Madison Chock and Evan Bates extended the U.S. streak of ice dance titles at Skate America to 14 consecutive years, despite flaws in the rhythm dance and free dance.
They held off fellow Americans Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean Luc-Baker by .73 of a point. Hawayek and Baker won the free dance after Chock and Bates received zero points for their choreographic character step sequence. It marked the first time that Hawayek and Baker outscored their training partners Chock and Bates in a program in 45 career head-to-heads.
“Obviously, there’s work to do, but we’re not a couple to shy away from that,” Bates said on NBC Sports. “We definitely know what we need to work on. I think the programs just need mileage.”
Chock and Bates, the world bronze medalists, earned their first Grand Prix Series victory since 2015. Bates, 33, became the oldest ice dancer to win Skate America. Chock and Bates, who got engaged in June, are the top returning ice dance couple.
Olympic gold medalists Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France are sitting out this season and may be done competing altogether. Olympic silver medalists Viktoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov are ineligible due to the ban on all Russian skaters for the war in Ukraine. Olympic bronze medalists Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue retired.
Also Sunday, world champion Kaori Sakamoto of Japan won the Skate America women’s title. Sakamoto, the Olympic bronze medalist, is the lone member of the top five from the Beijing Games competing this season. The gold and silver medalists are from Russia and thus banned indefinitely.
World junior champion Isabeau Levito finished second to Sakamoto to become, at 15, the youngest American woman to make a Skate America podium since 2007 (Caroline Zhang).
Levito, third at last season’s U.S. Championships, is the top returning American woman following the retirements of Mariah Bell and Alysa Liu. The third Olympic team member, Karen Chen, is on an indefinite, possibly permanent, break and taking classes at Cornell.
“I hope that I look mature, and I look like a senior and not like a junior anymore,” Levito said after the short program.
Another American, Amber Glenn, was third to make her first Grand Prix podium at age 22. Glenn attempted to become the sixth U.S. woman to land a triple Axel, but it was short of full rotation.
The U.S. won three of the four titles at Skate America for the first time since 2003 (not counting 2020, when the event was overwhelmingly red, white and blue due to pandemic travel restrictions).
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