Ice Dancers Make It 3 Out of 3 for Russia

APKostomarov and Navka performing their winning routine Monday in Turin.
TURIN, Italy -- Tatyana Navka and Roman Kostomarov made it three out of three for Russian figure skaters at the Winter Olympics.

Navka and Kostomarov gave Russia a gold medal hat trick -- pairs, men's and dance. No nation has swept the four skating events in one games. The Russians could be the first, with Irina Slutskaya highly favored in the women's competition when it was about to begin late Tuesday.

Tanith Belbin and partner Ben Agosto snapped the U.S. medal drought in figure skating with a silver. Elena Grushina and Ruslan Goncharov of Ukraine won the bronze.

The Russian couple wasn't perfect, getting slightly off on their footwork and finishing their program with a small bobble. But their maturity and experience was evident for all to see.

They were seductive and entertaining, and when she did her flamenco steps at the start of the program, the click of her skates on the ice sounded like castanets.

When they finished, she brushed her hands across the ice and he slid on his knees, pumping his arms in triumph.

"I can't believe it yet," Navka said. "This is my dream from when I was a little girl. I always wished to be Olympic champion, and it is coming and I am so happy."

Belbin and Agosto won the first dance medal for the United States since a bronze in 1976 by Colleen O'Connor and Jim Millns -- and only the second medal of any kind. It also is the only medal for American figure skaters so far at these Olympics.

"I am extremely proud that we've been able to achieve this for our country," said the Canadian-born Belbin, who became a U.S. citizen on Dec. 31.

"It's only our first Olympics. We're competing with second- and third-time Olympians, so this is great to come here and get a medal the first time out when we didn't even know we'd be here."

Sunday's original dance was marred by falls and an injury that forced the top Canadians out of the free dance. Italian favorites Barbara Fusar Poli and Maurizio Margaglio were back, friends again, after their flop and subsequent venomous staredown.

"We are like brother and sister," said Fusar Poli, rejecting speculation of a rift between them. "We were angry at ourselves, but between each other everything is OK."

Not only were they OK on ice, but they kissed and made up after four minutes of tense skating featuring some intricate lifts and carries. She put her arm around his shoulder as they sat next to each other this time -- observing the mediocre scores that placed them sixth.

Those marks were in sharp contrast to the winners'. The champions' 200.64 total was the only one over 200 points, and beat Belbin and Agosto's by 4.58.

Gold was hardly unexpected for the Russians. Following the lead of pairs champs Tatiana Totmianina and Maxim Marinin, and men's winner Yevgeny Plushenko, Navka and Kostomarov won the original dance and free dance after placing second, behind Fusar Poli and Margaglio, in compulsories.

"This is a very proud moment for us," said Navka, skating in her fourth Olympics. As the crowd waved Russian flags and chanted "Our Heroes," Navka and Kostomarov waved from the top step of the podium -- a place their countrymen simply own in Turin.