“She became an Olympic athlete, and the first American woman to land the triple axel in competition, only to lose everything after a few poor decisions made on the world stage: namely, choosing to marry some guy named Jeff Gillooly …and who thought it’d be a good idea to club Tonya’s competitor, Nancy Kerrigan, in the kneecaps,” write Viviana Olen and Matt Harkins.
Brooklyn friend and roommates, Olen and Harkins call themselves co-curators of the Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan Museum (THNK1994 Museum, for short).
In a series of vulture.com interviews, the pair talk to five other Harding idolizers, including Terry Hall, “resident of the still very active Tonya Harding Fan Club” based in New Zealand.
“Terry coined the phrase ‘Tonya-phile,’ and although we’ve never met IRL, he sends us a Christmas card every year, which we very much appreciate,” the authors say.
Hall was asked why Harding, now 47, is so iconic.
“Her life has all the ingredients of gripping story. It’s got sex, violence, glamour, revenge, greed, mystery, tragedy and comedy,” he said.
“There’s comic relief in the form of the bumbling antics of what Christine Brennan called ‘the Gang That Couldn’t Whack Straight.’ There’s mystery — we still don’t know how much Tonya REALLY knew, and probably never will. Then there’s the whole commentary on the tabloidization of our media, not to mention a strangeness factor that sends the weirdometer right up to 11. People who have never heard it before — like Margot Robbie (who stars as Harding in a new biopic) — think it’s got to be fiction when they first encounter it.”
It’s called “I, Tonya” — scheduled for U.S. release on Friday. It has an 89 percent rating on rottentomatoes.com, which says: “Led by strong work from Margot Robbie and Alison Janney, ‘I, Tonya’ finds the humor in its real-life story without losing sight of its more tragic — and emotionally resonant — elements.”
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