How Do You Rate Belbin & Agosto?

Discussion in 'The Trash Can' started by Cloudy_Gumdrops, Jun 6, 2012.

  1. Cloudy_Gumdrops

    Cloudy_Gumdrops New Member

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    I'm just curious what people think of Tanith and Ben as individual skaters. I know a lot of people seem to think Tanith is the worst female ice dancer evah! :p and all, but as an honest assessment, how do you rank Tanith and Ben against the other female and male dancers of their era?

    I personally feel Ben was right up there with the likes of Schoenfelder and Stavisky.

    Tanith was on the weaker side, but I don't feel she was a female Goncharov either. I always felt she got an unfair rap esp. considering others that have a lot of the same issues that she had never got the same sort of vitriol thrown at them.
     
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  2. Tak

    Tak Well-Known Member

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    I would rate them as good, but not great. I think they were better earlier in their career than later on. Maybe that was because for a time they were technically superior and faster than other teams. imo they stood out because of this. As the other teams got better they kind of lost this advantage. They didnt seem able to take it to the next level - Im not sure why.

    I think I would have liked them better if they had a different style. I remember their early work as being kind of ballroom/floor based - not the kind of stuff I like or tend to remember much. Later on they did seem to be aiming for something different, but Im not sure they really understood what they were doing. My favorite program from them was the Chopin one. It's the one I remember most. I think they had a good chance to win that year if she didnt fall in the CD.

    So I guess bad luck and bad timing play into it as well with them.
     
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  3. Carmen Ovsiannikov

    Carmen Ovsiannikov Well-Known Member

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    :scream: and :lol:

    I agree with your assessment of both Tanith and Ben. Ben was the stronger member of the team but Tanith wasn't as weak as many make her out to be.

    I think Ben was one of the best male skaters in the field during the time he and Tanith skated as amateurs but at times I feel as if in a way the same thing happened to him that happened to Sergei Sakhnovski. Even his skating wasn't fully appreciated by the "end." A type of guilty by association thing.

    For the majority of their amateur careers with both C&S and B&A, people did have some issues with the female partner but recognized the talent in the male partner. For C&S after the 2002 Worlds controversy and with B&A especially beginning with the 08/09 season both teams were so disliked that I felt as if even praise for the male partners had sort of trickled off. When people spoke of both of those teams, it was that the team in general was lacking.

    While I don't think that Ben was quite as good as Maxim Staviski I do think that he was equal to Olivier Shoenfelder but in different ways. Ben's basic skating skills were excellent. Great edges and knee bend, excellent speed as well as being smooth and polished. I admit that pre-Linichuk when B&A were performing their straight line sequences, my eyes would go to Ben. Unlike Olivier, Ben IMO had much better connection to his partner and a larger range of expression.

    One of my all time favorite moments during the Torino coverage was when Tracy hosted the practice footage and pre-event analysis. It made my day when she pointed out what an amazing skater Ben was. I disagree that all Tanith brought to team B&A was her beauty but at times especially with the mainstream press that was what was emphasized.

    I would rank Ben alone closer to the top when ranking the men than I would place Tanith in the field of female dancers.

    The feeling that I get from reading FSU since the 09/10 season is that there have been alot of new comers both to the board and to watching icedancing in general. IMO that some of those people never saw early B&A might be effecting how they see them as a team in general.

    Going back to B&A's first few programs, Tanith was always a good, solid skater. She could match Ben in both speed and difficulty. She also had the potential to have developed into a more mature and elegant skater much sooner than she did. Those things were already present in her skating; just watch Un Vie D'amour and Four Seasons. Tanith's basics were also very good but not perfect; if you look at early Tanith she could be elegant and graceful with the use of her arms and hands. All she needed was to remember to complete those moves; stretch just that much more and point those toes. Even in lifts her back was straight and the legs were straight. Once again the issue was that she needed to learn to just go that much further with it. You can see it on tape but especially in still photos.

