by Liz Leamy
(1 January 2022) Madison Chock & Evan Bates, the two-time World medalists and 2015 and 2020 U.S. Champions, are primed to compete in Nashville to challenge for the champions title and to qualify for the 2022 Beijing Olympic Team.
This incredibly accomplished team, who have been competing together for an astonishing 11 years, and have spent five years together as an off-ice couple, view their time on and off the ice with one another as a major source of strength and inspiration in their skating and in their lives.
“For us, it’s developed into an amazing relationship and routine,” said Bates, who, upon the prospect of qualifying for the upcoming Olympics, would make this his fourth Olympics representing the U.S. “We have really grown together and we can have a conversation without words. It’s made us into a mature couple.”
“We share the same triumphs and stressors,” said Chock, who, in turn, would count this as her third Olympics pending the team’s outcome in Nashville. She has previously represented the U.S. at the 2014 and 2018 Olympics with Bates. “I think we do a really good job of supporting one another.”
The two, who train in Montreal with Marie France-Dubreuil, Patrice Lauzon and Romain Hagenauer, have an undeniable chemistry that has not only helped catapult them to the pinnacle of international ice dancing, but has also put them in the iconic category of being a skating couple who has achieved a remarkable list of competitive accomplishments.
Known for their incredible lifts, silky smoothness and precise turn and step quickness, Chock and Bates are three-time Grand Prix Final silver medalists and seven-time U.S. medalists in addition to being two-time U.S. champions.
In Nashville, the two plan to use a Billie Eilish medley for their Rhythm Dance and Daft Punk’s ‘Contact Touch Within’ to tell an interesting story involving extraterrestrials.
“We have been up to our usual stuff. Lots of figure skating, lots of training and hanging out with our dog,” said Chock, a Redondo Beach, California native, about the on and off-ice time she and Bates have spent together leading up to Nationals.
Chock and Bates said they used much of the time when they had planned to compete at the cancelled Grand Prix Finals in December, due to the recent resurgence of the Covid virus worldwide, to train more extensively in preparation for Nashville.
“We found some valuable time to recharge our bodies and fine tune ourselves leading into the U.S. Championships,” said Bates, who grew up training near his hometown in Ann Arbor, Michigan with such coaching greats as Igor Shpilband and Marina Zoueva. “ As athletes coming up on one of the biggest moments of our career, we’ve been putting all our energy on focusing on our skating.”
Specifically, the two have fine-tuned aspects of their rhythm and free dance programs leading up to this event.
“It’s been about fine tuning our steps,” said Bates. “Smoothing those out and adding layers of detail.”
When asked about the prospect of being a four-time Olympian, Bates was humble and frank.
“To be a four-time Olympian has taken a lot of hard work and sacrifice and is something I’m proud of,” said Bates. “Having longevity is something I’m [also] extremely proud of.”
In regard to the prospect of representing the U.S. at the Olympics during their career, the two expressed profound gratitude to have such a great experience in their lives.
“It’s an absolute honor to be a U.S. ice dancer and to have represented the U.S. on an Olympic stage,” said Chock. “It’s a legacy we’re so proud of.”
Bates elaborated on the experience of skating for the U.S. on a national, world and Olympic stage, particularly with the role that American ice dancing has played in the sport over the past several decades.
“We’re really lucky to be skating in what I think is the golden ice age of U.S. ice dancing,” said Bates.
Certainly, these words ring so powerfully true.
The U.S. Championship Ice Dance competition will take place at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville on Friday, January 7th at 2:00 pm (Rhythm Dance) and Saturday, January 8th at 7:45 pm (Free Dance).