a more fortunate background/environment helps. She could have progressed if not for the unfortunate drama which cut short her career. Like you said, she did not surround herself with the 'right people'. She's lucky that you speak out for her.

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    At the rink. Again. mskater93's Avatar
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    Skateluvr is correct - Tonya had some of the most natural talent for skating (all skills, not just good spring in her jumps) in the same vein that Midori Ito did (figures competition nothwithstanding in her case). Her spins were very good, her speed excellent and her jumps only equaled by Ito. Her problem was training regimem, consistency of training and teaching style (she coach hopped as much as Bobek did) and support system. Perhaps if she had a different family model growing up, she would have had more consistency and trained more effectively.

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    Yes, I agree. I remember that at that Nationals in 1994, before we knew what had caused Nancy's attack, I was so impressed with the way Tonya completed each movement and expressed the powerful music she chose. She was a good skater, not just a good jumper.

    She did have far more natural talent than many other skaters, but even before we knew of her implication in the attack, it was obvious that she didn't know how to cultivate her own gifts. She smoked, she didn't stick to the optimal diet to maintain an ideal weight, and her training routine was reputedly sketchy. I remember a feminist article that complained about how the judges favored the more "feminine" Nancy over Tonya. But this writer was looking at skating as an outsider. The reality was that when Tonya got lazy, she lost her jumps, and she didn't have anything to compensate. When she was in fighting trim, she got high marks. As has been said in more than one movie and popular song, she could have had it all. A tragic story all around, with the one bright spot the fact that Nancy wasn't permanently injured--thank God!

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    Very well put Skateluvr. It was notorious time that in some ways sadly or ironically increased the popularity of figure skating. Between the whack on the knee of Nancy, the orphan waif Oksana stealing the show and then having her own problems, the re emergence of the pros including sexy Katarina Witt who was seen "carrying" or helping the orphan waif off the rink when Tanya Sawchenko who jumps in the opposite direction accidentally collided into Baiul causing stitches and some question whether Baiul would skate in the free skate, the other Oksana (Gritschuk) having an affair with the ice dance gold favorite Zhulin and then the homebody Usova pushing Gritschuk's head into a bowl of soup - a consequence of the affair was that the reknowned romantics USova and Zhulin were left doing a "puppet routine" costing them probably the gold medal, the return of Brian Boitano who early on looked to reclaim OGM and then the faltering Kurt Browning, the exciting jobs of Elvis Stojko, So much potential unrealized or not fully realized - Usova and Zhulin not winning OGM, Tanya Harding, Josee Chouinard becoming a victim when yet another Harding calamity over a broken skate lace, Lloyd Eisler disgust for the re emergence of "pro teams/skaters" who ironically took OGM and OSM leaving the Canadians with OBM. Nicole Bobek such a talent but never getting the training and good work ethics. Yes, I do think a good support team and finances are key elements to increasing the likelihood of succeeding in the skating world.

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    Trixie Schuba's biggest fan! blue dog's Avatar
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    In the end, Tonya had to want it ENOUGH to get it. Did she want it enough to overcome her circumstances? I don't think so. Many of us would kill to have her natural talent.

    The other thing I always got from Tonya was, I don't think she loved herself. That, I think, is the biggest tragedy in all of this. I think she was constantly looking for approval from her mother, which she never got. I think if Tonya had enough self-love, she could have overcome this, and might have lived up to the skater of her potential.

    I have, and always will remain a Tonya fan. She got me into this sport (pre-whack). I hope she is more of a mother to her child than her own mother ever was to her.

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    and... World Peace! Tonichelle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blue dog View Post
    In the end, Tonya had to want it ENOUGH to get it. Did she want it enough to overcome her circumstances? I don't think so. Many of us would kill to have her natural talent.
    I agree. It wasn't her dresses that didn't get her far. She's not the only skater in history - in her era or before - to not come from a priveledged background. You can have all the raw talent in the world and all the money in the world and still not amount to a hill of beans due to poor attitude. Tonya wasn't skating for herself, and she blamed everyone else for her misfortunes and her losses. She never just "got angry/hungry" and hunkered down and did her job. Later on it would be her asthma and her laces. Ok, I get that freak things happen, but she always seemed to have them happen at a fortunate opportunity. If she'd concentrated more on the doing, and not the excuses... and completely blocked what the others MIGHT be doing out of her mind, she might have come away with more than a record of domestic violence...

    granted, she is a product of her environment, but at somepoint one has to stop allowing their circumstances to define them. Take control of one's life, and define oneself without the "help" of others.

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    Custom Title skateluvr's Avatar
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    That's all true Toni, but can you point to one OGM who had a successful career who did not have tremendous support-family and a "village." Oksana won, We can debate how that happened. But she went downhill quickly and for a long time. There are hardly any good skates post that time period. She had no foundation, just the talent, and the luck to win OGM. I will always believe her mother in heaven helped her out. Oksana's gold got her out of an awful place. So I don't see it as tragic Nancy got silver, as she had the family love all her life to make her a winner, a survivor and a champion.

    I think you are right about Tonya in many respects. I would only say, "there for the grace of God go you." Terrible parents usually ruin someone's life in a myriad of ways. Elite skating is I think, the hardest sport to "win" at for a female, and it takes "the total package." She was surrounded by women who had the beauty and the solid, sacrifical families. Again, nothing excuses what she did. But my point was she was more than a natural jumper. She was a good skater who could have been a WC and and maybe even an Olympic medalist had she trained. She had no belief in herself, just bravado and a huge inferiority complex. She was so young. I wish her child well, most importantly is whether Tonya in her heart has learned to love others, and that she has become a better human being, as she will be the most important person in her own child's life. I agree, she seemed to manipulate those broken skate laces moments. She also had bad luck. If she was able to trust one coach and stay with her, that one relationship of support would likely have protected her from her search for stability in Jeff Gilooly. I saw documentary of her telling Nancy how much she loved Nancy's family. She is lucky she did not go to jail. It seems like she has been given a second chance to do things very differently than her mother did, hopefully.

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