    Looking back, I feel conflicted about the decision for B&A to become the perky team with loads of difficulty. On the one hand, it worked for them. It was during the perky era that the medals (including that Olympic silver) started coming in but OTOH, it caused Tanith to temporarily put aside the need to continue to work on her basic skating skills. I do feel that Tanith recognized that was something she needed to do because I felt the improvements began once more pre-Linichuk beginning with the Amelie program and continuing with Chopin. However I wonder how different things might have been if the perky years hadn't happened. What if B&A had continued with the type of programs they began their careers together with and with a coach encouraging the continued improvement of those basics.

    The massive weight loss beginning with the run up to Torino didn't help either. Tanith herself commented on her lack of strength which IMO resulted in her losing the speed and ability to easily do difficulty that she originally had.

    Anyway, I don't think Tanith was the best female dancer in the field. That honor probably would have gone to someone like Tatiana Navka, Oksana Domnina, Elena Grushina, Isabelle Delobel or Tessa Virtue. However, Tanith was far from the worst in the field. I would say she was right under the top female dancers. In addition to overall being a good, solid dancer she also had more range than she got credit for. She seemed to get typecast as perky but I found that my favorite B&A's programs were those that were decidedly non-perky.

    Cloudy_Gumdrops, I agree with your comment about Tanith getting an unfair rap in comparison to other female skaters who had the same issues she did or worse. Those women have been received much better than Tanith and in some cases are considered great skaters.
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2012
  4. Cloudy_Gumdrops

    Cloudy_Gumdrops New Member

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    Sakhnovsky was an excellent skater. It's a pity he seems forgotten.

    Looking back at 98-06 it seems to me like there were a ton of lopsided teams. Teams like A&P and Delobel/Schoenfelder who were pretty equal was actually the rarity. Okay, so that's off topic, but after seeing Carmen mention C&S, I went and looked at some old results for some reason and seeing all of those teams listed just made me think about it.
     
  5. RumbleFish

    RumbleFish New Member

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    I don't think they deserved any of their medals at Olys or Worlds.
    Despite what some people say, I thought Delschoes deserved bronze medal at Vancouver, not them or Domshabs.
     
  6. casken

    casken Well-Known Member

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    :40beers:

    Now back to the B&A thread. :shuffle:
     
  7. Tak

    Tak Well-Known Member

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    Would that be as some kind of lifetime achievement award? Because I dont think they looked that good in Vancouver. The Olympics before that is a different story - I definitely thought they "wuz-robbed" there.
     
  8. casken

    casken Well-Known Member

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    Neither did any of the teams outside of the top two. :lol: At least DelSchoe had choreography and transitions. They 100% should have been 3rd in the OD, there's nothing that will change my mind about that.
     
  9. Ozzisk8tr

    Ozzisk8tr Well-Known Member

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    Now this I agree with.
     
  10. Artifice

    Artifice Guest

    I always thought this pair didn't reach the next level that they seemed promised to considering their early successes. I don't know why it happened that way, but to me they seemed to have stopped their improvment at some point, letting others pass them.

    Was it a coaching problem ? A potential issue (like reaching their peak very early) ? A motivation issue ? I don't know but considering how fast they improved at a young age, I would have thought they could have gone further in their development.
     
  11. RumbleFish

    RumbleFish New Member

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    Compared to how they did in 08 Worlds, Delschoes were not as good. But they were still much better than B/A and Domshabs in Vancouver.

    They should have been 3rd in both OD and FD, only behind V/M and D/W. In compulsories, they were bettered by Domshabs and perhaps B/A as well, but their superb OD and FD should have given them enough margin to top Domshabs and B/A, who both skated empty programs in latter two-thirds of the competition.
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2012
  12. Macassar88

    Macassar88 Well-Known Member

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    Eh... I felt like they needed more time to let their free dance mature. The costume change thing was really awkward.
     
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  13. RumbleFish

    RumbleFish New Member

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    Well, I found it pretty entertaining. They were very good at using their costumes to give different looks.

    BTW, I feel bad for hijacking this thread. I hope we can go back to B/A.
     
