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Sue Fox Named  in the "Top Ten" Most -Significant Female Boxers of All Time - Ring Magazine - Feb. 2012

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Tonya Harding - Ice skater turned professional boxer, was born in Portland, Oregon.  Harding  made her mark in Sports when she become one of the most noted ice skaters in the sport and now wants to lay claim to women's boxing!


Tonya began skating at the age of 3. On a trip to Portland’s Lloyd Center, Tonya watched other kids skating and wanted to try it. When she first stepped on the ice she made piles of shavings and ate them. At age 5, she was a natural for the sport.

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 figure skater.

The high point in Tonya's career came in 1991 at the Target Center in Minneapolis at Senior Nationals, where Tonya won her first National title. Skating two perfect programs, Tonya received a 6.0 for technical merit, the first perfect score any woman had received in this competition in nearly 2 decades. Tonya also became the first US woman, and the only other woman in the world, to complete the Triple Axle. This record for an American woman still stands to this day. She then went on to Worlds, where she performed this difficult jump once again. She earned the Silver medal for this competition. Soon after, she performed it once again at Skate America, breaking 2 world records and winning the championship.

In 1991 Tonya began touring with Tom Collins Champions On Ice. Around this time Tonya was known as the first and ONLY woman to land a Triple Axle in both the short and long programs. No other American female skater has achieved this accomplishment. In 1992, she competed in her first Olympics, placing 4th. Prior to that Olympics, she performed a quad loop jump in a Texaco commercial. In 1994, she once again took first place at Nationals, and went on to compete at her second Olympics. Her skating performance at this Olympics received some of the highest ratings of all times for a televised event.

Since 1994 Tonya has gone on to do a movie called 'Breakaway', recorded a CD of an original song, which she dedicated to the victims of the Oklahoma bombing tragedy, done numerous interviews, and appearances. She did a skating performance at a hockey game in Reno in 1997, where she received standing ovations from the first sell out crowd ever at one of their games.

After the game, there was a crowd of fans two lines deep that waited for her autograph. She graciously signed every one of them. She was signing autographs and greeting fans for over two hours.
A few years ago, Tonya made a huge comeback in the skating world. She was invited to compete in her first competition in five years, at the ESPN professional competition in Huntington West Virginia, where she placed 2nd.

The crowd welcomed her with open arms and love, and standing ovations. The TV show Entertainment tonight had one of the largest viewing audiences the week they did the interview with Tonya. E! Cable network show did a special on Tonya's life, and it is still one of the most watched personality profiles they have done. They have shown it several times, because of all the response they received. She also did some acting on one of the HBO comedy hits, Arli$$. She has been the guest on the Rosanne show, The Maury Show, and has done three guest interviews on the Larry King Live show, on CNN. She also appeared on the TV game show, “The Weakest Link”. She did this for charity, donating her winnings to NOVA.

TNN cable network had Tonya host a whole week of programs, called Bad Boy's Week. She introduced shows such as the Waltons, Cagney and Lacey, Dallas, Dukes of Hazards, to name just a few. She also was the guest of the Jacksonville Sun’s ball club, in Florida. It was a very successful evening for that club too.
She has also appeared on 'The Best Damn Sports Show Period' with Tom Arnold. In 2001, the French Skating Association and French Television invited her to skate in a Christmas show in France. She did a wonderful job, and was thrilled to be skating again. Tonya can hold her own when it comes to interviews. She won over a young listening audience when she was the guest on the highly rated T-Man morning show on KUBEFM in Seattle WA. She also made a successful commercial for a very popular car dealership in Portland, showing her acting and comedy skills.

Last year, a civic group invited Tonya to San Francisico. They hope that she will be able to help raise money for some of their charity groups sometime in the future. While there, she was very honored to have been asked to meet the Mayor of San Francisco, Willie Brown. She had a wonderful visit with him, which included a photo session of them together. The Mayor was very gracious to her, and invited her to come to his city, to do the charity work.

In February of 2003, Tonya made her pro debut as a boxer, and was quickly labeled "America's Bad Girl." Harding is currently 3-2-0 as a boxers.

Tonya continues to improve in boxing, and claims that boxing is much harder than skating!  She is taking the sport seriously, and hopes that someday she may be able to fight for a world championship.  Tonya has thus far had little problems filling the event out as most ticket sales are very high when she is on the card.

Tonya told WBAN that she first became interested in boxing after she appeared on "Celebrity Boxing" and stopped her opponent.

 
     
     
     
     
     
     

 

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