World champions Madison Chock and Evan Bates held a press conference before Skate America, and then met with attending journalists multiple times in Allen, Texas.
Article originally published on October 11 and updated on October 25, 2023.
About their decision to continue competing for season 2023/2024
Madison: Last year was a very interesting season. We had a lot of fun, and we learned a lot. We felt we had more to give and learn, so we decided to continue competing. We love skating and the creation process, making programs and creating unique pieces we're passionate about.
About being 2023 World Champions
Evan: We had worked for, talked about, and really pursued it since Meryl Davis and Charlie White decided to retire after the Sochi Olympics Games. The following year, we placed second at Worlds in 2015. From then on, our main goal was to become world champions. It didn't materialize for eight years, and when it finally did, it was a blend of joy, relief, and happiness. Last season started challenging. Even the week in Saitama was tough; we both felt under the weather and struggled. It seemed like earning the world title would always be more challenging than we had anticipated. That added difficulty made the victory even more gratifying.
On their Rhythm Dance:
Madison: For the rhythm dance, we've chosen Queen as our '80s theme, and we'll be skating to "Another One Bites the Dust," "Who Wants to Live Forever," and "I Want It All." It's a very fun, dynamic, and engaging program.
Evan: We watched the movie Bohemian Rhapsody while touring in Japan. We were actively looking for ideas for our program. When we saw the movie, everything became clear, and we were deeply inspired by this iconic rock group and its incredible musical legacy. Since we had to focus on the '80s, we dove into Queen's vast catalog from that era. When we stumbled upon "Another One Bites the Dust," we were very excited because we loved dancing to it. We created both of our programs over the summer. I am extremely proud of these programs. They have a lot of potential.
Madison: I love Queen, and I particularly like the midline in this program. It's really fun and adds a hint of boldness, especially when we're skating to "Another One Bites the Dust." The ending is like a rock anthem.
About their costumes:
Madison: I've worked with Mathieu Caron. We've been collaborating wonderfully together for years. I designed the costumes for the free dance, and Mathieu designed the costumes for the rhythm dance. I'm wearing a costume inspired by Freddie Mercury's famous deconstructed yellow jacket. I've always wanted to wear a yellow dress. When we shared our concept with Mathieu Caron, he immediately knew what to create. I gave him the green light, and he designed this stunning dress, one of my favorites. It's truly unique.
On their free dance
Madison: Our program is to Pink Floyd's music, and our theme is time. We thought about this theme already during the summer of 2022 but then chose another direction. It explores our relationship with time as humans. Often, we find ourselves caught up in our day-to-day routines, almost enslaved by the ticking clock. But the essence of the program is to break free from this routine and reclaim time for ourselves, to use it in ways that truly matter to us. In our daily lives, it's easy to lose track of time as it swiftly passes. The message is to release ourselves from this construct and make the most of our time to enjoy it. Time is fleeting, and we should spend it doing what we love with the people we love.
About Madison’s costumes design company
Madison: It's been a fun experience. I've never started a business before, and it's been great to combine my passion for skating and costume design. Turning it into something that can help others and give them their dream costume is wonderful. I truly enjoy creating and witnessing the process as the costumes are made. So, I'm excited to share that with others. It's been fulfilling to meet other skaters who share that passion, listen to their programs' vision and themes, and create something special for them. Something that makes them feel confident as they take the ice.
On their goals
Madison: We will set our sights on another world title. We're proud of the two programs we've created. We have a lot to offer and share with our audience.
Evan: For us, it's all about self-improvement. We're constantly challenging ourselves and find great joy in that process. We're dedicated to reaching our full potential. We're committed to working hard and experiencing those incremental improvements. We feel like we're at our best, and our prime years in skating are still ahead of us, which is incredibly exciting. This drive to improve is one of the main reasons why we continue to compete.
About the 2026 Olympics
Madison: We haven't decided anything yet. We're just taking it season by season, seeing how we feel. But as of right now, we're still very inspired and passionate about skating. We'll see where that takes us.
About resuming their Podcast “Unlaced with Chock and Bates.”
Madison: It's currently simmering on the back burner. We're so busy, but at some point, we will resume and share all our adventures. We've got a lot of catching up, so there will be plenty of episodes to roll out.
About the situation with the medals from the 2022 Olympic Games team event
Evan: It’s really frustrating, of course. I think the time that has passed since Beijing now is, what, 20 months? That part is the most disappointing. We're the only ones from that team still competing, and it represents the brief span of an Olympic athlete's career. To have this amount of delay in receiving our medals and having our Olympic achievement recognized is incredibly frustrating. Regarding the trial, I don't have enough information to comment on it. As an athlete who grew up dreaming of winning an Olympic medal, this was never part of the dream. It was never part of what we envisioned. The optimist in me would hope that this will be a landmark case for the Olympic movement and that we can see some real change. As an athlete representative, I see the real potential for change. I think athletes deserve the right to have a fair and speedy trial, and we deserve the right to have an observer at the trial.
Madison: Our federation stands behind us, and they are doing their best to keep us updated on the situation. All we can do is wait and prepare for our next season. It's nice to be competing again this season. We can dive in, enjoy the process, and get back to doing what we love.
About this situation having influenced their decision to keep competing.
Evan: Our dream has been to stand on a podium and get the Olympic medal. It'd be hard to walk away knowing that we didn't have that moment on the podium despite having achieved the hard part of winning the Olympic medals. You see so many montages of athletes like Michael Phelps standing on the podium and having that emotional moment. To me, that's baked into the Olympic dream. That is the culmination. It's not a delayed gratification. You have your triumph, you have your Olympic moment on the podium. So, we've been talking about still wanting that, and that played a factor.
About the possibility of receiving their medals at the Paris 2024 Olympics
Madison: That's what every Olympic athlete dreams of : sharing that moment with their team, everyone that's worked so hard to help you get where you want to be in your sport. The next closest thing would be if we could have a medal ceremony at the Paris Olympics. That would be special, still having an Olympic moment at the Olympic Games. So, if the trial continues, that possibility is one we'd warmly welcome.
Evan: Within our team, we've spoken about the Paris Olympics; that seems to be the prevailing best-case scenario. I think it'd also be nice to have some domestic recognition for the situation we've endured and our achievements.
About the possibility of receiving their Olympic medals at the 2024 World Championships
Evan: Based on what's happened, any recognition at an Olympic Games would be our top hope. However, I'm aware of past instances and have heard stories from others about athletes receiving Olympic medals in very unceremonious settings and locations. Given the number of athletes involved and the publicity surrounding this case, I'm hopeful for a dignified medal ceremony.
About growing closer to the US Olympic figure skating team
Madison: It was not so much about not receiving the medals that brought us closer. It was more about the overall Olympic experience. The Olympics being in a bubble and not having families to share in the moments meant we leaned on each other as a team. We spent much time together, then went on the US Stars on Ice tour. It was an extraordinary experience, one of the best experiences of my life. We got to know each other better and shared many fun experiences that brought us close. I now have lifelong friends in that Olympic team, and that, on its own, is special and rewarding.
Evan: The team is a unique one. For many of us, the Beijing Olympics was the culmination of an entire career and work. It's too bad the medal moment didn't happen for many of us, but I'm incredibly proud to be part of that team and love everyone in it.
Solène MATHIEU - Skate Info Glace