Tonya Harding is a well-known figure skater who is also a retired boxer. She is a two-time Skate America Champion, one-time Nations Cup winner, and one-time Prize of Moscow News Winner.
Besides that, she is a reality television personality who starred in popular TV shows such as Dancing With The Stars, Worst Cooks in America: Celebrity Edition, etc.
As a figure skater, Harding’s reputation preceded her. Furthermore, Harding became the first American woman to complete the triple axle successfully in a competition in 1991.
Similarly, the same year in Skate America, she was also the first female who successfully carried out two triple Axels in a single competition.
Moreover, she was the first woman to do the triple Axel in a short program and complete a triple Axel in combination.
Therefore, her opponents considered the reality television personality a strong contender.
Likewise, she won the U.S. Figure Skating Championships twice in 1991 and 1994 but was stripped of her title due to her potential involvement in the attack on Nancy Kerrigan.
Tonya is infamous for the attack on her rival figure skater, Kerrigan. As a result of that attack, Nancy had to withdraw from the 1994 US Championship.
Not to mention, Harding’s figure skating came to an end, and she was loathed and detested by the entire public.
The Kerrigan attack received international attention, and very few left do not associate with the incident when they hear the name, Kerrigan or Harding.
Before details about the infamous figure skater’s life, career, and rivalry, here are some quick facts about her.
|Full Name||Tonya Maxene Price (née Harding)|
|Birth Date||November 12, 1970|
|Birth Place||Portland, Oregon, the United States|
|Nick Name||Bad Girl|
|Education||Milwaukie High School|
|Father’s Name||Albert Harding|
|Mother’s Name||LaVona Fay Golden|
|Siblings||Chris Davison (Half Brother)|
|Age||52 years old|
|Height||5’1″ (1.55 m)|
|Weight||137 lb (62 kg)|
|Profession||Former Figure Skater, Boxer, Reality TV Personality|
|Country Represented||United States of America|
|Coach||Diane Rawlinson and Dody Teachman|
|Active Years||mid-1980 – 1994|
|Kids||One son; Gordon Price|
|Net Worth||$150 thousand|
|Merchandise||TH Collection, Fire on Ice(Book), Signed Merch|
|Last Updated||November, 2022|
Tonya Harding | Early Life, Family, And Education
Tonya Harding was born in Portland, Oregon, the United States. Her parents are Albert Harding and LaVona Fay Golden.
The Harding family lived in poverty and resided in a trailer. Since Tonya began skating at three years old, her passion came at a price for her parents.
Her father worked various jobs to keep the family afloat. He managed apartments, drove a truck, and worked at a bait-and-tackle store, rubber company, etc.
However, due to his poor health, Tonya’s father was often out of a job or unable to work. Similarly, Harding’s mother worked as a waitress, bartender, cook, etc., and held multiple positions to make ends meet.
Albert was LaVona’s third husband, and she had three more kids other than Tonya. The gold medalist was the only child of her father and her mother.
Relationship With Her Father
Despite hardships, Harding and her father made the best out of every situation. They were each other’s best friends, and Albert was very proud of his daughter.
Furthermore, he taught her how to hunt, shoot, pool, and drag race and teach her about automotive mechanics. The former boxer called Albert her rock; they always had her back through thick and thin.
She said, “When everybody in the world was against me, my dad was still in my corner — no matter what.” Tonya was indeed a daddy’s girl, and he was the light of her life.
Tonya’s parents divorced when she was only 16 years old. Nonetheless, her father always tried to remain a vital part of her life and be his daughter’s most extensive support system.
In 2009, Albert died in his Oregon home at 76 years old. His obituary states, “One of his greatest joys in life was watching his daughter, Tonya, ice skate.”
To this day, Tonya misses her father dearly and wishes he was here to see her life, husband, and son.
In 2018, she dedicated an emotional performance to her late father in the reality show Dancing with the Stars: Athlete.
