THE TONYAPHILE FORTNIGHTLY COGITARIUM

By JOE HARAN

A LIVING NATIONAL TREASURE ABANDONED
--PORTLAND, Oregon

Now we are witnessing the abandonment and exile of a most remarkable person, someone who has brought joy to the hearts of millions and has broken many hearts along the way. Tonya Harding, one of historyıs greatest geniuses of sport, is selling--to the highest bidder--the only flattering figure-skating costume she has. She is giving up on a brilliant career, one that required courage known but to a few; a career which she furthered in spite of both intense bigotry and its resultant ignorant hatred being directed against her. At last, a meaningless domestic argument signals her surrender to cowards who have benefited from her gifts to the world.
The nadir of Tonyaıs life came in 1994, when she was branded a criminal for crimes she did not commit. After the witch hunt subsided somewhat, Tonya suffered from a great sadness which caused her to give up: she sold her excellent red and purple skating costumes, on the pretext they wouldnıt fit anymore. Of course, they would have fit just fine with minor alterations. Ever wanting to eschew emotional reasoning, Tonya also claimed the pragmatic excuse of needing money. Donıt we all, at some time during our lives, need money and have no way of getting it? But in reality Tonya was giving up on herself and on the love of her life: figure skating. We were saddened by her decision then; and we are saddened again today.
The most wonderful event since the traumas of 1994 was the occasion when Michael Rosenberg returned Tonya to the fold. A story-book comeback ensued, topped off by Tonyaıs coming second in a professional tournament--after a layoff of more than five years! Per se, this was a signal event in the world of sport; and it was, of course, dutifully ignored by the media lords who now must be ecstatic over what surely is their final victory in the war against Tonya.
From a childhood in poverty to a dozen tournament championships: Tonya was ever the crowd pleaser; and she remains such today. Only the cowards, the gatekeepers of journalism and of sport, throw all their weight against her. And what of Michael Rosenberg, whose recent abandonment of Tonya has sealed her passport to nowhere? Perhaps we should look at his employers, SFX Skating, to find the most abject cowards of them all.
What Tonya gave the world was courage and talent, both qualities resulting in lives made better through happiness. These are her gifts to us, even as she now departs the public arena of athletics and entertainment. Who among her detractors has contributed an iota of happiness and inspiration to the world? We shall miss Tonya more than we could ever articulate in these columns. She is a living national treasure, who is now abandoned by a heartless nation.