Russians Leading Ice Dance

All those slips and slides, and glares and stares, to a Latin beat made the genteel sport of ice dance look like roller derby.

In an event where nobody but nobody falls, just about all the contenders did in Sunday night's original dance. And the biggest beneficiary of the splatfest were Americans Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto.

The Americans jumped from sixth to second place, and back into medal contention, after two couples in front of them fell. Their score of 97.89 points left them 1.38 points behind two-time world champions Tatiana Navka and Roman Kostomarov of Russia.

More importantly, they will be just four minutes away from ending the United States' 30-year Olympic medal drought when they skate in the free dance Monday night.

"It's very exciting to be here, but at the same time, we have to work extra hard to keep our emotions under control," Agosto said.

Tell that to crowd favorites Barbara Fusar Poli and Maurizio Margaglio. They started the night in first place, much to the delight of the Italian, flag-waving crowd. They finished on their backsides, shaking up the standings and glaring at each other for several long seconds before taking a final bow.

The fall wasn't so bad, but the drama that followed was pure theater.

Fusar Poli and Margaglio were doing a lift when she seemed to get out of position, he lost his balance and they both crashed to the ice.

They got up, but instead of nodding to the judges and acknowledging the crowd, they stood apart and stared each other down. Neither was giving much ground and watching them made you wondered if fists would start flying, reports Washington Post.


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