Tonya Harding Moved Away From Oregon, Maybe Because People Threw Rats In Her Mailbox

Or maybe it was because a Washington bar made her a specialty Tiki drink. Those are two of 10 surprising things we learned about Tonya Harding this week.

Tonya Harding (WW archives)

Anyone who doesn't know the name Tonya Harding is either a Generation Z-er or has been completely detached from the cultural narrative for the past 24 years.

For those two categories of readers, here's a brief primer: In 1994, Harding, the Portland-born darling, was seeking Olympic figure-skating glory when her ex-husband and his pseudo-bodyguard friend hired a hit man to smash rival Nancy Kerrigan's leg with a baton.

For her part, Harding was found guilty of hindering the prosecution and sentenced to a three-year probation and a lifetime resignation from figure skating.

But culpability in the 1994 crime is not what recent portrayals of Harding—notably lengthy profiles by the New York Times and Portland Monthly—seek to define.

Those features show Harding—the first U.S. woman skater to land a triple axel—in a new light. She's a mom who shops at Bi-Mart and hates getting stuck in Portland traffic.

These pieces won't solve any of the lingering mysteries around Harding's possible culpability. (For instance: Why was a note containing details about Kerrigan's practice arena, in Harding's handwriting, found in a Portland restaurant's garbage?) Instead, they and the movie I, Tonya make a fairly persuasive case that Harding was a survivor of constant abuse—from the people who were supposed to love her, from the media, from her fans—and that she behaved in the way that her abusers rewarded.

Meanwhile, Harding's life remains fascinating. Here are 10 (probably true) things that we were surprised to learn after reading the recent Tonya profiles:

1. It's no longer Tonya Harding—the married woman now goes by Tonya Price. (She's still okay with you calling her Tonya Harding, because that's the name she's famous for, after all.)

2. Her side gigs include providing color commentary for the TruTV show "World's Dumbest," which is basically a collection of stupid video stunts gone-wrong.

3. Since being forced to retire from the sport, she's also picked up work as a welder, a painter and a hardware salesperson at Sears—where, according to the New York Times, "every day some guy would ask if there was a man who could help him, and every day she'd school that guy on how much more she knows about tools than just about anyone."

4. She listens to the conservative talk radio show Lars Larson when stuck in Portland traffic.

5. She lives in Washington now, because Oregonians treated her like crap. "Oregon was buttheads," she told the New York Times. The list of offenses against the former skating star are long—and include having oral sex gestures made to her while stopped at traffic lights. The New York Times is vague about when and where the nasty treatment occurred, but there's a strong implication it was here. "I've had rats thrown into my mailboxes, [expletive deleted, we assume it's "shit"] left on my door, left in my mailbox, all over my trucks. You name it," she continued, "it's been done to me."

6. She hunts for deer and elk with a bow and arrow, like a badass, "to give the animal a 50-50 chance to make it interesting and fair" (and also, the New York Times points out, gun-wielding felons are frowned upon by the law in Washington State).

7. She is disinterested in being compared to Monica Lewinsky in any feminist revisionism that seeks to redeem the two. She thinks the sex acts between Lewinsky and then-President Bill Clinton were gross and inappropriate. "Monica Lewinksy? In the Oval Office!" she told the New York Times. "You don't think that there's something wrong with that? She disrespected the country."

8. Her husband is a karaoke aficionado and HVAC repairman, whom she fell in love with after watching him belt "Great Balls of Fire," but not just cause he has a nice butt. "I mean the eyes are the center to your soul," Harding told the New York Times. "You might have a nice butt, but I want to see the eyes."

9. The move to Washington does not seem to have put a stop to the harassment. Her truck was vandalized a few months before her New York Times profile, and the crime is still under investigation.

10. In Battle Ground, Wash. there's a Polynesian-themed bar where you can order a drink created just for Tonya— it's made with Bacardi 151, vodka, watermelon liqueur, pineapple juice, and orange juice and it's called the Triple Axel. "Because," writes the New York Times, "no one would understand if you called it the Tonya Price."

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