Mary Buckheit checks up on previous winners of Page 2's Hottest Female Athlete award.
Page 2's Mary Buckheit has an affinity for all things vintage. So this year it's in with the old! While everybody else is busy sniffing out the hottest will-be faces of the year, MB throws it back.
With a three-fingered girl scout salute, she sings "Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver, the other gold." And really, who would want to lose touch with Amanda Beard, Tanith Belbin, Heather Mitts and Jennie Finch?
Rather than search for some new flash in the pan, we made Mary catch up with the timeless babes gone by.
Today's installment: Tanith Belbin -- Page 2's Hottest Female Athlete 2006.
America waited a long time for Tanith Belbin to come along. Last year in Torino, Page 2's reigning Hottest Female Athlete won the United States' first Olympic medal in ice dancing in 30 years.
Paul Harvath photography
The Olympics may come just once every four years, but Tanith Belbin always stays busy on and off the ice.
As is the case with Olympians, Tanith is now sitting in the middle of a four-year holding pattern, anxiously awaiting a little trip to Vancouver in 2010.
Fortunately for you, Page 2 is nothing like the IOC, and Mary has the attention span of a 6-year-old. She wasn't about to wait another three years to talk to the sexiest thing on two skates, so she decided to call up Ms. Belbin, now 22, and see what she has been up to since they last sat down. Here's the up-to-the-minute skinny on the lady in red.
Mary: Well, you've served your term, Tan.
Tanith: I know, I can't believe it. It doesn't seem like it's been that long. Time's been flying by.
What's new? Last we talked, I think you were settling into your new place in Michigan.
Well, I didn't settle very much, or for very long at least. Straight from the Olympics, I went into training for the World Championships. A lot of people post-Olympics opt not to do this because you're so spent after the Games, but [skating partner Ben Agosto] and I decided to go for it, and we got another world medal there. Next, we went directly to the Champions on Ice Tour, which is a show in a different city almost every night for five months.
So you must tell me your three favorite cities to party in?
No. 1 is Boston -- always Boston. That's my favorite city in the country. No. 2 is New York, and the third is L.A. I was on the road coast to coast from April to August, so I saw them all.
Well that explains it. We were checking up on you through your official Web site, and when there was only one blog entry all year, we worried that you eloped, or something.
Belbin was stunning as usual at
the Arby's Action Sports Awards
in November in Burbank, Calif.
You're a jeans connoisseur. What's the denim of the year?
Oooh, my favorites are my Rogan jeans. I love them.
So anyway, you were a fashion and entertainment anchor. Where do you stand with that?
I was thinking about a one-year contract with "Good Morning America," but we decided that I couldn't quite handle it in the fall/winter season while I'm competing, so that's on hiatus. That was great while it lasted. Then I signed with Ford Models in New York, and I've just been going ever since. Now we're gearing up for our next skating competition that's just two weeks away.
I read that Ben had a back injury, and you guys had to pull out of a competition recently. What's the scoop?
When we came home in August, we were three months behind in our training, so we jumped right in to try and prepare for the season ahead. We competed on the Grand Prix Circuit in China and Russia, and we got first and second at those events. We went on to compete in the final, but unfortunately that's when Ben's back was bothering him, so we had to pull out. He's completely healed now, totally fine. It wasn't a severe injury. Thankfully it was just one that kept him from lifting me, so we
So you took the necessary precautions so as not to have Page 2's reigning queen dropped! We should probably invest in a tricked-out Popemobile for our reigning queens. Safety first.
Paul Harvath photography
Since finishing third at last year's World Championships, Belbin and Ben Agosto placed first in the U.S. Championships and second in the Four Continents Championships.
So when's the last time somebody called you out as ESPN's hottie of the year?
[Laughing] Seriously, throughout the tour, so many people were coming up and recognizing me just for being on your poll. It was funny. I'm very lucky to have this on my list of accomplishments. A lot of the guys whose girlfriends dragged them to the show and who weren't into figure skating would come backstage and say, "We saw you on ESPN's Web site!" So it was a lot of fun, and it's really nice to be able to claim something so different.
Is it hard to stay focused on skating when the Olympics are so far away?
Yes, definitely. My New Year's resolution is to be more patient, which I think is going to come in handy between now and 2010. To be honest, Ben and I are planning on retiring after 2010, and then I hope to get into a broadcasting career. So I'm always thinking about the future and trying to align myself for that, but right now my life is still completely dedicated to skating. I don't feel like I'm finished yet. I'll just keep going till I feel like I am.
Amanda Beard told me she took two years away from the pool after the Olympics, could you do that?
Well, we had options after the Olympics. Everything was in our court, and we had a really big decision to make. We could jump right back in it. We could take the year off. We could just stop right there and retire. I just felt like -- and Ben and I feel the same way -- if I had stopped skating, I would have been drawn to something else. I know that I can't just sit. I need work, and I need something to work my butt off for. I really feel that if I had decided to stop skating after the Olympics, I would have rolled right into something different full-time, and I wouldn't be able to go back. As long as I feel like I still have something to accomplish in this sport, I will not stop, because when I do, I know I'll be off in another direction.
We'll keep you on a short leash!
Yes, I need it!
When's the last time you worked out?
Thirty minutes ago.
Hmm. OK, well when's the last time you went on a date? We've just got to make sure you're taking some time for yourself.
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images
Belbin intends to compete until 2010 before looking into opportunities in broadcasting.
Tanith! Last time we talked you were single. We can't keep you ladies on the shelves!
I know, I was! We don't like to stay single for too long!
Is he an athlete?
Will you divulge the sport?
Is he a professional athlete?
Fair enough. We won't pry. We'll just stalk you! How long have you been together?
Umm. One, two I haven't done this yet. It's been about nine months.
Well, if it gets serious, you better tell us! We have rights to that, I think.
OK, I think so too. You'll be the first to know!
I know, how about you tell us who you think the hottest professional athlete is. For the poll, of course.
Ahh, I don't knoooow! I can't be so free with my answers anymore! I think I should stay off that subject.
Fine. Well, you leave me no choice but to resort to the good-old generic stock questions. That's always a big draw. So Tanith, what's on your iPod?
[Laughing] You know I just fished my iPod out of the washing machine last night! I thought I had lost it, but I went to change my clothes over to the dryer and there it was. It's definitely not working anymore.
We'll end with a layup, then. What's your cell phone ringtone?
"Let's Get It On."
And just like that, ladies and gentlemen, Tanith proves she is a timeless classic.
Mary Buckheit is a Page 2 columnist and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.