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February 09, 2006 - Image 19

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2006-02-09

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To Life!


Gabriella Burman

Special to the Jewish News

ith its emphasis on
romance and drama,
ice dancing has often
been viewed by Americans as an
"after-dinner mint" to follow the
serious sport of figure skating.
But it is expected to be the can't-
miss event when the 2006
Winter Olympic Games begin
Feb. 10.in Turin, Italy.
American ice dancing pair
Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto
deerves much of the credit for
this turnaround. Americans like
to celebrate sports in which they
excel, and Belbin and Agosto,
three-time U.S. National
Champions and the 2005 World
Champion Silver medalists, are
expected to win a medal.
But while their appearance in
Turin is exciting, the triumphant
return of athlete Jamie
Silverstein — and story behind
her absence — is shinihg new
light on the sport.
For starters, Silverstein, a
graduate of Bloomfield Lahser
High School, wasn't supposed to
make the Olympic team. A little
more than a year ago, she wasn't
even skating. She was a student
at Cornell University in New
York, and her ice skates were
moldy and rusted in the trunk
of her car.
But Silverstein, who had left
the sport in 1999 to overcome an
eating disorder, couldn't get
skating out of her head.
"I was enjoying my classes,
but nothing at school was as
personal to me as skating had
been:' Silverstein, 22, said. "I felt
I hadn't left the sport on my own
terms, and I didn't want to stay
away simply out of fear."
In December 2004, after much
consideration, she packed her
bags, left the dorm and returned
home to Bloomfield Township,
where she lives with her mother,
She then called her former
coach, Igor Shpilband, director
of ice dancing at the Arctic Edge
Arena in Canton.
"I thought it was April Fool's
Day:' Shpilband admitted. "But
while I was surprised, I was also
excited. I felt she hadn't fulfilled


Jamie Silverstein and

Ryan O'Meara on the ice

Regaining on page 20


February 9 • 2006


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