Thrills and Spills

Feb. 27, 2006
Feb. 27, 2006

Table of Contents
Feb. 27, 2006

Leading Off
SI Players: Life On And Off The Field
SI Players
Auto Racing
College Basketball
Pro Football
2006 Olympics Turin

Thrills and Spills

As competitors literally fell by the wayside, new U.S. citizen Tanith Belbin and partner Ben Agosto tripped the light fantastic

SKATING a flamenco free dance that was by turns spirited and smoldering, Tanith Belbin, 21, and Ben Agosto, 24, clinched a silver medal in the ice dance competition on Monday night in Turin--the first Olympic medal for an American dance team since 1976 and the highest finish ever for a duo from North America.

This is an article from the Feb. 27, 2006 issue Original Layout

The winners, as usual, were Russian: two-time defending world champions Tatiana Navka and Roman Kostomarov. Elena Grushina and Ruslan Goncharov of Ukraine won the bronze. But Belbin and Agosto broke Europe's stranglehold on the event on the strength of an impassioned original dance on Sunday night as well as a stunning number of falls by top competitors during that program. In years past Belbin and Agosto's sixth-place standing after the compulsories would have spelled the skaters' doom, but in the new scoring system there was movement in each stage of the competition. None more so than in the original dance, during which three of the last five couples fell, helping Belbin and Agosto to shoot up to second heading into the free dance.

A native of Canada, Belbin hadn't expected to be eligible to compete in Turin. But she became an American citizen on Dec. 31, allowing the pair, who've been skating together since 1998, to represent the U.S. Said Belbin, "I know for a fact it will not take another 30 years for the next U.S. ice dancing medal." Sounds like they'll be back in 2010.

PHOTOHEINZ KLUETMEIERHOT STUFF After jumping in the standings during the original dance, Belbin and Agosto locked up silver with a steamy free dance.ILLUSTRATION