Tanith Belbin was born on July 11, 1984, in Kingston, Ontario. She was raised in Quebec, where she took up ice skating at the tender age of 2. She spent much of her pre-teen years practicing and perfecting her skating technique, and by the time she was 11, Tanith was competing as a pairs skater at the Canadian National Championships (where she won a silver medal as a novice).
Two years later, Tanith decided the time was right to take up ice dancing and devote herself to it full time. Her rigorous schedule found her balancing school and practice at the same time, but Tanith had the ambition and talent to excel at both. It was at that time that Tanith began the process of looking for a suitable partner to begin working on routines with, a search that would eventually lead her to the United States.
Tanith was introduced to an up-and-coming skater from the Chicago area named Ben Agosto on one fateful morning in 1998, and the two (along with their various coaches and managers) immediately noticed a connection. The decision was made for the pair to commence training in Detroit, which required Tanith to move from Canada without her mom and dad (her parents did join her a few months later, after her father was able to secure a transfer with his company).
In 2000, Tanith and Ben won their first major award — a bronze medal — at the World Junior Championships and went on to conquer an assortment of other prestigious competitions, including a silver medal at the World Senior Championships in 2005. In 2002, Tanith and Ben were a shoo-in for the Winter Olympic Games but were unable to participate due to Tanith’s Canadian citizenship. The same fate almost befell the pair for the 2006 games, but a bill passed in late 2005 finally allowed Tanith to successfully become a full-fledged American citizen.
In the compulsory dance portion of the competition, Tanith and Ben finished in sixth place — though the two eventually went on to finish second overall thanks to an effective original dance (in which the duo employed a sexy Latin routine). In the end, Tanith and Ben walked away from the 2006 Winter Olympic Games with a silver medal — marking the first time in 30 years that the United States has won a medal in ice dancing at the Games.
Though Tanith still has several years of competing ahead of her (she and Ben are a lock for the 2010 Winter Games), the athlete has already begun preparing for her post-retirement life. Having appeared in a made-for-television movie in her native Canada, Tanith is hoping to pursue a career in the arts once her skating career comes to an end.
For right now, though, Tanith — along with her longtime boyfriend and four cats and dogs — is content concentrating on her lucrative future as one of America’s best-known skaters.