Tanith Belbin – America’s Ice Princess

Tanith BELBIN was born on 11th July 1984 in Kingston, Ontario, Canada into a skate oriented family. Her mother Michele, was a former skating coach and costume designer and introduced Tanith to the ice when she was just 3 years old. She took up ice dancing early on but switched to pairs skating at the age of 10 when she couldn’t find a suitable dance partner. From that point, Tanith enjoyed competitive success winning a silver medal at the novice level at the Canadian Nationals. As she grew up, Tanith reverted to ice dancing. She met her new dance partner, Benjamin Agosto, in 1998 when she moved to Michigan. Agosto was a Chicago native who also shared Tanith’s passion for the ice. They met after their respective coaches discussed a potential partnership. With instant chemistry and a two hour tryout, Tanith and Ben teamed up to begin an amazing rise to fame and fortune.

In the early 2000’s, Tanith BELBIN and Ben Agosto achieved some international success, earning several medals in the World Junior Championships and Senior World Championships. However, because Tanith was not a U.S. citizen, the duo were unable to represent the USA in the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, Utah. Although discouraged, they continued their winning streak. In the 2005 – 2006 season, Tanith and Ben dominated many major competitions, achieving 1st place in the U.S. ChampionshipsGrand Prix, and Skate America. They also rose to international fame with second place at the World Championship. With these successes, Tanith and Ben qualified to be part of the U.S. Olympic team for the 2006 games in Torino, Italy.

THE ICE PRINCESS Photo © Paul Harvath

Since the 2006 Winter Games, Tanith and Ben have skyrocketed to international fame both on and off the ice. In the 2007 – 2008 season, they have continued their success on ice, winning their 5th consecutive U.S. Championship title, tying the record with only 4 other U.S. ice dancing couples. Off the ice, Tanith has been earning rave reviews in the entertainment field. She has recently been pursuing her dream job as a broadcast journalist and is now under contract with Good Morning America as a contributing reporter. As Tanith’s fame has spread, she still is able to carry on enjoying her other interests. She lives in the Detroit area as does Ben Agosto, near their practice rink in Canton where they are trained hard for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. When not on the ice, Tanith spends time with her family and friends or doing the things she loves including bike riding, cooking and shopping, and continuing to fulfill her roles as America’s Ice Princess and The most famous BELBIN of them all. Good for you Tanith! The BELBINS are proud of you.

TANITH BELBIN Photo © Jim McGuire

With the Olympics around the corner, the pair started to get nervous about the idea that they might miss out on another opportunity.Tanith had lived in the United States since 1998, but because she started the citizenship process before new rules went into effect, her citizenship could not be obtained before 2007. But fate stepped in and on 31st December, 2005, a special act of Congress signed by President George W. Bush enabled Tanith to become a naturalized citizen. The duo were thus eligible to compete in the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy. And it was a good thing they were for on 20th February 2006, Tanith BELBIN and Ben Agosto won the silver medal in ice dancing, making them the first U.S. ice dancing team to win a medal in the Olympics since 1976.

Photo © Charles Belbin

Captain G.D. Belbin DSC, AM, RN

HMS PENELOPE was a 5,720 tonne Royal Naval cruiser which was built by Harland & Wolff in Belfast and launched in October 1935. She served pre and during World War II (1936 – 1944) and was torpedoed by German U-Boat U410 on the 18th February 1944 and sank off Anzio, Italy with the loss of 417 lives, including that of the Captain, G.D. BELBEN DSC AM RN. The Memory of those who died is preserved by an annual notice in the In Memoriam column of The Daily Telegraph and more particularly by The Penelope Association whose president is DAVID BELBEN, the son of Capt. BELBEN. In addition, on the south wall of the chancel at St. Ann’s Church, HM Dockyard, Portsmouth can be found a Roll of Honour memorial tablet with the inscription Roll of Honour HMS Penelope 18th February 1944 Constantia et Fide Captain G.D. BELBEN D.S.C. A.M. R.N. followed by a list of all 417 names.


The Times newspaper of 8th March 1944 contained an obituary which read as follows: 

CAPTAIN GEORGE DEVEREUX BELBEN, D.S.C., A.M., R.N. who was in command of H.M.S. Penelope, the loss of which was announced by the First Lord of the Admiralty yesterday, had been 34 years in the Navy. He was born on May 14, 1897, and entered Osborne College as a cadet in January 1910. During the last war he was a midshipman in the cruiser Cumberland in West Africa, the battleship Canada in the Grand Fleet, and sub-lieutenant in the Penelope (predecessor of the ship now sunk) in the Harwich Force. He volunteered for service in the raids on Zeebrugge and was in the blockship Thetis. It was due to his exertions that the captain and first lieutenant, who were disabled, with the ship’s company, after sinking their vessel got away in the one remaining cutter and pulled to a motor launch. He was awarded the D.S.C. in July 1918, for Zeebrugge, and the Albert Medal for gallantry in January, 1919.