  14. museksk8r

    museksk8r Holding an edge and looking dangerously sexy

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    My favorite program ever of them was the 2008 season FD. Unfortunately, Tanith's freak fall in the CD cost them any shot of a World Championship title and that year was their best shot at it, sadly. I REALLY felt so bad for them in that moment. :( I never liked any of their other FDs. Overall, I found them kind of overrated.
     
  15. nuge

    nuge Well-Known Member

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    That freak fall in the CD was very unfortunate they were looking great up until that point :(
    When they first came on the scene they were a little too perky of a team for my taste as I like dramatiks :lol:

    I really liked their Sarajevo Shadritza and Chopin FDS .On the whole though I liked their ODS more.Especially Let's get loud OD.
    They seem like really nice people too :)
     
  16. Cloudy_Gumdrops

    Cloudy_Gumdrops New Member

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    Okay, so I know thread drift is common on FSU, but I really did want people to rate Tanith and Ben as individual skaters and not rehash why they hated their programs and what medals they may or may not have deserved. Or even mention what programs they did like. That's what happens in every other thread to do with B&A and that's not what I wanted this one to be about.

    Course given the general sentiments about them around here, I suppose I should've expected it, so maybe I should just consider this a failed thread.
     
  17. Vash01

    Vash01 Fan of Julia, Elena, Anna, Liza, and Vera

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    I liked them a lot in the first half of their career than in the second half. First, it was exciting to see a real medal contender in ice dance from the USA. They were young and had much potential.

    Ben was a much better skater than Tanith, but she did improve. They did very well in the 2006 Olympics with a silver medal, but their performance at worlds the same year was less than spectacular. For me the turnoff in the last several years of their career was Tanith's inability to truly relate to the music. For example, she would smile while skating to a tragedy (Westside story).

    I don't think she ever caught up with Ben in skating skills and her over the top expression was another turnoff for me (even though I admit to being a fan of Krylova, who had that expression but she had great technical skills to go with it). I really liked the Chopin FD however. In 2009, they did well to come back from an injury and place 2nd at worlds. By that time the younger teams V&M and D&W were more exciting to watch, and I kind of just got away from B&A. I was never really their fan to begin with.

    I do give them credit for putting US ice dancing on the map at the international level. They started the revolution, and D&W won the first ice dance WC.
     
  18. briancoogaert

    briancoogaert Well-Known Member

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    They were so refreshing at the begining of their career. After, I think they didn't find a style that suited them, and I didn't like to watch any of their program.
    They were good and I always thought it was a shame that they didn't have good choreos.
     
  19. kwanette

    kwanette Fetalized since 1998

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    I pretty much agree with this.

    I always wanted them to do a free dance ala Wilson/McCall 88.

    I cringed when I saw the costumes and programs for the 10 Oly. Linnichuk did them no favors.
     
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  20. vivika1982

    vivika1982 Well-Known Member

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    ITA but not sure if the costumes were entirely her idea.As for the programs she didnt do them a favor at all.It was kind of disturbing and as much as she wanted to give them their own style both OD and FD(as a choreo) looked like replicas of some programs from Z/S period plus overdone expressions.
     
  21. kwanette

    kwanette Fetalized since 1998

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    Disturbing is a good word.

    It was sabotage...IMHO.
     
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  22. martyross

    martyross Active Member

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    I like "Ave Maria" a lot, always liked, ugly costumes or not. In the end costumes are just pieces of fabric; the way the bodies move and emote, that's what matter. And they emoted a lot, and Ben Agosto, as Carmen said, skated brilliantly. His stroking was a joy to watch. And it wasn't the costumes that denied them the bronze medal.
    it was a Russian type of program, kind of emphatic, true, but skated with sincerity and commitment to the concept.
    concept that could seem rather old-fashioned to an American audience, but as an European grown up dipped in Catholicism and Baroque, I could feel the vibes.
    and, ahem, the choreography was actually more interesting than the majority of Zueva/Shpilband's ones.
    In Vancouver, they lacked in spark maybe because of nerves, or because they knew they were being dumped by the judges, but anyway they did a really good job that night and it's a a little sad watching them now knowing how it ended.
     
