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An asterisk (*) next to Bond's home-run record for steroid use.
Another Tour de France marred by doping and cheating.
A likely possibility that NBA games are 'fixed' by a gambling referee in the pocket of the mob.
Dogs electrocuted, starved, and slammed to death after losing fights at star quarterback Michael Vick's house.
Welcome to the wide-world of sports. The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.
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This diary is a great non-political diary (though it has the potential of fostering political discussions) that showcases my favored style of transportation. - Promoted by Specter
As I've mentioned on several other occasions, I own two bicycles: A ten year old 21-speed mountain bike for biking around town to do errands, go on appointments, etc around the city, and a 5 year old 27-speed Fuji Touring bicycle, which is used exclusively for long-distance rides out in the country. My long-distance country bike rides are mainly done on the weekends, in the good weather, but, on occasion, I do them on weekday mornings, too. In t h e winger, and when the weather's rainy, or too hot or too cold, however, I have my stationary bike, which I try to use for at least a half hour during seasons/days when I don't ride on the road.
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One night, I did some research on Tonya Harding just for the heck of it. I managed to see some videos of her skating and winning the gold medal(s) as a young 20-year-old, at the Olympics, back in the early 1990's. To be honest, I was quite impressed at what a talented figure skater she was--moving sleekly across the ice and performing her various axels, lutzes and whatever with an incredible amount of speed and grace.
She was in such incredible focus and her movements clean and accurate. She'd begun figure-skating at the age of 3, loved it from the start, and clearly had a natural talent for figure skating, which she took to the next level. As I watched those "youtube" videos of Tonya Harding's figure-skating bouts when she was still a kid, I kept wondering to myself why this young woman with such incredible talent and a promising career, who'd caused so many people to crane their necks in awe of her, who'd evoked roaring crowds, and who was literally on the cusp of world championship and greatness, had to simply throw all that out the window by co-conspiring with her ex-husband and his cohort-friends, mastermind, and carry out the grisly incident that resulted in physical injury to a rival competitor.
This is not to excuse and/or defend the fact that Tonya Harding did what she did, but in order to understand how this came about, one has to realize that the kind of a background that she came from may well have provided the backdrop for that incident, which came about 3 years later. Her mother, a waitress, was an abusive alcoholic who'd been married six times, and she and Tonya constantly moved around East Portland, where Tonya Harding originally hailed from. Her father and mother, who helped pay for Tonya's skating lessons at the rink nearby where she lived, helped pay for her lessons, only to divorce later. Her father, who is disabled and unable to work, lives in another part of the country.
There were numerous incidents, where during her ice-skating practice, that Tonya's mother would constantly scream invective at her while she was on the ice and call her stupid, even for resting, or when she made mistakes. There was another incident where Tonya had called her mother up on the phone and told her that she'd finished 6th place in one of her first competitions, only to have her mother say to her "Well, you really did screw up, didn't you?".
In addition to coming from an abusive, dysfunctional family, Tonya also had severe asthma, which also made it harder for her. However, she worked at the rink after school, dropping out of high school during her sophomore year, and prevailed, to become one of the top figure skaters and to really make a name for herself at a very early age.
At the age of 19, in order to escape an abusive household, she married Jeff Gilhooly, who, unfortunately also turned out to be abusive. By this time, Tonya had already made a name for herself in the figure skating world, and Nancy Kerrigan, who was newer to the figure-skating world, was already edging in. Tonya had divorced Gilooly, but, in 1993, they reconciled and got back together. Since Tonya had come from a rough-and tumble, , hardscrabble background and a family with not a lot of financial or emotional stability, she believed that figure skating would give her something that she didn't have while growing up: the opportunity to escape a very impoverished, uncultured life, and have money, where she didn't have it before.
I admit that there's a reason that this comedy-tragedy of a saga interests me as much as it does. Now.....having said all of the above, and having overcome a relatively difficult past myself, I admit that I would've liked to have rooted for Tonya Harding over Nancy Kerrigan, who, btw, was also from a more workingclass background. Unfortunately, however, when it became more and more obvious to me that Tonya Harding had, indeed co-conspired with her ex and his cohort-friends, masterminded and carried out the incident that got Nancy Kerrigan whacked on the knee and injured and had more than likely paid them to do it, I decided that I could not/would not root for somebody who'd consciously and knowingly went out of her way to arrange to have a rival competitor injured. No matter what kind of past Ms. Harding had had, or how tough she'd had it, it was unconscionable, and inexcusable.
Here's why I think this horrendous incident happened: First of all, as I mentioned earlier in this diary, Tonya Harding had made a name for herself in the figure skating world, at a very young age, to boot, and she felt very threatened by Nancy Kerrigan, who, at that point, was edging in on Tonya. Feeling that she'd no longer be in the national spotlight and that Nancy Kerrigan would take her place, Tonya had decided to have Nancy Kerrigan forcibly removed from the competition, which she did. Tonya's utterance backstage before the 1994 Olympic Norway competition "I'm gonna kick Nancy Kerrigan's butt in the competition", in my opinion, was very clear of Tonya's intent, as well as a matter-of-fact statement at one point by her father that Tonya Harding really wanted to beat Nancy Kerrigan and win the gold medal.
Granted, there's much corruption in the sportsworld, generally, but I also believe that if one does launch a career as a pro athlete in any sport, s/he can expect to be scrutinized by the public more than most average laypeople. I believe that, like many young athletes, Tonya Harding became somewhat arrogant and allowed her success/fame/glory to go to her head. The destruction of her promising career, as unfortunate as it was, was inevitable in the wake of the planned assault on Kerrigan, since it was clear that Harding not only knew about it, but was clearly behind it, imo. She was only allowed to participate in the 1994 Skating Olympics after she'd threatened the USFSA (the United States Figure Skating assn) with a lawsuit if she was kept out of the competition.
While I admittedly know nothing about figure skating, it was clear that Tonya didn't do at all well that night. She finished 8th in the competition, and Nancy Kerrigan went on to win the silver medal. Nancy Kerrigan wasnt exactly a sweetheart, either, but she doesn't have a history of this kind of criminal exploit. Again, the unfortunate aspect of this whole incident is not only was a crime committed by Ms. Harding, but also the fact that Ms. Harding was an extremely talented figure-skater, who was literally on the cusp of World Championship when she became involved in this whole incident. She had a list of troubles with the law in her younger days: bar fights, DUI, threatening a driver with a baseball bat who was driving too slowly for her liking, stealing someone's new bicycle, the assault on one boyfriend with a hubcap, and fabricating stories to get attention.
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