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Tonya Harding gets ovation at ‘I, Tonya’ premiere (video)

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Disgraced figure skater Tonya Harding received an ovation after the premiere of “I, Tonya,” a dark comedy film about her life, on Tuesday night.

“I am specially excited that she got to watch it all with you,” actress Margot Robbie, who plays the film’s title role, said on stage. “Let’s give a round of applause to the woman at the center of this story, Tonya Harding.”

Harding then came on stage and received a hug from the Australian actress. Video is here.

Harding also posed for red-carpet photos at the Los Angeles premiere — it hits theaters Friday — with Robbie.

The Australian actress previously said she met Harding and that the skater was complimentary of the film and Robbie’s skating.

“I wanted there to be a clear distinction between the ‘real’ Tonya and the one I would be playing,” Robbie said, according to W Magazine. “I didn’t want to sugarcoat her. … The more I became Tonya, the more I saw things from her point of view. I’m on her side 100 percent. I don’t think she did anything but be different from what the world wanted. There are cool misfits, and then there is Tonya. She didn’t fit in. And I love that.”

The film premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in September.

Harding, 47, was actually skating in October after losing weight, according to People magazine, citing an unnamed friend in People magazine.

On Jan. 6, 1994, Olympic teammate Nancy Kerrigan was clubbed on the right leg by a hitman hired by Harding’s ex-husband, Jeff Gillooly, in Detroit, where she was preparing for the U.S. Figure Skating Championships.

Kerrigan’s bruised right knee kept her from competing at nationals, but she recovered in time for the Lillehammer 1994 Olympics. Harding won the U.S. Championship in her absence, so both went to the Olympics.

Tonya and Nancy became a media soap opera in Lillehammer with Super Bowl-like TV ratings. Kerrigan won silver, just behind Ukrainian Oksana Baiul. Harding broke a skate lace in her long program, reskated and finished eighth.

Four months later, Harding was banned for life by U.S. Figure Skating, which concluded that she had prior knowledge of the attack.

Robbie, who co-produced the film, said she thought the saga was fiction before signing up for the movie.

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Tonya Harding, left, and Margot Robbie arrive at the Los Angeles premiere of “I, Tonya” at the Egyptian Theatre on Tuesday. (AP)

Leanne Smith leads U.S. gold medalists at para swim worlds

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Leanne Smith has never competed at a Paralympics. Came into this week’s world championships with zero world medals. But she leaves London with three individual golds, most for any American, one year before the Tokyo Games.

Smith, 21, won the 150m individual medley, 50m breaststroke and 100m freestyle in her classification, all in American record times. The last two titles came on the final day of the seven-day meet on Sunday.

Smith, diagnosed with a rare neurological muscle disease called dystonia in January 2012, began swimming in 2013. By 2017, she broke a world record and then debuted at the world championships with a best individual finish of sixth.

The U.S. finished with 35 total medals and 14 golds, ranking sixth in the overall standings. Ukraine, usually strong at the Paralympics, led the way with 55 medals. Full results are here.

Jessica Long, the second-most-decorated U.S. Paralympian in history with 23 medals, earned six this week — five silvers and a bronze — to give her 52 career world championships medals.

Two-time Paralympian Mallory Weggemann earned two golds this week, giving her 15 world titles in three appearances (her others being in 2009 and 2010).

She won 50m titles in the butterfly and freestyle. Weggemann won a 2012 Paralympic 50m free title but was fortunate just to make it back for Rio after a 2014 accident that she said was harder to come back from than her teenage paralysis. She left Rio with no medals but a resolve to return for a third Games in Tokyo.

“I’m two seconds away from bursting into tears,” Weggemann said after winning the first of her two golds in the 50m fly, according to U.S. Paralympics. “I had a really rough go these past three years since Rio, so to finally be back after busting my butt to be here, and to be here in London of all places, is absolutely incredible.”

Fellow Rio Paralympians McKenzie Coan and Robert Griswold added two golds a piece.

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Heimana Reynolds wins skateboard world title, nears an Olympic goal from age 10

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In February 2009, a 10-year-old Heimana Reynolds was profiled by his local NBC TV station on Oahu.

“My goal is to become a professional skateboarder and compete in the X Games and the Olympics,” he said, according to the report.

Skateboarding would not be added to the Olympics for another seven years. But here Reynolds is, age 21, having just won the world title in park, one of two skateboarding events that debut at the Games in Tokyo.

Reynolds, who wasn’t named to the four-man U.S. national team in March, consolidated his lead in the Olympic qualification rankings by prevailing over a pair of Brazilians in Sao Paulo on Sunday.

A shirtless Reynolds scored 88 points in the final, beating Luis Francisco (85.50) and Pedro Quintas (85).

No more than three Americans can make the Olympic team in the event, which will make it difficult if three-time Olympic halfpipe snowboarding champion Shaun White decides to continue his skateboarding pursuit. White was the sixth-best American, bowing out in the semifinals in 13th place on Saturday in just his second contest since returning to competitive skating last year.

Back to Reynolds. He grew up on the North Shore and attended the Punahou School, where Barack Obama is the most famous alum. His first name is Tahitian, reportedly referring to the power of Jesus’ crown of thorns.

Reynolds, the son of a surfer, proved a natural on land. After pre-teen media profiles, he blossomed into a world silver medalist last year. He won an Olympic qualifier in China in July to take the top spot in the Olympic rankings despite a best career X Games finish of sixth.

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