Madison Chock and Evan Bates overcome illness to reach 5th US Figure Skating Championships


Madison Chock and Evan Bates have become so dominant in ice dancing that even a sudden illness Saturday couldn’t stop them.

Two days after developing flu-like symptoms, the longtime figure skating partners took to the ice and performed a free dance at the U.S. Championships that was good enough for a gold medal. Chalk and Bates scored 215.92 points to easily defeat Christina Carrera and Anthony Ponomarenko to win their third consecutive title and fifth overall.

Chock said, “I think Evan and I have always had a lot of determination and willpower, and we thought, ‘Will we regret not going for it and trying our best today?’ And when the answer to that question was, ‘Yes,’ we said, ‘Okay, let’s make it happen. Let’s go out there and give it everything we’ve got.’ We did that today and I’m really proud.”

Carrera and Ponomarenko actually edged out the defending world champions in the free skate, finishing with 210.04 points, while Emily Bratty and Ian Somerville won the bronze medal over Caroline Green and Michael Parsons.

“We knew we were capable of getting on the podium and that was a really big goal for us,” Bratty said. “And especially after the rhythm dance, we got a lot of inspiration and confidence that we are capable of it. But it was definitely a surprise.”

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The U.S. Championships continued Saturday night with the pairs free skate. The men’s free skate is Sunday.

After the Thursday night rhythm dance, Chalk and Bates took a big lead, but by that time both were feeling sick. The next morning, Chock said she was unable to get out of bed and wondered if they could still compete on Saturday.

“If the competition had been tomorrow,” she said, “I don’t think we would have made it to the rink. Glad we had a break day to collect ourselves a bit. Just drank fluids, got a good night’s sleep, said a few prayers.” And here we are.”

Even though her free skate, set to the music of Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon”, was short by her own lofty standards, it put her within one of Meryl Davis and Charlie White for the most American titles with six. Was good enough to carry. ,

It remains to be seen whether they attempt to equal the record. Chock, 31, and Bates, 34, are getting married this summer, and have said they are deciding on an annual basis whether they want to continue competing.

A decisive factor could be the fact that the 2026 Milano-Cortina Olympics are less than two years away. Chalk and Bates have been on three U.S. teams and barely missed the podium at the 2022 Games with a fourth-place finish.

However, they do have a medal from Beijing in the team event, even though they still don’t know the colors. The medals have been withheld as anti-doping officials investigate the positive result returned by Kamila Valieva, a member of the Russian skaters’ winning team, and the Court of Arbitration for Sport hears a subsequent appeal in a case that has dragged on. I went.

The World Anti-Doping Agency is seeking a four-year ban on Valieva, which would disqualify her from Olympic competition and potentially make the Americans team champions. The CAS decision is expected soon, perhaps as early as this week.

“You know, we are the only two athletes from the Beijing team who are still competing. Every single one of us has moved on,” Bates said. “I think two years is too long to make this decision, and we will never know why it took so long. We are expecting some closure after a long waiting period.

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