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  1. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by pollyanna View Post
    Not to mention her INCREDIBLY strong edges, wonderful MITF, and fast and exciting spins for her time - some of her spin positions were so unique. I loved Tonya's skating and I am surprised that she would ever be used as an example of poor flow.


    The ISU's Definition of "Flow and Effortless Glide"

    Flow and effortless glide

    Rhythm, strength, clean strokes, and an efficient use of lean create a steady run to the blade and an ease of transfer of weight resulting in seemingly effortless power and acceleration.
    Would anyone care to come up with a better, more recent example than Harding or Bonaly of a top-level skater with poor flow?
    Last edited by Vagabond; 10-08-2012 at 07:15 PM. Reason: To correct pollyanna's links, as explained in Post #42

  2. #42

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    Vagabond, FYI, in your quote, my links are incorrect. I've corrected them in the original post.

  3. #43

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vagabond View Post


    The ISU is using Harding as an example of a skater with poor flow because she (1) had poor flow and (2) was a silver medalist at Worlds.
    I first saw the video with the sound off and only the caption "flow", and my first thoughts were that Tonya spent little time with both feet on the ice and her strides were more from underneath while Mao spend a lot of time with both feet on the ice and gained some speed from back pumping and, based on their speeds relative to the boards, were moving just about as fast. Also, Tonya's strides were more rhythmicly even and reminded me of an iconic skater of the past that Tonya probably idolized, maybe even performing choreography that was reminiscent.

    Quote Originally Posted by pollyanna View Post
    Not to mention her INCREDIBLY strong edges, wonderful MITF, and fast and exciting spins for her time - some of her spin positions were so unique. I loved Tonya's skating and I am surprised that she would ever be used as an example of poor flow. And I agree that comparing skaters from different eras with completely different judging systems is ludicrous.
    The era of fans not knowing what the judges should be looking for is long gone.
    Last edited by bardtoob; 10-08-2012 at 08:30 PM.

  4. #44
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    If the ISU and USFS have banned Tonya Harding for life, they should be consistent and NOT USE HER IMAGES in any way, shape or form.

    Just sayin' ....

  5. #45

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    Quote Originally Posted by manleywoman View Post
    I would love to interview her for the podcast. She was really such a natural talent.
    Could you contact her?
    She might be interested; now that enough time has elapsed that people are looking at her achievements, rather than focusing on her notoriety.

  6. #46

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    ^ Especially since Maneywomen is interested in the SKATING part of skating. I would love to hear from Tonya about skating from 1980-1990.

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    That's what interests me, as well.

  8. #48

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    I'm certain if Tonya had a chance to hear Manleywomen's interviews before making a decision, she would be very receptive. They are always so positive and the target audience is the informed fan.

  9. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by aftershocks View Post
    ...
    I don't know whether Tonya has learned anything by what has happened to her either. It may have been better not to "ban" her, but to embrace her, to forgive her, and to help her forgive herself; to help her discover that she was/ is worthy, that her life had/ has value and meaning, that she didn't have to distrust everyone and fight with everyone and throw away her gifts. The exploitative nature of our culture combined with the fears and disdain of the skating community helped seal the lid on the trash can.
    ITA, thank you aftershocks for these thoughtful words, which express what I think about Tonya, too.

    As for her skating, she was one of the few ladies I was really interested in watching in the early 90s. She was so refreshingly athletic, so no-pretty-princess (I don't say she wasn't pretty, I think she indeed was), I preferred her to most of all the other drama queens. What a tragedy - she would have done fabulously at professional competitions.

    An interview by manleywoman would be great, and I think she is, after all, a nice and interesting person.

    I hope she's fine, and can enjoy life with her family.

  10. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by PairSk8Fan View Post
    If the ISU and USFS have banned Tonya Harding for life, they should be consistent and NOT USE HER IMAGES in any way, shape or form.

    Just sayin' ....
    My thoughts exactly, and thanks!