In the show, she said, “I mean, my dad just gave me 100 percent unconditional love. My dad would come to my competitions. He was always there for me. He loved his little girl. And I love him.”
Strained Relationship With Her Mother And Abuse
Although she had a sound support system and parents who were going to lengths to provide for her, Tonya’s childhood was far from any depiction of a perfect family.
According to the figure skater, she grew up in an abusive and toxic environment. She revealed that she was physically and psychologically abused by her mother almost every day of her life.
Harding said, “I don’t think that there was more than one day a week, sometimes, that I didn’t get beaten.
For instance, Tonya remembers her mother throwing a steak knife at her when she was trying to leave the house during a conversation. This alleged incident is portrayed in the 2017 film I, Tonya.
Furthermore, LaVona has admitted to hitting the former skater in an ice rink bathroom stall and spanking her children occasionally. However, she denies throwing a steak knife and beating her regularly.
Moreover, she has also disputed her portrayal in the I Tonya movie. The movie showed her drinking an entire thermos filled with half brandy and half coffee during her daughter’s skating practice.
Not an ideal role model
After that, she would drive Tonya to school under the influence. Nevertheless, Golden has denied it, saying,
“I would have coffee and sometimes put brandy flavoring in it. I love brandy flavoring. You can’t get drunk on flavoring. Sorry to disappoint you.”
Harding hasn’t spoken a word to her mother since 2002. Even though LaVona wants to make amends, Tonya said,
“I don’t want her anywhere near me. I don’t want her anywhere near my son. She wants forgiveness, wants to see me, wants to make amends. She wants to meet and be part of the family. Hell no.”
Education And Sexual Abuse
Tonya used to go to Milwaukie High School but dropped out to devote her entire time and focus on skating in her sophomore year. Nevertheless, she acquired her GED certificate later on in 1988.
Besides the alleged physical and psychological abuse from her mother, Harding was also the victim of sexual abuse.
Her half-brother Chris Davison molested her on several instances. In 1986, when Tonya was home alone, Davison came home drunk.
Then, after he realized that Al and LaVona were not around, he tried to harass her sexually and kiss her, which wasn’t the first time it had happened.
As he kept approaching her, the figure skater threatened to burn him with a curling iron and did so. But he was relentless and followed her upstairs, where she had locked herself in the bathroom.
Her half-brother broke down the door, so she called 911. However, she couldn’t tell the operator the truth as Davison threatened to kill her.
After he came at her again, Tony hit Chris with a hockey stick and ran towards her neighbor’s house, where she called the police again. Then, Davison left the house in his car, so Harding ran back to her home and locked all the doors and windows.
After that, the police showed up and arrested Chris when he returned to the house to threaten her. He was arrested and consequently sent to prison for his actions.
Tonya’s parents didn’t believe her, and LaVona even slapped her. When asked about her son, Golden said,
“He did have a problem with drinking. I wouldn’t put it past Chris to try and get a kiss. Tonya has a vivid imagination. She tends to tell tall tales.”
How old is Tonya Harding? Age, Height, And Weight
Since the figure skater was born on November 12, 1970, she is 52 years old.
Furthermore, the former athlete is still in great shape as she often skates and works out.
She leads a healthy and active lifestyle. Besides that, Harding is 5 ft 1 in (1.55 m) tall and weighs 136.6 lbs (62 kg).
Tonya Harding | Professional Career
Tonya started her skating career when she was only three years old. However, her mother said she reeked talent and was a natural when she skated for the first time.
Initially, Diane Rawlinson coached her. Furthermore, Harding started to shine and show her true potential in the mid-1980s.
In 1988-89, Harding won the Prize of Moscow News. The following year, the former skater started training with Dody Teachman and improved significantly.
Tonya won the 1989 Skate America and 1989 Nations Cup but the seventh position in the 1990 US Championships due to asthma and flu. Not to mention, the best was yet to come for the aspiring skater.
