BELBIN AND AGOSTO WITHDRAW FROM 2009 GRAND PRIX FINAL



COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Nov. 24, 2009) – Five-time U.S. ice dancing champions Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto announced today they will not compete at the 2009 International Skating Union (ISU) Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final in Tokyo, Japan, Dec. 3-6, due to illness.



Belbin has been suffering from an infected wisdom tooth that required immediate oral surgery to avoid medical complications. Her oral surgeon advised her to avoid strenuous activity for at least one week following the surgery.



“Tanith had been attempting to control the infection with antibiotics, but, unfortunately, surgery became necessary in order to prevent more serious problems,” Agosto said. “The surgery was completed today, and it will be about a week before she can return to full training."



Belbin and Agosto said they are confident that they will be ready to compete at the 2010 AT&T U.S. Figure Skating Championships, Jan. 14-24, in Spokane , Wash.



"Tanith and I are very disappointed that we won't be able to compete at the Grand Prix Final,” said Agosto. “As soon as Tanith is ready, we’ll be back on the ice and training for U.S. Championships in January.”



Belbin and Agosto are four-time World medalists, winning silver in 2005 and 2009, and bronze in 2006-07. They also won silver at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Torino , Italy . The team trains in Aston , Pa. , under the direction of former Olympic champions Natalia Linichuk and Gennadi Karponosov.