Madison Chock and Evan Bates win historic US ice dance

Madison Chock and Evan Bates win historic US ice dance title for figure skaters in their 30’s – Home of the Olympic Channel

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Both began the new Olympic cycle as the undisputed national leaders in their figure skating disciplines, cementing that status with Saturday’s US titles — the fourth for ice dancers Madison Chock and Eve Batesthe second for the couple team of Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier.

At this point, their respective paths to the 2026 Winter Games appear to be clear and clear of challengers.

The question for the dancers and the couple is how far they want to go on this journey.

“I don’t know what the next four years will bring,” Chock said. “But we are committed to each other and to our goals, and we will decide when the time comes.”

Chock, 30, and Bates, 33, who are set to marry in the summer of 2024, have been at it for a long time. And her trophy case is filled to the brim, with the only gaps being a world title and an individual Olympic medal.

They have competed together at the senior level in the US Championships for 12 seasons, winning medals in the last 11. They’ve been to nine World Championships, won three medals and three Olympics (four for Bates) to be awarded the team medal in Beijing last year.

(The unsolved doping case involving a Russian skater Kamila Valiyeva has postponed the 2022 Team Event Medal Ceremony. Maybe it’ll be a wedding present for Chock and Bates. Or a fifth anniversary gift…)

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Up until this year, Chock and Bates had faced formidable rivals on the national scene – the 2014 Olympic champions Meryl Davis and Charlie White; 2018 Olympic bronze medalist Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani; and 2022 Olympic bronze medalist Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue, with whom Chock and Bates have traded gold medals for the past four seasons. All have withdrawn from the competition.

On Saturday they drove to the gold medal with a lead of 22.29 points Caroline Green and Michael Parsonsthe largest ice dance winning margin at Nationals since 2006. In a discipline where established hierarchy weighs heavily, Chock and Bates find themselves in an unfamiliar position of taking a metaphorically easy route to the top step of the US podium.

“We – at least I – were nervous today,” said Bates. “We (still) felt obliged to skate well. The lack of perhaps a Hubbell-Donohue back-and-forth didn’t mitigate the specialness today.”

Knierim, 31, and Frazier, 30, have similar longevity with the national teams, even though they only teamed up in 2020 and clinched the US title in their first season together.

Knierim skated with her husband Chris at seven national championships and won three titles, with Frazier at seven Port Denneywin once.

Knierim and Frazier had expected to retire after last season when they missed the national team because Frazier signed Covid but finished sixth at the Olympics and unexpectedly became the first US team to do so since 1979 won a world championship title in pairs. Her experiences with the Stars on Ice Tour made her reconsider.

“On our timeline, it made sense to move on,” Knierim told me in September. “We did everything we could in two years.

“Even so, it felt like ending a truly talented career together so soon could be sad or disappointing. Being on tour opened our eyes to how in sync and united we were on the ice. So there was a bit of curiosity, a sense of ‘What else can we be capable of?’”

Your personal circumstances have changed over the course of this season. Chris Knierim starts work Thursday as the skating director of an ice rink in the Chicago suburbs, and the Knierims recently bought a home in the area.

Knierim and Frazier practiced at an ice rink in Irvine, California. Should they decide to continue as competitors after this season, it would almost certainly mean a move to Chicago for Frazier.

Knierim insisted her home purchase was no indication of what her plans are with Frazier.

“Right now we’re staying on track leading up to the World Championships (late March) in Irvine,” Knierim said before winning her fifth US title.

“We have some changes ahead of us. But I would hate to jump forward and say yes or no to next season. We learned that last season.”

Frazier spoke Saturday about reflecting on her personal travels and partnership during this season, the kind of reflection that often comes with doing something for the last time.

“We’re just trying to imbibe it like it might be your last, but the future is unknown,” Frazier said.

Knierim and Frazier prevailed on Saturday with the largest winning margin of 31.11 points in the 18 years that the international judging system has been used at national championships.

They saved several points due to their quick thinking.

After Frazier placed his hand on the ice of the triple toe loop intended to open up a triple double double jump combination, Knierim saw that her partner would follow in just a single jump and did the same. It led to the delightful oddity of side-by-side single toe loops.

Also beautifully executed.

Philip Hersh, who has covered figure skating at every Winter Olympics since 1980, is a special contributor to

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