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Category: Tanith Belbin & Ben Agosto

Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto: Telling a story through dance

Ice dancers use lifts and ballroom dance-like spins rather than the jumps and throws done by pairs skaters. Ben Agosto and Tanith Belbin, silver medalists at the 2006 Olympics, intertwine balletic skating with complex lifts in their routines.

Flatt, Nagasu finish 1-2 in nationals; Cohen a distant fourth

Flatt2_300 There could hardly have been a more dramatic series of story lines for the women’s free skate final Saturday night at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships.

Would Sasha Cohen’s comeback end as brilliantly as she started it while finishing second in the short program Thursday?

Could the ingenue champion of 2008 and short program winner, Mirai Nagasu, complete her return from a wilderness of self doubt.

Would reliable Rachael Flatt live up to that reputation?

Could Ashley Wagner rally from fourth and fulfill the tweet in which she somehow found watching the movie, "Titanic," had inspired her not to go down without a fight?

The answers including a resounding yes for Nagasu and Flatt, who should have earned the two women’s spots on the U.S. Olympic team.

Wagner put up a good fight, and Cohen simply was underwhelming.

Flatt won the title with 200.11 points. Nagasu was second at 188.78, Wagner third at 184.70 and Cohen fourth at 174.28.

"It is stressful, but I think I handled it very well," Flatt. "It was so much fun. I’m still shaking."

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Ouch! Wisdom tooth knocks Belbin-Agosto from Grand Prix skate final

Last year, it was his back injury.

This year, it is her wisdom tooth.

The result is the same:  ice dancers Tanith Belbin and her partner, Ben Agosto, are out of the Grand Prix Final in figure skating.

And could they miss the U.S. Championships from Jan. 22-24 as well?  That seems unlikely.

Under U.S. Figure Skating rules, the five-time national champions still could -- and would -- be selected for the 2010 Olympic team even if they miss the U.S. Championships, provided they show fitness before February's Winter Games.

Agosto's injury kept them from competing at nationals a year ago, but they still were selected for the world team and wound up with a silver medal at the world championships. They also won silver at the 2006 Olympics.

The couple withdrew from next week's GP Final in Tokyo after Belbin needed surgery today for an infected wisdom tooth.  According to a USFS statement, Belbin's oral surgeon advised her to avoid strenuous activity for at least a week.

-- Philip Hersh

Photo: Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto, shown after winning gold at Skate America on Nov. 14, are sidelined by her tooth problem. Credit: Getty Images / Matthew Stockman


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