    Thanks also to Shyjosie, bardtoob, Jasmar, pollyanna, and leafygreens for your comments, and to others for their thoughtful consideration of Tonya's positive impact on the sport.

    Pardon me for feeling the need to respond once again to Vagabond, as I know I am kinda long-winded.

    This will be a two-parter. Here goes:

    Quote Originally Posted by Vagabond View Post
    Because you would be hard pressed to find a subsequent singles skater of either sex with similar accomplishments whose flow was as poor as Harding's. The only one I can think of off-hand is Bonaly, who is also used as an example of a skater with weak skating skills.
    With all due respect, Vagabond, baloney!

    But well, you have your opinion, and I'm sure there are varying opinions. In any case, interesting discussion.

    Again, in my very strong opinion, if the ISU is so "hard pressed to find a subsequent singles skater of either sex with similar accomplishments whose flow was [do you mean is?] as poor as Harding's," then the ISU's exacting emphasis on "flow," is actually not very relevant, eh? Why bother putting a spotlight on "flow" if in fact all the top skaters today do not have such "poor flow" as they contend Harding had in the 1990s?

    If all the top skaters of today have pretty good "flow," then contrast an example of good flow from a top skater of today with another low-level skater of this era who has "poor flow." If they can't find anyone, then what's the big deal in the first place?

    Why doesn't the ISU spend their time worrying less about "poor flow" and more about re-instituting figures practice to help skaters of today learn how to properly use their edges?

    As much as I love Mao, ITA with bardtoob that in the ISU clip, Mao spent "a lot of time with both feet on the ice and gained speed from back pumping." Now, shouldn't "back pumping" also be something the ISU doesn't want to "see?" Not a great use of comparison in any case due to Tonya's and Mao's completely different styles, and especially since Mao has had to rework her jump technique and Tonya's jump technique was to die for. Tonya Harding's skating skills trump practically everyone in the ladies field of today.

    Vagabond, re your continuing emphasis on Bonaly, please take a breather. Acknowledged that Bonaly was an exciting and accomplished jumper conversely with less than great skating technique, largely because she had difficulty using her edges properly. Bonaly had a more upright stance on the ice because of her tumbling and gymnastics background. She should have been made to practice figures more, and that's what skaters of today should be doing too. Bonaly was unique to the sport of figure skating, and she will always be remembered for her unique qualities, emphasis on the positive, of course. She has had a good show skating career. Isn't it enough that the ISU judges basically never wanted Bonaly to reach the top of the podium.

    ISU, please leave Surya Bonaly and Tonya Harding out of your "poor skating skills" scenarios!
    Last edited by aftershocks; 10-08-2012 at 09:23 PM.

  11. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by aftershocks View Post
    As much as I love Mao, ITA with bardtoob that in the ISU clip, Mao spent "a lot of time with both feet on the ice and gained speed from back pumping." Now, shouldn't "back pumping" also be something the ISU doesn't want to "see?"
    Check those ISU videos and let me know if they use that same Mao Asada clip as an example of "mastery of one-foot skating," which is another aspect of Skating Skills.

    Quote Originally Posted by aftershocks View Post
    Vagabond, re your continuing emphasis on Bonaly, please take a breather.
    How ironic that someone who makes gratuitous side-swipes at Mao Asada gets bent out of shape about my mentioning Bonaly as an example of a highly accomplished skater with poor flow. For what it's worth, I like aspects of both Bonaly's skating and Harding's (particularly Harding's, and Harding's more than Asada's).

    The ISU videos about PCS contain examples of good and bad technique dating at least as far back as the 1988 Olympics. It's certainly better to use now-retired skaters for examples of components that needed improvement than to single out someone who still must face the judges.

  12. #52
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    Well it's not very nice for an organization to use any skater as example of "bad skating," living, dead, retired or not!

