SAN JOSE, Calif. — They both started the new Olympic cycle as the undisputed national leaders in figure skating, cementing that position Saturday with the U.S. title — the fourth title for an ice dancer. madison seck and evan batesthe second is the double Alexa Nerim and Brendan Fraser.
At this point, their respective paths to the 2026 Winter Olympics appear to be clear, with no challengers.
The question for Dancer and the duo is how far they intend to go down that road.
“I don’t know what the next four years are going to be like,” Chuck said. “But we are committed to each other and our goals and we will make a decision when the time comes.”
Chock, 30, and Bates, 33, who are engaged to marry in the summer of 2024, have been together for a long time. Their trophy boxes are packed to the brim, the only gaps between them are the world championship and individual Olympic medals.
They have competed in senior competition together for 12 seasons at the US Championships, winning medals in the past 11 seasons. They have competed in 9 World Championships, won 3 medals, competed in 3 Olympics (Bates 4), won a yet-to-be team medal last year in Beijing.
(Pending doping case involving Russian ice skater Camilla Valieva The awarding of medals for team events in 2022 has been postponed. Maybe it’ll be a wedding present for Chock and Bates. Or a 5th anniversary gift…)
Figure Estimated Nationals: Full Score | Broadcast Schedule
Until this year, Chock and Bates have faced a strong opponent in the national arena – the 2014 Olympic champion Meryl Davis and charlie white; 2018 Olympic bronze medalist Shibuya Maya and Alex Shibuya; and 2022 Olympic bronze medalist madison hubbell and Zachary Donoghue, Chock and Bates have traded gold with them over the past four seasons. All dropped out of the game.
On Saturday, they won the gold medal by 22.29 points caroline green and michael parsons, the largest margin of victory at the Nationals since 2006. In a discipline that weighs heavily on hierarchy, Chock and Bates find themselves in an unfamiliar position, on the metaphorically light-hearted street leading to the top of America’s podium.
“We — at least I — were nervous today,” Betts said. “We (still) felt compelled to skate well. Maybe the lack of the Hubbell-Donohue back and forth didn’t lessen the specialness of today.”
Knierim, 31, and Frazier, 30, have similar longevity with the national team, even though they didn’t form until 2020 and won the US Championship in their first season.
Knierim and her husband Chris have competed in 7 national races, winning 3 and Frazier has won 7 races. Haven Dannywon once.
Knierim and Frazier were expected to retire at the end of last season when they missed the nationals because Frazier contracted the coronavirus, but they finished sixth at the Olympics and unexpectedly became the first team since 1979 to win The U.S. team of the pair world champions. Their trip to the ice with the Stars made them reconsider.
“It makes sense to move forward on our timetable,” Knierim told me in September. “We did everything we could in two years.
“However, it feels like it might be sad or disappointing to end a very talented career so quickly. The tour has allowed us to see how in sync and unity we are on the ice. So there’s a little bit of curiosity, a kind of ‘ What else can we do?’ feeling.”
Their individual circumstances changed during the season. Chris Knierim started work Thursday as director of skating at an ice rink in suburban Chicago, where Knierims recently bought a house.
Knierim and Frazier have been training at an ice rink in Irvine, California. If they decide to remain as rivals beyond this season, it will almost certainly require Frazier to move to Chicago.
Knierim insists that the home she purchased was not representative of her plans with Frazier.
“Now, we’re going to see it through and go to the World Championships in Irvine (late March),” Knierim said before winning her fifth U.S. title.
“We do have some changes in front of us. But I don’t want to jump to next season and say yes or no. We learned that last season.”
Frazier spoke Saturday about reflecting on their personal journeys and their partnerships throughout the season, and that reflection often comes with doing something one last time.
“We just wanted to soak it up like it might be your last, but the future is unknown,” Fraser said.
Knierim and Frazier won Saturday with the best margin of 31.11 points, which the international refereeing system has used at nationals for 18 years.
They save a few points thanks to her quick thinking.
After Frazier put her hands on the three-toe ring on the ice to open the triple-double jump combo, Knierim saw that her partner would only jump once and followed. It leads to the delightfully weirdness of side-by-side single toe rings.
It’s also very well executed.
Philip Hersh has covered figure skating at every Winter Olympics since 1980 and is a staff writer for NBCSports.com.
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