Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Belbin, Agosto retire from competitive skating

Ice dancers Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto, the 2006 Olympic silver medalists and five-time U.S. champions, announced today their retirement from competitive skating after more than a decade of international competition.

"We have accomplished and surpassed so many of our goals, from participating in two Olympic Games to pushing ourselves and developing our skills in this sport we love so much," Belbin said. "We feel we can move on from our competitive careers without regret."

Belbin and Agosto are four-time world medalists, winning silver in 2005 and 2009 and taking the bronze in 2006 and 2007. From 2004-08, they won a record-tying five consecutive U.S. titles.

"The world of skating has given us so much, the most valuable of which being the friendships and 'family' we have developed over the years," Agosto said. "As we move forward with new career paths and ambitions, we will forever take with us these cherished relationships and the life lessons skating have taught us."

Belbin and Agosto trained with Igor Shpilband and Marina Zoueva in Canton, Mich., from 1998-2008. In 2008, the team moved its training base to the IceWorks Skating Complex in Aston, Pa., to train under 1980 Olympic champions Natalia Linichuk and Gennadi Karponosov.

Their final competitive season saw the team win gold at 2009 Cancer.Net Skate America and at the Cup of China. Their silver-medal finish at the 2010 AT&T U.S. Figure Skating Championships helped earn them a trip to the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, British Columbia, where they finished fourth.

"We would like to thank our coaches, family, friends, fans and U.S. Figure Skating for their endless support throughout our journey," Belbin said.

The team recently completed the 2010 Smucker's Stars on Ice tour and plans on continuing to skate together professionally.

"Giving back to this sport and everyone who has supported us will remain a top priority for us far beyond our time on the ice," Belbin said.

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