  13. #53
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    Three-parter --

    Vagabond, no sideswipe from me at Mao. I love Mao Asada! Doesn't mean she has perfect skating skills. She has a light, ethereal quality to her skating which is quite different from that of Tonya Harding. Mao skates like no one else IMO, and I've always been a fan of her skating. I love Mao's new fp and I admire her courage and her beautiful spirit. I'm definitely not intending to dis Mao. I'm just disagreeing with ISU's approach in this instance, and in a lot of other instances. It's apples and oranges and different styles and different eras. Still, Tonya Harding's skating skills trump those of many in the ladies field today.

    Seems to me that they are using skaters of today for their "poor" examples. E.g., the split screen of good and bad ice dancers; and that young skater they used to demonstrate "lack of sureness." Or, maybe they used her because she never made it any further? Hopefully being cited as a "poor" example is not why she's no longer skating, if indeed she isn't. Altho' I'm sure if she never found "sureness" that's likely the main rap that held her back.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vagabond View Post


    The ISU's Definition of "Flow and Effortless Glide"
    http://www.isu.org/vsite/vfile/page/...-0-file,00.pdf ...

    Would anyone care to come up with a better, more recent example than Harding or Bonaly of a top-level skater with poor flow?
    Okay, nothing to bang your head to death about. Maybe you just don't like Tonya Harding, and can't appreciate the fact that she was a great figure skater. To each their own. ETA: I see you said you do like "aspects" of Tonya's skating. Ahhh, that's right IJS/ CoP era means breaking down "aspects" rather than fully appreciating the whole.

    As far as the ISU link to their detailed "definition," eh, so what? When did they come up with that definition? I'm willing to bet it was waaayyy long after both Dorothy Hamill and Tonya Harding had stopped competing eligibly.

    As far as coming up with "a better, more recent example of a top-level skater with poor flow," why don't you and the ISU spend your time searching? Seriously, it must be a fun job scouring through skating vids to find “poor flow.” Like I said previously, I think better time would be spent actually training skaters of today re use of their edges, which might solve lots of skating skills problems, including the egregious and either rampant or fairly nonexistent flow problem (especially if its so hard to find current examples of top-level skaters with "poor flow").


    Quote Originally Posted by Vagabond View Post
    Because it shows that even highly accomplished skaters can have particular weaknesses. If you watch those ISU videos, you'll see that most of the examples of skaters "poor" component skills are former World or Olympic medalists.
    No argument that "even highly accomplished skaters can have particular weaknesses." If the ISU's intention is to train today's judges, then IMO, the ISU might consider focusing their "poor" example clips on skaters competing today, and use past skater clips mainly to show what great skating is all about. And they might want to rethink allowing the judges training tapes to be publicly available, or better yet whenever a poor example is cited try to ensure the skaters used are not identifiable. Above all, don't use examples of "poor skating" from earlier eras, as the sport is judged differently today, not to mention that requirements and training are different.

    IMHO, Tonya Harding had far less weaknesses in her skating than a lot of the skaters competing in the ladies field today. She even rivals some of today's male competitors.

    Yes, of course, not everyone who formerly competed had great skills, but then if they were winning medals, I think that further highlights the fact that the ISU historically has had problems figuring out what figure skating is all about and how to adequately address problems with politics and the judging system, and to adapt and adjust to changing times and to put their focus more squarely on the health, welfare and best interests of its young fs athletes, rather than siphoning off revenue from figure skating to support speed skating. Two different sports and that's a BIG part of the problems that figure skating faces.
    Last edited by aftershocks; 10-08-2012 at 10:38 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by aftershocks View Post
    Again, in my very strong opinion, if the ISU is so "hard pressed to find a subsequent singles skater of either sex with similar accomplishments whose flow was [do you mean is?] as poor as Harding's," then the ISU's exacting emphasis on "flow," is actually not very relevant, eh? Why bother putting a spotlight on "flow" if in fact all the top skaters today do not have such "poor flow" as they contend Harding had in the 1990s?
    Including "flow" in the definition of Skating Skills is very very relevant. It has always been fundamental criterion in evaluation of skating.

