Looks like Tanith Belbin’s fall at last month’s world championships may have been the sign of (or catalyst for) deeper problems. U.S. Ice Dancing Champs Belbin and partner Ben Agosto have decided to leave their coaches Igor Shpilband and Marina Zoueva and the Arctic Figure Skating Club in Canton, Michigan where they have been training for ten years.
The pair will move to Pennsylvania and work with Natalya Linichuk, who is a former coach of 1994 and 1998 Olympic Ice Dance Champions Oksana Grishuk and Evgeny Platov.
Said Agosto of the move in the Detroit Free Press:
"It's been a rough couple of weeks," Agosto said. "After worlds, we were obviously disappointed with the result. We felt like we needed to take a step back a little bit and see where we are in our careers, and where we want to go and how we're going to get there. We did a lot of soul-searching. In the course of all that, thinking about it, we came to a decision that if we wanted to continue to compete and improve and be the best skaters we can be, it was time to make a change."
Belbin said: "It's a very emotional time. We've been here long enough to have really set down roots -- particularly, the past two years, I've made the best friends I've ever had in my life. Igor and Marina never gave us or anybody else less than their best."
Shpilband said: "They made a decision," Shpilband said. "They didn't ask what we thought about it. Tanith talked to me after worlds and said so many people had so many opinions and she was confused. I know it wasn't an easy world championships."
Although Belbin and Agosto are the reigning Olympic silver medalists, they haven’t been able to claim the gold in the Worlds or Olympics. Perhaps they think they need a change in order to get over that last hump. The Canton rink won’t be abandoned, however. Canadian World Silver Medalists Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir train there, as do U.S. Silver Medalists Meryl Davis and Charlie White.