The ice dance podium at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships has proven to be more consistent than any other discipline this Olympic quadrennium, and on Sunday morning the three teams who finished top three every year of this Olympic quadrennium were also confirmed to the U.S. Olympic team.
This year’s national champions Madison Chock and Evan Bates will mark their third Olympics as a team in Beijing next month, while 2021 U.S. champions Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue are headed to their second and Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker will make their Olympic debuts.
All three teams train at the Ice Academy of Montreal under coaches Marie-France Dubreuil, Patrice Lauzon and Romain Haguenauer.
Bates also competed at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics with then-partner Emily Samuelson, and will now become the first U.S. skater of any discipline to compete in four Winter Olympics. He will also be the second-oldest American to compete in ice dance at the Olympics.
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The U.S. has won an Olympic ice dance medal at every Games since 2006, when it claimed its first in 30 years, and is expected to put a team on the podium for the fifth consecutive Winter Games.
Chock and Bates and Hubbell and Donohue are both podium contenders, with Chock and Bates having a leg up with the sport’s judges after topping their training partners by 1.78 points in Nashville.
Both teams paired up leading into the 2011-2012 season and have since earned three national titles apiece.
Chock, 29, and Bates, 32, who are also in a relationship off the ice, won the U.S. Championships in 2015, 2020 and 2022. They have five top-five finishes at the world championships, including silver in 2015, bronze in 2016 and a fourth place last year, and are three-time silver medalists at the Grand Prix Final. The Michigan natives have yet to show their full potential at the Olympics, though, placing eighth in 2014 and ninth in 2018. Both skaters fell during their free dance in PyeongChang, which Chock later explained stemmed from her ankle injury; two months later she had surgery to remove bone fragments in her right ankle, which caused them to miss the first half of the next season.
Hubbell, 30, and Donohue, 31, are the only team in the world to medal at the past three world championships (silvers in 2018 and 2021, bronze in 2019); their U.S. titles came in 2018, 2019 and 2021. They have been in the top four at all 11 of their national championships together. Hubbell and Donohue won the 2018 Grand Prix Final and were third at the 2019 event.
They have stated the late March world championships in Montpellier, France, will be the final competition of their careers.
While this is their first Olympic berth, Hawayek, 25, and Baker, 28, have been together nearly just as long as the other teams. They won both the U.S. and world junior titles in 2014, and have been top five in the U.S. eight years in a row ever since moving up to the senior ranks in 2015, taking the bronze medal the past four years. Their senior international resume includes the 2018 Four Continents title and a Grand Prix medal of each color.
The ice dance teams join women’s skaters Mariah Bell, Karen Chen and Alysa Liu, plus pairs’ teams Ashley Cain-Gribble/Timothy LeDuc and Alexa Knierim/Brandon Frazier on the U.S. Olympic figure skating team. The men will be named Sunday evening.
The ice dance Olympic alternates mirror the results of the 2022 U.S. Championships: Caroline Green and Michael Parsons (first alternate), Emily Bratti and Ian Somerville (second alternate) and Katarina Wolfkostin and Jeffrey Chen (third alternate).
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