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In 1991, she made history at the US Championships after completing her first triple axle and became the first American woman to do it. As a result, Harding won the 1991 US Championships.
Moreover, she also won the 1991 Skate America, where she successfully performed the triple axle again. Unfortunately, after that, her career went a slight downhill.
In 1992, she twisted her ankle during practice and finished third in the US Championship and fourth in the Winter Olympics. Nevertheless, she secured the first position in the 1992 Skate America.
The following year, she did not qualify for the World Championships because of her poor performance in the US Championship.
Finally, in 1994 she won the US Championships, but her position was vacated shortly after. She landed in the eighth position in the Winter Olympics and third in Skate America.
After the USFSA banned her from competitive skating for life, Tonya turned to boxing as a professional career.
She fought against Paula Jones in 2002 at the Fox Network’s Celebrity Boxing event and won the fight.
However, her professional boxing career started in 2003 when she fought against Samantha Browning. The former figure skater lost the fight by a split decision.
For her next fights, she went up against Shannon Birmingham, Alejandra Lopez, and Emily Gosa. Harding won all three of the arguments by a unanimous decision.
Her last two fights were against Melissa Yanas and Amy Johnson, which she lost via a knockout. Unfortunately, Tonya’s boxing career was short-lived as she had Asthma.
Besides her skating and boxing career, she has appeared in several TV shows and movies.
For example, she was featured in truTV Presents World’s Dumbest… for setting a new record in a vintage vehicle.
Likewise, she competed in season 26 of Dancing with the Stars with Sasha Farber. Again, Harding reached the finals but finished in third position.
Furthermore, the former athlete competed in Food Network’s Worst Cooks in America‘s fifth edition. Tonya went on to win the competition, and $25,000 prize money was donated to a charity of her choice.
Moreover, she has appeared and been featured in several documentaries, talk shows, and movies.
Some are 60 Minutes, E! True Hollywood Story, The Oprah Winfrey Show, Nancy & Tonya, I, Tonya, Inside Edition, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Good Morning America, etc.
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The Nancy Kerrigan Incident
In 1994, just a day before the U.S. Figure Skating Championship, Harding’s opponent skater Nancy Kerrigan was struck in the knee by a baton. The attacker was later identified as Shane Stant.
Stant surrendered himself to the FBI and confessed that he and his uncle were hired to ensure Kerrigan could not compete at the Nationals and Olympics.
Besides that, Stant said he was hired by Harding’s ex-husband Jeff Gillooly and her one-time bodyguard, Shawn Eckardt.
Due to the incident, Nancy withdrew from the competition, and Tonya went on to win the Championship. Nevertheless, Kerrigan’s knee wasn’t broken but bruised.
As a result, she recovered quickly in time for the Winter Olympics, where she landed in second position. Nancy’s attack and the case received worldwide attention, and many favored Kerrigan.
Villian of the ring
Tanya had reportedly signed a $9.5 million endorsement contract before the 1994 Winter Olympics. On the other hand, rumors started spreading about Harding being the co-conspirator behind the attack.
Furthermore, the media and the public portrayed her as a villain who conspired against Kerrigan to win the title.
Although she never admitted that she had anything to do with the attack, she pleaded guilty to conspiracy to hinder prosecution.
Because of her conviction, she faced three years of probation and a fine of $160,000 in total.
On top of that, Harding was stripped of her 1994 US Championship title, and the USFSA banned her for life.
Tonya Harding | Ex-Husbands, Spouse & Kids
Jeff Gillooly (1990 – 1993)
The former figure skater married three times. Her first husband was Jeff Gillooly, who she married as a 19-year-old.
They dated and knew each other way before their marriage. Neither of Tonya’s parents was fascinated by her relationship with Jeff, and it wasn’t any less than a nightmare.
Gilooly was violent with Harding and often abused her physically. As a result, Harding filed for divorce and a restraining order just 15 months into the marriage.