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  23. vivika1982

    vivika1982 Well-Known Member

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    It is true. The clothes are just a piece of fabrics. Anyway the main question was "How do you rate B/A".It wasn’t about their fashion or skating styles and they define their appeal but not their ability.BTW when it comes to skating style I am lost because how many of Ice dance teams have their own unique style. IMHO in the last decade Anissina/Peizerat, Kerr’s, Pechalat/Bourzat, DenStas, DelShoes were the teams with certain style. Even for them I am not sure how correct is to say”their” style since in most cases the coaches and choreographers are creating the program. Of course the skaters have their fair share too but mainly it is a team work.
    Let’s get back to the topic. I’ve always admired B/A. I liked the combination of Ben’s charming and goofy approach and Tanith’s Holly Golightly likeness. Was Ben better skater than Tanith? Yes, he was but together they were maybe not the best but one of the best :) at least on my rating scale :p
     
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  24. sap5

    sap5 Well-Known Member

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    Ben is one of the best dancers on the ice I've ever seen -- and by that, I don't mean in the traditional "ice-dance" sense -- I mean in the club/hip hop dancing sense. I loved watching him in shows and group numbers because he always really got the rhythm and knew how to move to music. He was a lot of fun to watch.
     
  25. Carmen Ovsiannikov

    Carmen Ovsiannikov Well-Known Member

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    That was why I included the :scream: at the beginning of my answer. I would have been more surprised if the thread hadn't veered off in the direction that it has.

    I get that not everyone is going to like every team but somehow B&A have become one of the most reviled teams I've ever seen and some of the hatred for them seems OTT and way out of proportion to what they did on the ice or what Tanith and Ben's personalities were/are off the ice. I keep wondering if I missed something; if some people know something that I don't about B&A which would account for the complete distaste for them. Especially given that as Cloudy_Gumdrops said, there are teams who are competing at the present and teams who are no longer competing who had the same issues as B&A if not worse. It seems like a double standard.

    Usually with the passage of time, opinions change or at least soften. I've had teams whom I did not like or who had results I disagreed with but now looking back I can put things into perspective. I was wondering if that might happen with B&A but it seems the further away we get from the last Olympic quadrennial the more hated they become.

    Again, I'm not beggining people to love B&A but I'm just wondering what accounts for the degree of hate directed at them.
     
  26. gingercrush

    gingercrush New Member

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    I didn't like them. Ben was eww in every sense of the word and I didn't like her. I didn't like his look. He looked like he had watched every low-tier ice dancer there ever was and added a double dose of ugly. She skated with her arse sticking out.
     
  27. blue_idealist

    blue_idealist Well-Known Member

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    I never got the hate for them on this board. They're one of my favourite teams.
     
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  28. shady82

    shady82 Active Member

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    In terms of achievement and skill level, I'd put B/A on par with Bourne/Kraatz. B/K won the World title but not an Olympic medal, while B/A won an Olympic medal but not the World title. Their skill levels in relation to the rest of their field was pretty similar as well.

    I thought B/A was overrated during their early, 'perky' years. Their technical content, speed, and sharpness got them far during that time, though I felt they were overrated in Torino.

    After those years, Belbin worked on smoothing out her basics, and they had a couple really good, mature programs. However, I don't think they ever developed enough of a 'zing' to propel them to the top. Other teams caught up to them and exceeded them in terms of technical difficulty. Denkova/Staviski got to the top because of their outstanding, innovative style and technical capabilities. V/M reached the top because they were simply unsurpassed technically, and artistically rivaled the top teams. B/A were simply not strong enough technically and artistically at the same time to reach the top.

    Regardless, they plowed the way for U.S. ice dance, and should be really proud of what they accomplished.
     
  29. RumbleFish

    RumbleFish New Member

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    This pretty much sums up my assessment of B/A as well.
    I would say they weren't great, but good enough to lead discipline of ice dance in the U.S nevertheless.
     
  30. nuge

    nuge Well-Known Member

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