He specialized in gunnery, and in 1929 graduated at the Staff College. In December 1931, he was promoted to commander, and for the next two years served with the League of Nations Commission. He was also Fleet Gunnery Officer, Home Fleet; commanded the destroyers Wishart and Daring in China; and from 1936 to 1939, when he was promoted to Captain, he was executive officer of the York, flagship on the American station. When the war broke out he was given command of the Canton, armed merchant cruiser, and he assumed command of the Penelope in August 1942, in succession to Captain A.D. Nicholl, who had been wounded during her service with the Malta Convoy. 

England’s Oldest Landlady

In the Daily Mail newspaper on 5th October, 2002, an article recorded the fact that ALFREDA BELBIN, aged 88, who was born on 19th May, 1914, was England’s oldest landlady. Freda got her licence in 1935 at the age of 21. Her mother and grandmother were publicans before her. She owned The Three Horseshoes, affectionately known as Freda’s, in Bishopstone, near Salisbury, Wiltshire but had recently given up the day to day running of the pub for health reasons. 

Tracey Belbin O.A.M., Australian Field Hockey Olympic Gold Medalist  


Tracey Lee BELBIN is a former field hockey player from Australia having been born on 24 June 1967 in Tingalpa, Queensland. She represented Australia at the 1988 Seoul Olympics in South Korea when she won a Gold Medal with the Women’s National Team (the Hockeyroos) and again represented Australia at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics finishing 5th overall. She went on to graduate in psychology from the University of Queensland in Brisbane in 1993. Later, she became a hockey coach working as an assistant for the South African Women’s Team. In January 1999, Tracey BELBIN became the Head Coach of the US Women’s Team , with whom she won a silver medal at the 1999 Pan American Games. She resigned as US Head Coach after the 2002 Women’s Hockey World Cup. Tracey was awarded the OAM (Order of Australia Medal) in 1989 in recognition of her achievements.

Tracey has also contributed to Becky Swissler’s book Winning Field Hockey For Girls by writing the Forward. This 224 page book was published in 2003.


Belbin’s Grocery, St. John’s, Newfoundland


BELBIN’S GROCERY can be found at 85 Quidi Vidi Road in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada just south of Quidi Vidi Lake and just north of St. John’s Harbour. The business first opened its doors in September 1943, when its founder, Robert George BELBIN, grandfather to the present day owners, renovated the front room of the family home to accommodate a small neighbourhood grocery store. Apparantly he had gathered a lot of grocery experience whilst working in the grocery department of Ayre & Sons Ltd in St John’s, but due to poor health, had been forced to resign from that company. He, along with his two sons, Edgar and Fraser BELBIN, therefore decided to open their own store, which was immediately accepted by the surrounding residents, and within a few years was attracting customers from all over the east end of the city. 

Robert George BELBIN died in 1946, and in 1947, his youngest son Douglas BELBIN joined his two brothers and together their partnership continued for forty-three years. In the early 1960’s, they extended the store to include a small meat cutting room, which subsequently became the cornerstone of a strong customer base for the store. In June 1986, the three brothers retired, at which time Edgar’s sons Robert and Peter BELBIN, along with Douglas’s son Chris BELBIN, purchased the business and were able to continue the family tradition. In 1988 minor renovations were carried out which gave the building its present day storefront as well as additional floor space.  In 1999 investment was made in building renovations and equipment and shopping space was tripled. A new kitchen was included, which was to become the cooking headquarters for BELBIN’S own line of fully cooked meal replacements known as Dinners Ready .. by Belbins.

18th Century Manuscripts

It is possible to find rare manuscripts, if you know where to look. This is one of those accidental finds where the script was in effect a chapter of a much larger tome. This tale entitled BALAAM’S PEDIGREE: A TALE Inscribed to the Reverend MR. BELBIN, was originally published as A True Tale of a Country Teacher according to the footnote on the front page. The MR. BELBIN in question would appear to have been the Reverend PETER BELBIN who was preaching sermons in Reading and Abingdon in 1732. The tale centres around the character and personality of the Reverend. 

Two of Reverend PETER BELBIN’s sermons also survive. He published them in 1732 at a cost of 6d per copy.