In US in pairs figure skating, nominees in ice dance are announced

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New US ice dance champions Madison Chock of Redondo Beach and Evan Bates were named to the US Olympic team on Sunday on the final day of the US championships in Nashville. The Beijing Games will be their third Olympic appearance as a couple and the fourth for Bates, who competed in the 2010 Games with a different partner. He will become the first quadruple Olympian in figure skating.

“It never gets old. It’s special every time,” Bates said at a press conference.

Madison Hubbell and Zach Donohue, who placed fourth at the Pyeongchang Games in 2018 and finalists at this year’s national championships, were also nominated for the Beijing squad. The third nomination in ice dance went to Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker, who will be Olympians for the first time. The three ice dance teams train in Montreal. “We are delighted to be a part of this team,” said Hubbell, who plans to retire from competition after this year’s world championships.
Also on Sunday, couples champions Ashley Cain-Gribble and Timothy LeDuc and 2021 champions Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier were nominated for the two American couples spots awarded.

Knierim and Frazier train at Great Park Ice in Irvine. They had to apply for their nomination to the US figure skating selection committee because Frazier had tested positive for the coronavirus before the competition, leaving them unable to skate. Frazier was still in isolation on Sunday and said he did not know when he would be released and allowed to train again.

Due to his isolation, he was unable to celebrate his Olympic nomination with Knierim. “I squeezed the shit out of that pillow,” Frazier said of his celebration.

Jessica Catalang and Brian Johnson, who also train at Irvine, have been named the first couple substitutes for Beijing.

Cain-Gribble and LeDuc, who are based in the Dallas area, have already won the U.S. title as a couple in 2019. They finished third and fourth in their two Grand Prix competitions this season and finished ninth at the 2019 World Championships. and 2021. “I feel like with every competition this season, we just keep getting better and better,” said LeDuc. “We still have room to grow.

Knierim finished 14th at the Pyeongchang Olympics with her husband, Chris. When he decided to end his competitive career, she teamed up with Frazier, who had previously skated with several other partners.

“I believe the best is yet to come,” she said. “We were so ready and prepared to compete here this week. It was devastating for us, but obviously right now we’re in seventh heaven. ”

The Irvine Rink is the training center for the Ducks and is also the training site for US champion and Olympic Games contender Mariah Bell and three-time men’s world champion Nathan Chen, who leads the men’s peloton ahead of the competition. of free skating on Sunday. Knierim said the training environment, created in part by Jenni Meno and Todd Sand – former US couples champions who coach them – has given them a secure and stable foundation. She said they took special precautions to keep skaters safe, including designating entrances and exits that only skaters can use.

“When the building was created to be a training site for figure skating, the aim was to be an elite training center and to have a very professional training environment,” said Knierim. “On the couples side, we’re very lucky that Todd and Jenni run the camps, and with all of their experience over their years of competing and training, they do just about whatever it takes to make sure that all athletes have priority. ice time, safe ice time and communicating with rink management daily to make sure we have what we need.



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