Belbin and Agosto Take the Early Lead at Smart Ones Skate America

by Amy Partain
Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto
Photo by Paul Harvath

(10/21/04) - 2004 Smart Ones Skate America kicked off Thursday night in Pittsburgh, Pa., with the compulsory dance event. Defending champions Tanith Belbin & Ben Agosto of the U.S. started the competition with a solid Golden Waltz and will enter the original dance in first place.

"It is a difficult dance so it felt great to skate well," Agosto said. "We were comfortable and confident with it so we felt good."

Agosto said they feel a little more pressure coming into the competition as the reigning champions, but that it hasn't affected them greatly.

"We're confident in our programs and feel that all of the elements are as difficult as they can be," he said. Galit Chait and Sergei Sakhnovsky of Israel skated an aggressive compulsory dance and finished in second place. Their fast patterns earned them a score of 40.98.

Canadians Megan Wing and Aaron Lowe charmed the audience and the judges with their Golden Waltz. They had good expressions during their dance and related well to each other on the ice. They sit in third with a score of 36.65.

The other two U.S. dance teams sit in ninth and 10th place after the compulsory dance. Kendra Goodwin & Brent Bommentre felt good about their first outing in the senior Grand Prix Series. Their score in the compulsory dance was 25.72.

"We were really prepared, but of course we were a little nervous," Goodwin said.

Now they are looking forward to the rest of the competition. Bommentre said they enjoy skating to this year's original dance rhythms and that their free dance really plays to their strengths.

Loren Galler-Rabinowitz & David Mitchell were disappointed with their compulsory dance after a piece of fabric left on the ice stuck to Mitchell's blade. They finished with a score of 24.35.

"I had a piece of fabric stuck to the bottom of my blade, so the whole second pattern was bad," Mitchell said.

They finished the dance, then told the referee about the problem. Mitchell said they had experienced a similar situation at a Junior Grand Prix event a couple of years ago and were told to continue the dance, so they were afraid to stop their compulsory dance Thursday.

The original dance is set for Friday.