Transcript for What Tonya Harding's life growing up was like: Part 1
Tell me about your childhood. You grew up here in Portland? All over Portland. We moved 13 different times before I was in fifth grade. She grew up on the wrong side of the tracks. She had to fight for every single thing she got. You know, she had to make her own clothes, she was poor. You grow up where you grow up. People called her poor white trash. That white trash thing, I -- here's the deal. Tonya knew that's what everyone said about her. She knew she was in a world where most thought, "You don't belong, kid." Tonya, herself, called us trailer trash. We were never trailer trash. We had a beautiful new trailer. Blue collar all the way. What the heck is wrong with that? She grew up loving her dad. Well, we went fishing and hunting and just going for drives. Knowing that her mom on many occasions was her best champion. I had to work sometimes two and three jobs a day. I had to be a waitress and a bartender. I did all kinds of jobs because I had to. I did not want to grow up being like my mother. I was not going to grow up and be a waitress. I wanted to be better, and skating I was good at. ??? What was it about skating? It was so dainty, but yet it was so powerful. I always thought that it was just so beautiful, you know, being out there and just doing your thing, and I caught on very fast. And then, it just became something that turned out to be a gift from god. She went out and she mimicked whatever the other people were doing, she turned around right behind and did the same thing. She was just 3 years old. Just 3. I told my mom and dad that I liked it, and I wanted to do it again. They were like, "Right, okay. You know what you want to do." I mean, I was there. She says, "I'm the star. Here I am." I've got a really adorable picture. Oh! You know where that picture came from? School. I got to wear my skating costume so we could use it as a school photo and skating competition entry photo. Portland, Oregon, at that time was a really unusual place. People were training in shopping malls. There was very few Rinks that were dedicated to competitive skating, and there just wasn't the talent, coaching-wise, to have world-class skaters. Diane Rawlinson was the premiere coach. Tonya started skating with her at about the age of 4. Diane was not one to take on small children. They had Tonya in a very, very frilly frock at the rink and she was skating circles around me. And I think that she really saw that this little precocious girl had an extraordinary amount of coordination and talent. I noticed that she did have a lot of drive. Diane was like a mentor for me, on the ice and off the ice. Okay, why are we having trouble getting up and why are we having trouble landing? Do you know that I think? I think it's up here. I mean, I really loved -- her poise. I wanted to be like her, you know. I wanted to be a skating champion. I'll put it this way. She was the best coach Tonya ever had. Nobody could make Tonya straighten up right except Diane. Was there love in your house? I think there was -- I'm trying to think. Gosh, it was so long ago. I want to talk a little bit about your mom. I know it's not your favorite subject. Oh, no, she's definitely my favorite subject. More so than a couple of others. How would you describe your mom as a mother? Not a good one. I know she probably did the best that she probably could. Does she get any credit for that? Oh, she gets credit. When I'm being a bitch. People will know where I got it from. Her mom had married four times, her father was her fourth husband. Spe was very, very damaged. Probably drank too much. You would hear things about Tonya's childhood. How fractured it was. How dysfunctional it was. I knew that she was drinking a lot. I knew it when I was about 11. Like half of a thermos was brandy and the rest was coffee, and that's at 4:30 in the morning. I would have coffee, and sometimes I would put brandy flavoring in it. I love brandy flavoring. You can't get drunk on flavoring. Sorry to disappoint you. And so by the time 8:00 came, she had finished the coffee and then drove me to school. You don't do that! It sounds like, in some way, you needed protection from her. Yes. She was tough. But then there was always something about her. Something behind those eyes, and behind her. My relationship with my mom is really bad. There is a sense of sadness to this young lady. If anything goes wrong, she yells at me. I got half credit for it, mom. Teachers and coaches saw Tonya at a very young age and said, "You're special. You're different. You can be great." Our plans for Tonya, basically, start with revamping her from her head to her toe. This is her way out. This is her way out.
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