However, the two reconciled, but Tonya filed for divorce and sought a restraining order again in August 1992. Nevertheless, the two talked it out, and things seemed good for a while again.
A few months after that, police officials responded to a gunshot incident in the parking lot of Harding’s apartment. The pair were in a pickup truck and insisted that the gun’s fire was accidental.
Finally, their rocky and toxic marriage ended when they finalized their divorce in 1993.
But, the two were still together. Nonetheless, they separated for good after the Kerrigan incident.
Furthermore, Tonya alleged that Jeff and his two friends raped her at gunpoint on the back of the truck in between the Nationals and Olympics after the attack.
Moreover, she revealed that the perpetrators threatened her and said,
“They told me, ‘This is what you are going to say. This is what you are going to do, and if you don’t, you will not be here anymore.”
However, Jeff has disputed this incident and hasn’t admitted to gang-raping her to this date.
Michael Smith And Joseph Price
After her separation from Gillooly, Harding married a Portland machinist, Michael Smith 1995, who was marrying for the fourth time.
Although the start of their relationship seemed mellow, they divorced in 1996. She married her now-husband, Joesph Price, in 2010, and the couple has been together for over a decade.
On February 19, 2011, she welcomed her first and only child, Gordon Price, into the world. Tonya named her son after her father, Albert Gordon Harding.
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Tonya Harding | Net Worth, Salary, and Income
Harding’s net worth is estimated at $150 thousand by many resources. However, due to the quick downhill of her skating and boxing career, the former skater does not have considerable wealth.
Nevertheless, she is happy with the life she has.
Furthermore, Tonya was on Dancing with the Stars celeb edition, where they reportedly pay $125,000 just for signing on.
The former DWTS contestant is often featured in several TV shows and documentaries. She also earned a few good bucks for her role in the movie I, Tonya.
Besides that, Harding is a full-time mother focused on raising her son. Her primary source of income and salary is from the jobs she occasionally embarks upon.
Tonya Harding | Social Media Presence
The former figure skater does not have a substantial social media presence. She is active only on Instagram and has 45.8 thousand followers.
Harding seems quite joyful in most of her photos. Furthermore, she posted pictures with her husband, late father, and close friends.
Tonya does not share her son or anything about his life on her social media account. The former skater wants him to have an everyday life outside the spotlight.
Besides that, the former boxer loves to show her love for her dogs and snow through her Instagram handle. Likewise, she has shared a few bits of her DWTS and Worst Cook days.
Tonya Harding | FAQs
Did Nancy Kerrigan ever skate again?
Yes, Kerrigan skated again after the attack. Shortly after the incident, she competed in the 1994 Winter Olympics and finished second.
Who did Tonya Harding attack?
Tonya did not attack anyone. However, her ex-husband ordered an attack on Nancy Kerrigan through Shane Stant. Many believe Harding to be a co-conspirator.
Did Margot Robbie do any of the skatings in I Tonya?
Yes, Margot Robbie did some skating with me, Tonya. However, she also had two professional skaters, Anna Malkova and Heidi Munger, as stunt doubles in the movie.
How does Tonya Harding feel about Tonya?
Since the movie is made from Tonya’s viewpoint, she feels optimistic about it. Harding has even listed it as her biopic on her Instagram account.
What is Tonya Harding doing now?
Tony Harding currently lives a happy life with her family in Vancouver.
What is Tonya Harding’s fight record?
Tonya Harding has a professional fight record of 3 wins, 3 losses, and 0 draws.
When did Tonya Harding win a gold medal?
Tonya Harding wins the gold medal at the 1994 U.S. Figure Skating Championships.
Did Tonya Harding win an Olympic medal in the 1994 Winter Olympics?
No, Tonya Harding didn’t win the Olympic medal but finished eighth in the 1994 winter Olympics.
Which song did Tonya Harding skate in the 1994 Winter Games?
Tonya Harding skated to John Williams’ theme song from the “Jurassic Park” movie.