Tonya Harding Biography
|Tonya Harding was born and raised
in Portland, Oregon. She was a two-time US national figure skating champion. She began skating
when she was
about four years old and showed tremendous promise at an early age.
At 5’1 and 105 pounds, Tonya was a very athletic, aggressive skater
and was the first American woman to ever make a triple axle in competition.
Childhood was extremely difficult. Her mother was allegedly abusive
and her father suffered from physical problems that often prevented
him from working. Her family had little money and stability. Growing
up, Tonya had eight different addresses in the Portland area. She
married Jeff Gillooly in 1990, when she was 19. Tonya filed several
complaints with police during their three year marriage. Tonya divorced
Gillooly in the summer of 1993, but reconciled shortly thereafter.
Tonya began skating at the age of 3. On a trip to the Lloyd Center,
Tonya saw other kids skating and wanted to try it. When she
first stepped on the ice she made piles of shavings and ate them.
Once Tonya started to skate she was skating circles around other
kids. She was a natural at the age of 5. After a few times Tonya
loved skating so much she had to be dragged off the ice.
Soon after she began skating, Tonya got the attention of Diane Rawlinson, who had been the former star of Ice Capades. Diane went on to become Tonya's coach, and remained so, for several years. Tonya won her first competition at the age of 5. By the age of 8, Tonya did her first triple jump, quite an amazing feat for an 8 year old. By 12, Tonya began experimenting with what would one day be her trademark: the Triple Axle. By this age she had already won several medals, in numerous competitions.
At 15, Tonya was known for her natural athletic ability and for
being the highest jumper and fastest spinner among female skaters.
People were in awe of this talented young woman. In 1988 Tonya
became the first American woman to win a Russian award as a skater.
A month before the 1994 XVII
Olympic Winter Games were celebrated in 1994 in Lillehammer, Norway, Tonya Harding's ex-husband,
Jeff Gillooly hired Shane Stant to
club fellow female
figure skater Nancy Kerrigan in the knee. In the end Nancy Kerrigan went on to win the
silver medal, behind Oksana Baiul of Ukraine. Tonya Harding finished 8th and
received probation after pleading guilty to conspiracy to hinder prosecution and was banned
from competitive figure skating for life by the U.S. Figure Skating Association.
Tonya Harding has been a champion, world-class skater, who affected the sport more than any other single figure in history. She has appeared in TV promos, commercials, and stared in a feature film called Breakaway, and has made numerous public appearances. Tonya is available for skating and teaching seminars, as well as autograph signing appearance. She has also done appearances that have helped raise thousands of dollars for Charity. She recently visited San Francisco where she was the guest of a civic group, hoping to have her help raise money for local charities in that city. While there, she met with the Mayor, Willie Brown. He was gracious and said he'd be happy to have her do something there for the children.
Tonya has move on and returned to the ice, where she once had been one of the top figure skaters in the world. Now she hopes to inspire others who are working to get over horrible events in their lives.
"People really like me," Tonya said. "People want my autograph, they want to see me, they want pictures with me. They look to me as a normal person who has gone through some horrible thing," Harding said. "Life is a roller coaster and it has ups and downs and no matter what you do, you can't give up."
"I've only been working on my jumps for four days. It was a great feeling flying through the air and feeling it again," she said. "I just want to be me and skating is me. I don't want to compete. I'd like to have my own skating show, though."
On June 23, 2010, Tonya married 42 year old Joseph Jens Price. Pastor Lloyd Ward of the Community Church of God performed the ceremony. They are now expecting a baby boy because Tonya is pregnant.
Nine Months Later ...
On Saturday, February 27, 2011, Tonya became the proud mother of a baby boy. As a first-time mother, she looks forward to spending private, quality time with her new husband and new baby.
If interested in booking Tonya Harding for an appearance, please
contact her agent Linda Lewis: