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  1. #1

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    How Do You Rate Belbin & Agosto?

    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! 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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    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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    Quote Originally Posted by Cloudy_Gumdrops View Post
    I'm just curious what people think of Tanith and Ben as individual skaters.

    ....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.
    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 by Carmen Ovsiannikov; 06-06-2012 at 08:12 AM.

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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.

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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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RumbleFish View Post
    Despite what some people say, I thought Delschoes deserved bronze medal at Vancouver, not them or Domshabs.


    Now back to the B&A thread.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RumbleFish View Post
    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.

    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tak View Post
    Would that be as some kind of lifetime achievement award? Because I dont think they looked that good in Vancouver.
    Neither did any of the teams outside of the top two. 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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tak View Post
    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.
    Now this I agree with.
    I guess the hard thing for a lot of people to accept is why God would allow me to go running through their yards, yelling and spinning around.


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    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. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tak View Post
    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.
    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 by RumbleFish; 06-06-2012 at 03:39 PM.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by RumbleFish View Post
    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.
    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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    Quote Originally Posted by Macassar88 View Post
    Eh... I felt like they needed more time to let their free dance mature. The costume change thing was really awkward.
    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.

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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.

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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

    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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by briancoogaert View Post
    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.
    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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    Quote Originally Posted by kwanette View Post
    I cringed when I saw the costumes and programs for the 10 Oly. Linnichuk did them no favors.
    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.

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