Like all Winter Olympians, Madison Chock and Evan Bates train hard to put on performances that impress judges and captivate viewers.
But the amazing chemistry the figure skating duo just displayed during their first-place free dance isn’t just the result of hours on the ice. That’s because Chock, 29, and Bates, 32, are partners off the ice, as well.
On Monday, the pair paid a video visit to TODAY and explained how their special connection played a part just moments before their free dance program in Beijing.
“As for our pre-competition little chat, we turn to each other and we always tell each other that we love each other and to trust ourselves and to trust our training,” Chock told anchors Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb. “And that’s exactly what we did today.”
That trust paid off. After winning back-to-back bronze medals at the 2014 and 2018 Winter Olympics, Team USA looked set for another third place finish in figure skating. But that was before Chock and Bates delivered their free dance.
The duo’s routine on the final day of the team figure skating competition helped seal a silver for the U.S.
We said, ‘It’s just the two of us,’ and ‘Let’s just do our thing.’”
“There was a little bit of additional pressure, if I’m being honest, because this is the first time we’ve ever done the team event,” Bates said. “And it’s such an honor to get the chance to represent Team USA. But in the team event, we’re literally all sharing the scores and going for a collective medal. So we did feel a little bit of pressure, but when we went out there, in addition to the chat that Maddie spoke about, we said, ‘It’s just the two of us,’ and ‘Let’s just do our thing.’”
And they did their thing their way, with a theatrical, extraterrestrial-themed program set to the music of Daft Punk, in addition to their rhythm dance program set to the music Billie Eilish.
"We chose the music for both programs," Chock noted. "We love Billie Eilish and we love Daft Punk, so we’re so glad that both of our Olympic programs could be to artists that we’re passionate about. "
And while she admitted that that the artistry on display wasn't "your typical ice dance Olympic program," their teammates supported them all the way.
"Our team is very open to creativity and they fully encourage us to be as creative as we can dream to be," Chock added. "So in that regard, we’re very lucky."