They were a little worried, and a little harried, but Tanith and Ben arrived just fine.
Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto, the most decorated U.S. ice dancers in history, delayed by the record-setting snowstorms that have buried the Mid-Atlantic states since Friday, landed in Vancouver via Los Angeles just after 10 a.m. PST today – minutes before their scheduled press conference and about 6 hours before Opening Ceremonies.
Really, it wasn’t all that bad for them.
Their original flight, scheduled to depart at 6 a.m. yesterday, was cancelled Monday as the region braced for a fresh deluge. They then were booked on “a dozen” rolling flights throughout the day, Agosto said, beginning in the afternoon. That included a possibility of taking a train to Boston.
They spent the afternoon at their practice rink, receiving updates from their travel agent. It came in the late afternoon: 6 p.m. it was. They buzzed to the airport, where they waited a while longer. Finally, their 6 p.m. flight out of Philadelphia to Los Angeles took off just before 9 p.m., and they were off.
Three hours of sleep in LA, and they hopped a flight to Vancouver. Had they missed their last option – 6 a.m. today, out of Philadelphia – they would have waited until Monday to travel. They do not compete until Friday.
As it was, they landed, deplaned, rushed to their rooms at the Olympic Village, dropped off their stuff and scooted over to their press conference.
They then returned to the village to decompress for a hour before the prepared for the Parade of Nations.
It was downtime well-earned.
They each live about 20 minutes from Aston, Pa., where they train at IceWorks. Agosto has a small SUV but Belbin, who drives a small, sporty sedan, needed a friend with a four-wheel-drive to ferry her to practice Tuesday and Wednesday. They had to park at their cars on the street; the rink’s lot was unplowed.
Their costumes were supposed to be finished last week, but, when they visited their costumer in Brooklyn, N.Y., things were not satisfactory. The new duds were scheduled to be delivered Tuesday, but the costumer couldn’t get through the snow. The costumes finally arrived yesterday, when the costumer’s assistant trained to Philadelphia.
Just in time.
Belbin doesn’t usually have a roommate. When arrived at her suite today, she was happy to have one.
Flamboyant figure skater and Team USA Johnny Weir had decorated with Audrey Hepburn prints and had deodorized the digs, apparently with candles and other implements.
“He said it smelled like wet dog,” Belbin said of the newly-constructed condos.
Weir also put away her clothes. Nice, considering her harrowing trek to the great Wet North.
Their room, Belbin explained, actually is two rooms with a shared common area – a suite, actually. She asked for a single, and this was as close as she could get; no problem since she and Weir are fast friends since their days skating in juniors thanks to the intimacy of the elite skating world.
And, while she’s a Hepburn fan, she said she’d asked Weir for some Cher on the walls, too.
“He said he didn’t have time to shop before he left,” Belbin said. “But he’d get some here.”
Belbin does not room with Agosto when they travel.
Agosto’s roommate here, figure skater Jeremy Abbott, did not decorate or deodorize.