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  Harding as Mrs. Claus Gives Rink Staff Pause

Compiled by Robert Fachet
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, December 23, 1994; Page F2

Tonya Harding's plan to return to her home ice for an appearance as Mrs. Santa Claus has upset the management of the rink where thousands of people once cheered her every jump.

Harding sent out a news release Sunday saying she would do a Christmas routine this afternoon at Clackamas (Ore.) Town Center during free skating time. Town Center General Manager Jay Lafler said the first he heard of the event was when he began getting hundreds of telephone calls.

People wanted to know whether Harding would sign autographs, a Japanese television crew asked if a news conference could be arranged and others wanted to know how Harding could be allowed to skate after being sentenced to three years' probation for helping cover up an attack on Nancy Kerrigan.

Lafler said that since Harding's appearance was being promoted as an exhibition, people would expect an hour-long show, but instead they probably would see only a brief routine, perhaps while others were skating. He also said Harding should have rented the rink and allowed the mall and skating center to promote the skate if she wanted to perform an exhibition.

"Now, it's going to be egg all over our face," he told the Associated Press. "We're going to have thousands of people here on one of our busiest days of the year ... for a non-event."

Harding plans to skate alone in a red felt costume with white fur trim to "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," and with her pairs partner, Patrick Page, to "Please Come Home for Christmas," according to Cindy Starr, publicist for Tonya's Golden Blades fan club.

© Copyright 1994 The Washington Post Company

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