    If you think of "flow" as equivalent to "glide," in many ways it could be considered the one quality that distinguishes skating from other forms of locomotion. So if there were to be only one single quality spotlighted in the judging guidelines, "flow" might very well be that one quality, over and above everything else that also contributes to good skating.

    For example, if you look at the US Figure Skating rules for compulsory figures and Moves in the Field tests, you'll find the statement "An effortless, flowing and graceful execution should be achieved." These rules (especially for figures) long predate the introduction of IJS. Search for the word "flow" in both those documents to see how important that concept is is in the judging of US tests.

    If all the top skaters of today have pretty good "flow," then contrast an example of good flow from a top skater of today with another low-level skater of this era who has "poor flow." If they can't find anyone, then what's the big deal in the first place?
    Oh, they could certainly find thousands of skaters whose flow is poor compared to the average world medalist. But then you get into the question of whether it's appropriate to single out skaters as poor examples who are currently competing, whether in the lower ranks of international competition (easier to find video) or among low-level skaters who are nowhere near international level and may or may not ever get there.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vagabond View Post
    The ISU videos about PCS contain examples of good and bad technique dating at least as far back as the 1988 Olympics. It's certainly better to use now-retired skaters for examples of components that needed improvement than to single out someone who still must face the judges.
    For "poor" examples, is it better to choose current elite skaters, retired elite skaters, current or retired less successful, less well-known international competitors, or current developing skaters, unknown at an international level, some of whom may reach an elite level in the future?

    There are arguments for and against any of these choices, so at some point the people compiling the videos have to make choices that will present problems from one perspective or another.

    For the judges' learning purposes, the important thing is to focus on the concepts being illustrated, not which skater was selected for to illustrate which points.

    Remember that the target audience for these videos is judges who are currently judging at the international level, those who aspire to become international judges, and those who judge at lower levels within their home countries, probably with an emphasis on the second of those three groups.

    Fans -- especially fans who root for and against specific individual skaters -- might be more interested in the reputations of the skaters used as examples than in the actual concepts being demonstrated, which is probably why this material is not made readily available to the public. Therefore it's probably a bad idea to look at these videos and then come to a fan discussion and say "Nyah nyah, Skater X was used as a poor example of concept Y in the ISU training videos."


    Quote Originally Posted by aftershocks View Post
    Why doesn't the ISU spend their time worrying less about "poor flow" and more about re-instituting figures practice to help skaters of today learn how to properly use their edges?
    The ISU is not in the business of training skaters. It's in the business of governing international competitions, including setting rules and training officials. It's then up to coaches to train the skaters to meet those criteria -- and of the national federations to set up their internal test and competition structures in such a way as to encourage the development of skills that will be rewarded in the international competitions governed by the ISU.

    The ISU is not "worrying ... about 'poor flow'" -- in these videos they're encouraging judges to recognize and reward good flow, which is the fundamental basis of good skating. There are many other criteria in these videos that are also demonstrated in good and not-so-good examples, for Skating Skills and for the other four criteria. Flow is just one of them, albeit one of the most important. Consider it in the context of training judges, and don't take it personally if a favorite skater is chosen for a negative example. Nowhere in the videos does the narrator ever say "Skater X is a poor skater."

    Quote Originally Posted by aftershocks View Post
    As far as the ISU link to their detailed "definition," eh, so what? When did they come up with that definition? I'm willing to bet it was waaayyy long after both Dorothy Hamill and Tonya Harding had stopped competing eligibly.
    The specific definition of Skating Skills as used in the IJS program components is a 21st century formulation. But the concept in general has been around a lot longer. I'm away from home right now, but if you're interested when I get home in a couple of days I'll see if I can find some historical documents that discuss the concept, from Harding's and Hamill's eras and before.

    No argument that "even highly accomplished skaters can have particular weaknesses." If the ISU's intention is to train today's judges, then IMO, the ISU might consider focusing their "poor" example clips on skaters competing today, and use past skater clips mainly to show what great skating is all about.
    Yes, that would be a valid option. Or vice versa.

