Monday, April 21, 2008

Coaching Swap!

After working with Marina Zoueva and Igor Shpilband for 10 years, Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto will begin training with Natalia Linichuk and Gennadi Karponosov at the IceWorks Skating Complex in Aston, PA.

Hard to imagine Tanith and Ben not in Detroit but I guess change is sometimes needed. However, if you're going to change coaches they didn't pick bad ones! The duo has coached champions such as two-time Olympic champions Oksana Grishuk and Evgeny Platov, two-time World champions Anjelika Krylova and Oleg Ovsiannikov, and two-time World champions Albena Denkova and Maxim Staviski (pre murder trial!).

You have to wonder if things were just getting a little crowded amongst Shpilband trainees. To put it in perspective, he and Marina coached half of the top six at World's this year! You also have to wonder if training mates, Virtue and Moir of Canada, silver medal to their fourth place finish jolted them a bit?

In statements from the duo, "They are a remarkable coaching pair, and we have great admiration for them," Agosto said. "We never would have achieved our current level of success without Igor and Marina, and we are very grateful for their friendship and their guidance over the past years," Belbin said.

Bigger picture, for the first time in a long time, the top six Ice Dance teams in the U.S. will all be coached by different coaches! Take a look:

Belbin and Agosto: Natalia Linichuk and Gennadi Karponosov
Davis and White: Marina Zoueva and Igor Shpilband
Gregory and Petukhov: Priscilla Hill
Navarro and Bommentre: Robbie Kaine
Samuelson and Bates: Iouri Tchesnitchenko and Yasa Netcheva
Wester and Barantsev: Nikolai Morosov

This is really unusual for U.S. Ice Dancing!

UPDATE: More on this story can be found by following this link!

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