U.S. Olympic ice dance team named, Bates makes record fourth

2022 U.S. Figure Skating Championships - Day 3
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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 DubreuilPatrice 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 BellKaren 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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Carissa Moore the latest Olympian to receive Sullivan Award

Carissa Moore

Carissa Moore, who won surfing’s Olympic debut in Tokyo, joined a long list of gold medalists to receive the Sullivan Award, which has honored an outstanding U.S. athlete outside of major professional sports (usually NCAA or an Olympian) since 1930.

The other finalists were Olympic wrestler Jordan Burroughs, Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Bryce Young, NCAA Softball Player of the Year Jocelyn Alo and NCAA Baseball Player of the Year Ivan Melendez.

Moore followed her Olympic title in 2021 by finishing second in the season-long World Surf League, upset by Australian Stephanie Gilmore in the finals in September. Most of the 2024 Olympic spots will be determined by next season’s World Surf League standings.

She is the first surfer to win the Sullivan Award.

Past honorees include Michael PhelpsCarl Lewis and Eric Heiden.

The Sullivan Award “recognizes the outstanding athlete whose athletic accomplishments are complemented by qualities of leadership, character and sportsmanship.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Olympians/Paralympians to win Sullivan Award since 2000
2022: Carissa Moore (Surfing)
2021: Simone Biles (Gymnastics) and Caeleb Dressel (Swimming)
2018: Kyle Snyder (Wrestling)
2016: Breanna Stewart (Basketball, shared award)
2013: Missy Franklin (Swimming)
2011: Evan Lysacek (Figure Skating)
2009: Shawn Johnson (Gymnastics)
2007: Jessica Long (Swimming, Paralympics)
2005: Paul Hamm (Gymnastics)
2004: Michael Phelps (Swimming)
2003: Sarah Hughes (Figure Skating)
2002: Michelle Kwan (Figure Skating)
2001: Rulon Gardner (Wrestling)

Long jumper accused of false information to get Olympic spot

Izmir Smajlaj

A long jumper and two officials from Albania could face bans after they were accused of submitting false information that helped the athlete get a spot at the Tokyo Olympics last year.

The Athletics Integrity Unit said Friday it had charged long jumper Izmir Smajlaj, Albanian track federation president Gjegj Ruli and the federation’s general secretary Nikolin Dionisi with disciplinary offenses over a competition held in Albania in May 2021, two months before the Tokyo Olympics. They are all provisionally suspended until the case is resolved.

Smajlaj was named as the competition winner with a national-record jump of 8.16 meters.

“It is alleged that false information was submitted to World Athletics and the AIU in support of this competition result,” the AIU said.

Smajlaj’s result wasn’t good enough to qualify for the Olympics outright, but he got a place under the “universality” rule that allows countries to send one male and female athlete to the Olympic track events. Those athletes still have to provide evidence they have met a certain standard to compete.

Smajlaj jumped 7.86 meters at the Olympics as he failed to qualify for the final.

The AIU said in September that Albania was one of seven countries on a “competition manipulation watch list” along with Turkey, Uzbekistan, Moldova, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan and Armenia.

It’s not the first time Tokyo Olympic qualifiers have allegedly been manipulated. Swimming’s world governing body FINA said last year there was “nefarious behavior” around two swim meets in Uzbekistan just before the Olympics and refused to recognize the results. An Indian swimmer who took part in one of the meets said the results were faked and that he had been offered a bribe to keep quiet.

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