    And they might want to rethink allowing the judges training tapes to be publicly available,
    Here they're damned if they do and damned if they don't. If they make the judges' training materials publicly available -- or even if they just allow people to post them on youtube without permission and not insist on taking them down -- then they run the risk of partisan fans taking the material the wrong way, focusing on the invidual skater rather than the concepts.

    If they don't make or allow the material to be available, then they invite accusations of secrecy, being an elitist closed club, speculation about political agendas in the training that outsiders can only guess at (or invent in their own minds and assume is true), etc.

    IMHO, Tonya Harding had far less weaknesses in her skating than a lot of the skaters competing in the ladies field today.
    I have no doubt that the Tonya Harding of 1988-94 would place very well in a school figures competition against skaters who were born ca. 1988-94.
    Last edited by gkelly; 10-09-2012 at 12:59 AM.

  15. #55
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    I did not know that the ISU has banned Harding. I thought it's only the political USFS.

    I'm not really into getting to 94. But did Kerrigan have better 'flow'? I thought Kerrigan to be slow, trodding, boring, cliche. I know that Mary choreographed her, and as ANY choreographer would pick up on, the well is dry. So they reverted to her old progams, minimal choreo, the jazzercize that Nancy must have worked out to. Just make her look like Miss America, with overdone teeth binds and such to make her more "artistic".

    Poor flow? Let's see clips of Kerrigan versus Harding. Harding was much better a skater and had the history going back to 1986.
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    Quote Originally Posted by pollyanna View Post
    Not to mention her INCREDIBLY strong edges, wonderful MITF, and fast and exciting spins for her time - some of her spin positions were so unique. I loved Tonya's skating and I am surprised that she would ever be used as an example of poor flow. And I agree that comparing skaters from different eras with completely different judging systems is ludicrous.
    The 1986 Skate America LP is gorgeous What a talent

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex Forrest View Post
    Poor flow? Let's see clips of Kerrigan versus Harding. Harding was much better a skater and had the history going back to 1986.
    Go find clips yourself. No, I wouldn't choose Kerrigan as a poster child for great flow -- I already mentioned who I would choose from that era.

    I just think it's a big mistake to look at these videos in terms of which skaters were chosen to illustrate which concepts, and it's very unfortunate that they were brought into the discussion in that context. As long as the videos are available on youtube, maybe it would be a better idea to make a separate thread for discussing them in the context they were intended.

    Meanwhile, back to our regularly scheduled celebration of Harding's skating...

    Personally I thought there was some good conceptual choreography in many of her programs, with concepts other than "Look how beautiful, sexy, or perky I am," which pretty much summed up the majority of ladies' skating in that era . . . and this one, for that matter.

    I think Harding tended to be stiffer through the back than the more lyrical skaters at the time (e.g., Yamaguchi) and may have suffered by comparison in the eyes of judges, commentators, or fans who wanted to see women be soft and lyrical.

    But Ito and Chouinard could be even stiffer, especially when injured or nervous, and they seemed to gain more approval in general. I wonder if more often smiling and appearing humble and eager to please were traits that made them seem more acceptably feminine to observers at the time.

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    Tonya was unapologetically "in your face" with her power,
    Would her style be more accepted now?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex Forrest View Post
    I did not know that the ISU has banned Harding. I thought it's only the political USFS.
    She has not been banned by ISU..She just can't skate for the USA..

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    ^^ Right, not banned by ISU. Tonya Harding was banned by USFS for life. However, the ISU never said, "Oh well Tonya, we'll allow you to reinstate with another federation if you are able to gain citizenship in another country." Therefore, for all intents and purposes, she's persona non grata with ISU too, except apparently for use in demonstrating "poor flow."

    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly View Post
    ...

    Oh, they could certainly find thousands of skaters whose flow is poor compared to the average world medalist. But then you get into the question of whether it's appropriate to single out skaters as poor examples who are currently competing, whether in the lower ranks of international competition (easier to find video) or among low-level skaters who are nowhere near international level and may or may not ever get there...
    As always, thanks for your detailed and informative input, gkelly.

