Friday, February 19, 2010

Friday Hot: Ice Dancer Tanith Belbin


with partner Ben Agosto: they begin competition tonight.

Fun fact about Tanith Belbin: though born in Canada, she skates for the U.S.A.

Fun fact #2: she dated 2010 Mens Figure Skating Gold Medalist Evan Lysacek.

Fun fact #3: her mom makes many of her outfits

... though Mom did scrimp on the material for that Mens Health photo shoot.

Interesting note about the 2006 Olympic Silver Medalist: she and Ben changed coaches in summer 2008, and one of the first thing the new coaches said was
"Gain weight."
Tanith added
10 pounds.
It made her a faster and more fluid skater. It enabled her to control her body better when she was being held in the air.

Linichuk and Gennadi Karponosov, who were the 1980 Olympic ice dancing champions, began coaching Belbin and Agosto in the summer of 2008, when Belbin and Agosto left suburban Detroit for a fresh start.

Linichuk took one look at the 5-foot-6, 105-pound Belbin and said, “You need to gain 10 pounds.” She said more muscle would help Belbin skate faster and more fluidly.

“At first, I said no way, but then I started to understand that it needed to be done,” said Belbin, who is from Kirkland, Quebec, but holds dual citizenship. “I don’t feel like I had a safe, well-thought-out or well-researched diet until the past few years, until Natalia gave me that ultimatum.”


She never binged, purged or used laxatives, she said, but she restricted her calories to the minimum. She would eat a small breakfast, then later snack on celery or a few almonds to get her through the day. After practices, she was too weak to lift her arms. Once in her apartment, she would stare blankly ahead, sapped of energy.

When she could not control her hunger, she would eat a huge dinner and find herself two pounds heavier. It horrified her.

“I thought I was out of control and that the weight gain must be my fault,” she said. “I was like, I’m eating nothing and I’m still not losing weight. I swear, I’m not eating anything and I’m exhausted and cranky and stressed and all of those things that make you gain weight even more.”

Judges would pull Belbin aside. “They would say to me: ‘Are you O.K.? Are you eating enough?’ ” Belbin recalled. “But I never really understood what they were implying because they never came out and said that I looked too thin.”


Belbin began marveling at her new body. She had gained 10 pounds. Her waist size increased two inches because her core was so much stronger.

Agosto could see a huge difference in Belbin’s skating. During lifts, she was no longer a sack of potatoes, holding on for dear life. She could hold her positions much better, and that made it easier for Agosto because she did not move around as much.

Red cowgirl dress photo by Skate Today.

Roping photo by Alex, of Progressive Skating Gymnastics Spectacular, Dec 2008, Rapid City, SD

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