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Madison Chock and Evan Bates in 8th Place After Ice Dancing Short Program

SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 16:  Madison Chock and Evan Bates of the United States compete during the Figure Skating Ice Dance Short Dance on day 9 of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Iceberg Skating Palace on February 16, 2014 in Sochi, Russia.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images
Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistFebruary 16, 2014

The American tandem of Madison Chock and Evan Bates earned an eighth-place finish in the short program of the 2014 Winter Olympics ice dancing competition.   

Coming into Sochi, Russia, the duo of Chock and Bates was one of the best the Americans had to offer, and they put forth a respectable performance in the short program on Sunday.

Chock and Bates trail the leaders by a sizable margin as their American teammates Meryl Davis and Charlie White lead after the short program.

Ice Dance Short Dance Results
PlacePairScoreCountry
1Meryl Davis, Charlie White78.89United States
2Tessa Virtue, Scott Moir76.33Canada
3Elena Ilinykh, Nikita Katsalapov73.04Russia
4Nathalie Pechalat, Fabian Bourzat72.78France
5Ekaterina Bobrova, Dmitri Soloviev69.97Russia
6Anna Cappellini, Luca Lanotte67.58Italy
7Kaitlyn Weaver, Andrew Poje65.93Canada
8Madison Chock, Evan Bates65.46United States
9Maia Shibutani, Alex Shibutani64.47United States
10Nelli Zhiganshina, Alexander Gazsi60.91Germany
Sochi2014.com

Christine Brennan of USA Today pointed out that Chock and Bates seemed to skate a cautious, safe program:

Bates is no stranger to the Olympics. He partnered with Emily Samuelson in Vancouver back in 2010. The pair would go on to finish 11th, which was rather impressive considering how inconsistent they had been throughout 2009 and into early 2010.

Samuelson and Bates split up in 2011, and he partnered up with Chock shortly thereafter.

Speaking with Jeff Seidel of the Detroit Free Press, Chock mentioned how hooking up with Bates was the result of a lot of trial and error:

“I was just looking for somebody who I was going to be compatible with,” she said.

[...]

She tried out with several potential partners, but she didn’t feel a spark. Not until she hooked up with Evan Bates, who lives in Ann Arbor and is a big sports fan who loves playing the guitar when he’s not playing golf.

“It’s fortunate for me that the most compatible person happened to be skating at my rink,” she said, “and the timing was perfect.”

Since 2011, Chock and Bates have asserted themselves as arguably the No. 2 ice dancing team in the U.S., right behind Davis and White. They won silver at both the 2013 and 2014 U.S. Figure Skating Championships.

Despite that domestic success, they remained realistic about their chances in 2014.

Bates said, per Seidel, "I knew I wanted to skate with Maddie. I remember telling Maddie that my ultimate goal was to make the Sochi team and I wanted to do it with her.”

Chock and Bates have it all to do on Monday in the short dance. The pair have a large gap to make up and it's unlikely that they'll medal given the distance to cover. It will take a massive performance and a lot of luck, but Chock and Bates will put their best foot forward.

For these two, though, the fun was in the journey rather than the result.

As for Team USA, it has a solid chance of earning hardware considering the strong showing from Davis and White. Canada, Russia and France each has a legitimate shot still as well for the gold. If the Americans hope to secure two spots on the podium, it will take a phenomenal showing from Chock and Bates behind the leaders.

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