    From one of the linked excerpts, ISU did use current apparently low-level skaters, unless the young skater they featured is no longer skating, and unless the "poor" ice dancers they featured are no longer competing.

    I agree that "flow" and "glide" are important qualities in figure skating. I don't agree with the ISU using old vids of Tonya Harding to demonstrate "poor flow." Again, both Dorothy Hamill and Tonya Harding (and likely others) used short strides and generated great speed and therefore "flow" across the ice, just not in the lyrical, fluid way of Mao and others. I think the "featured" short strides of both Hamill and Harding were more stylistic in nature than "deficient" or "poor."


    Quote Originally Posted by Vagabond View Post
    By the way, I strongly suspect Tonya Harding is a big girl now and can take being used as an example of someone whose had one or two deficiencies without getting unduly upset.
    It really isn’t about “deficiencies,” IMO in this instance, since while Tonya’s short strides doing crossovers might not be appreciated today by ISU judges, her short strides did not actually “detract” from her skating in any significant way. As Jasmar already noted: "Tonya may have had short strides in her crossovers, but the power she generated in them was unreal. They never worked with her on lengthening them because … it wasn’t an issue back then." Then too, why didn’t ISU decide to use a clip of Dorothy Hamill’s short strides, to which bardtoob referred with that great link of Dorothy at Worlds 1976? Yes, I know why they didn’t. Hamill is iconic and her skating skills are superb. IMO, the short strides of both Hamill and Harding are more stylistic characteristics than they are terrible faults. Likely, as bardtoob suggested, Harding idolized and emulated Hamill. But then Harding, or at least her name in the popular culture, will forever be “iconic” in a negative way having little to do with figure skating.

    Right, Vagabond, likely Tonya doesn’t give a “blip” about figure skating these days, but after watching her annihilate the infamous Paula Jones in a boxing match, I’d be willing to bet if she found out the ISU is “dissing” her “poor flow,” she’d probably haul off with one of her wrestling moves at whoever made the decision to dismissively use old clips of her skating. Tonya to ISU: “FLOW THIS!”

    Yes, Tonya Harding is all grown up and most likely spending her time doing the best she can to survive and to put food on the table, and to raise her kid. Yes, she stupidly threw away her dreams and her salvation, but just maybe one slap, punch, knock, kick, and humiliation too many rendered her vengeful and clueless toward the wrong opponent. Obviously, she did not and may still not have her eyes open to what was the real threat against her achieving success in skating and in life. It really isn’t all about winning anyway, it’s about making the effort to be your best and learning how to overcome obstacles without resorting to anger and hate. But clearly, Tonya coped the way she unfortunately learned how to cope.

    Ironically, Tonya”gate” ended up putting a lot of money in the coffers of figure skating. However, across the board, people in the sport failed to use the increased attention the scandal garnered to educate non-figure skating fans and the public at large, in a way that might have benefited the sport long term. I understand the situation was not easy to navigate especially during the midst of the scandal. It was not something anyone could have imagined or anticipated. However, in the aftermath, the thinking seemed to be just blindly: “Wow, let’s take advantage of all these economic opportunities. Forget about what generated all this or where we’re headed!” They also forgot about assessing the human damage and finding a way to forgive, and finding a way for the sport to grow through turning a negative spotlight into a positive outcome and ultimate transcendence.

    No excuses for Tonya. What she had at least some part in causing in 1994 was reprehensible. But perhaps one way of USFS handling it for the better in the aftermath might have been stipulating that she be fined, suspended for an indefinite period, and be required to undergo extensive counseling before the possibility of ever being reinstated.

    So, okay, now that new fans are discovering Tonya, and old fans are reassessing her career, the ISU decides to pay attention to Tonya too, but again in a negative way. PairS8Fan already addressed the following, but let me reiterate: “Banned for life” from the sport, so why don’t they “cease and desist” using images of Tonya, especially in a negative light?

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