Olympic Notebook -- Harding Met By Cameras, Fans At Sea-Tac
Tonya Harding was met by camera crews and about a 100 fans, a few wearing pink "We believe in Tonya" buttons, at Sea-Tac airport today as she left for Lillehammer, Norway.
Dressed in blue pants and a jean jacket, she hoisted a heavy bag as security personnel watched. She did not go into the terminal, but boarded an airport van. Two police cars accompanied the van to the international terminal.
A camera crew from Inside Edition is with her on the trip, as is broadcaster Connie Chung. Harding said yesterday that she had reached an agreement with "Inside Edition," a syndicated TV program. Terms weren't disclosed, though Harding's lawyers said some of the money would go to the Special Olympics.
Meanwhile, another TV tabloid show, "A Current Affair" (6 p.m., KCPQ), is scheduled to broadcast videotape tonight that shows Harding partially nude. "The video shows Tonya Harding at a Halloween party, wearing a wedding dress . . . and at one point she drops the dress to her waist and is topless," said spokesman Ed Burns.
Burns refused to say where the show got the tape and denied paying for it. The New York Post reported her ex-husband, Jeff Gillooly, supplied it for an undisclosed amount of money.
Harding's attorney said a Newsweek report that the skater had received an offer to appear in Playboy magazine is "blatantly untrue."
Yesterday in Portland, Mike Pliska, who was engaged to Harding for 2 1/2 months in 1991, appeared before the grand jury and said he was asked "pointed questions" about her character, such as whether she was capable of lying.
"I had to give a qualified yes on that one," Pliska said.
However, he said he didn't believe she could lie about anything as big as the plot to hobble Nancy Kerrigan.
Pliska also said he was asked what he knew about Harding's relationship with Gillooly. Pliska said that he saw evidence that Gillooly abused Harding.
After lunch with some of her supporters in Portland yesterday, she told KATU-TV: "I'm strong sometimes. But I need to sit down and cry. I haven't been able to cry yet, I haven't been able to do anything. I guess it will be one big happy victory when I win."
She left Seattle on an SAS flight about 1 p.m. today, seated in the smoking section.
Practice appeal denied
HAMAR, Norway - A third appeal backed by the U.S. Olympic Committee to split practice times for Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding was turned down by the International Skating Union. The action assures the rivals will be in the same practice group.
The latest appeal, made at the urging of USOC president Harvey Schiller, came after Schiller spoke informally with IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch about the scheduling.
Odds are . . .
LONDON - Ladbrokes, Britain's largest bookmaker, cited Harding's "unimpressive practice sessions," and more than doubled the odds on her winning the gold medal. Harding's odds at Ladbrokes shot from 7-1 to 16-1 over a 24-hour period, while odds for Nancy Kerrigan were cut from 6-1 to 4-1.
Neither was listed as the favorite. For the first time, the bookmaker was taking bets on reigning world champion Oksana Baiul of Ukraine and European champion Surya Bonaly of France.
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