Tonya Harding

Tonya Harding

    I Tonya
Photo Credit: Neon

Character Analysis

(Avoiding Spoilers)

Grew up… in Portland, Oregon with her parents. Tonya loved her dad and spent every moment she could with him, simultaneously avoiding her aggressive mother, Lavona Golden. When Tonya’s dad leaves the family due to Lavona’s anger issues, Tonya begs him to take her along, but instead she is left in the dust and stuck with her mom who is a monster.

Profession… ice skater and Olympic hopeful. Tonya has worked her entire life to get where she is. She isn’t rich and polite like most of the other girls in her field, and her homemade costumes and edgy attitude keep her scores lower than they should be. She may not be the prettiest or most graceful skater, but she is out to prove she is the first American who can land a triple axel in a major competition. Only one other non-American skater has ever landed one in the history of ice skating. 

Relationship status… involved with Jeff Gillooly. Jeff was the first date Tonya ever had, and her mom came along for it. Tonya and Jeff have been on and off, but Tonya always seems to come back, even though Jeff treats her terribly. Tonya can’t seem to escape people who constantly hurt her—whether it’s Jeff or her cruel mother.

Challenge… standing up for herself. Tonya has been told her entire life that she wouldn’t amount to anything, and she desperately wants to prove everyone wrong. From having been called “white trash,” or ridiculed for her appearance at the skating rinks, Tonya isn’t new to criticism. Her first reaction to those who criticize her is visceral, and things usually end in a screaming match. Tonya struggles to find her place in a world that seems out to keep her down. Everyone in the ice-skating world seems to love to hate her. 

Personality… feisty, cynical, and tough. Tonya deals with a lot of flack from others, but that doesn’t make her give up. She has been skating since she was four, and is determined to make it big, with or without anyone’s help. She may be feisty and aggressive, but it is what she needed to do to survive. She’s becoming quite cynical that she will ever be taken seriously and given a fair shot. 


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