Is it just me, or has this been the weirdest season for injuries in a very, very long time?
For those of you who haven't heard yet, Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto, the reigning (for five years!) US Champions in ice dancing, have withdrawn from US Nationals due to a back injury suffered by Agosto at the Grand Prix Final (they withdrew from that after the original dance).
I don't even know what to say to this (other than it's absolutely horrible). The ice dancing portion of the competition is going to have a huge, obvious hole in it--Belbin and Agosto have really been the face of what was previously America's least popular type of skating (until they showed up). After changing coaches over the summer, they've been noticibly changing up their style and working towards gold in Vancouver. They've basically been using this season to work out all of the kinks and issues in their skating so that they'll be perfect for 2010, and although they may not have had the Grand Prix season that they were hoping for, they've definitely been showing improvement.
If Ben's back heals, we're probably going to see them in March for the World Championships in Los Angeles (here's hoping that they'll make it to the Worlds that's happening in their home country). They've asked to be considered to the World team, and they'll most likely be added--the US has three spots at this year's Worlds, so it's likely that gold and silver at Nationals will go and bronze will be replaced by Belbin and Agosto.
On the other hand, this puts some serious pressure on Belbin and Agosto's former training mates, Meryl Davis and Charlie White. They're now the serious favorites going into the competition, and I'm among the many B&A/D&W fans who are disappointed that they're won't be a big showdown at Nationals between the two teams. I (personally) prefer Davis and White as a team, but I would have prefered for them to win against a high level of competition. The battle for silver, however, will still be a big competition to watch.
And, in an effort to not be so American-centric, the World Champions, Delobel and Shoenfelder, are out of the European Championships. I have been following this story as closely, but, seriously, one of these days a competition is going to come up and no one will be there because everyone's been injured.
Here's hoping that everyone is up and about by the time the World Championships in Los Angeles come around!