Belbin and Agosto Withdraw From Grand Prix Final Due To Injury
|Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto|
Photo by Michelle Wojdyla
(12/12/06) - U.S. Figure Skating announced today the withdrawal of ice dancers Tanith Belbin & Ben Agosto from the ISU Grand Prix Final this weekend in St. Petersburg, Russia, due to injury. During practice on Monday, Dec. 11, Agosto was lifting Belbin when he injured his back, causing a thoracic and lumbar strain. A full recovery is expected after one to two weeks of physical therapy and no lifting.
“I am very disappointed that we will not be able to compete at the Grand Prix Final,” Agosto said. “We have really been working hard to prepare for this event and were looking forward to showing everyone another step forward in our skating this year from the Cup of Russia. Now the focus has to change to recovery so that we can be prepared for the U.S. Championships.”
Belbin & Agosto, the 2006 Olympic silver medalists, competed at the 2006 Marshalls U.S. Figure Skating Challenge on Sunday, Dec. 10. At the fan-voting event, they performed their tango original dance during the live ABC broadcast. They were scheduled to leave for Russia on Tuesday, Dec. 12, and were getting in one last practice on Dec. 11 when Agosto's injury occurred.
“Ben is currently suffering from back spasms in his mid- and lower-back regions, specifically in the left hip flexors and trunk rotators,” Dr. Stephen Goldman of Novi, Mich., said. “Due to the nature of this injury, I have instructed him that he cannot perform lifts with his partner for one to two weeks.”
Belbin & Agosto qualified for the Grand Prix Final by medaling at their two Grand Prix Series assignments this season. They finished second at the Cup of China behind the Russian team of Oksana Domnina & Maxim Shabalin, and then finished first at the Cup of Russia, beating their Russian opponents by one point.
“Of course, injuries are expected as a part of any sport, and we have been very fortunate with our good health this season up to this point,” Belbin said. “We are experienced enough to know how to handle these bumps in the road patiently and move on from them with confidence. I do believe that everything happens for a reason, so we will now shift our competitive focus to the U.S. Championships as our next event. We thank everyone for their support during Ben's recovery.”
The three-time U.S. ice dancing champions last competed at the Grand Prix Final in 2004, when they finished second. They have won two World medals and three Four Continents titles.