Madison Chock, with partner Evan Bates, is a 2014 Olympian and two-time world medalist in ice dance. Chock and Bates are blogging for TeamUSA.org as they compete on their fifth world team together at the 2017 World Figure Skating Championships in Helsinki.
Saturday, April 1
Waking up this morning felt harder than the rest of the week. Don’t tell Ashley (Wagner) I’m complaining about this though, she was up before me all week with early practices. But really, after being able to sleep in all week, waking up at 6 a.m. doesn't feel very good. ;-P
Today I was really looking forward to practice because we were finally back in the main arena. For some reason the thought of “the cave” (practice rink) was especially unpleasant.
We had a good warm-up and practice. Afterwards we took plenty of time to cool down before catching the bus back to the hotel. After all, we had about six hours before we needed to be back at rink. I took advantage of this time to binge on some Netflix and hang out with Ashley. At lunch they had the men’s free skate playing on the big screens in the athlete dining area, and what an exciting event that was! We were able to watch the last group of men while we ate. They were inspiring. Yuzuru Hanyu skated like a god!! He completely owned his program, and the Pooh bears rained down afterward in appreciation from his fans (Note: He loves Winnie the Pooh). Our Team USA men rocked it too, securing three spots for the men’s event next year at the Olympics. Woohoo!!
After that exciting men’s event, I took an epic nap, and I began my process of getting ready by doing my makeup and putting my hair up, in what Ashley likes to call my Avatar look. :)
Warm-up went well, I focused on keeping my mind clear and following my routine. Had some butterflies in my stomach as I changed into my costume and laced up my skates, but they flew away when I took the ice.
I felt well-focused as we began our free dance. It was all going quite well, I just focused on my breathing and following Evan. Then came the twizzles. I went through my check points feeling normal, then caught sight of Evan next to me and my stomach dropped. I realized he was struggling with his twizzles. A bit of panic crept in, but I pushed it out of my head still wanting to finish strong.
We knew any mistake would be costly in the end. That’s just competition – mistakes can happen, even though we don't want them to and work hard in training to prevent them. We are still human and mistakes happen. We both took the results of our skate and that performance pretty hard.
After working all year for our best skate at worlds, and to have it slip out of our grasp at the last moment was heartbreaking. The loss is still fresh and I know we will continue to feel it, but this will only fuel our fire and motivate us for next season. Everything we have gone through and overcome this season will make us stronger athletes and better people. I’m so proud of all the things Evan and I have accomplished together this season. This is by no means the end of our journey, nor will this be the moment that defines us. We are surrounded by an amazing team and family that love us, support us and most importantly believe in us. That alone is a victory.
Sunday, April 2
On Sunday, Evan and I ventured downtown and ate lunch with my parents. Later in the afternoon Team USA gathered to take our world team photo in full costumes and skates. After the photo, Ashley and I headed back to our room to get ready for the Closing Banquet. While we are getting ready we both get a text from Alexa (Scimeca Knierim) asking if she can come to our room, she had a bit of a dilemma.
When she arrived, we saw her predicament. The straps on her gorgeous dress were just a bit too long, so she had proceeded to secure herself into her dress by rolling some KT Tape and sticking it to herself. We all burst out laughing. She had clearly gotten very creative. I got out my sewing kit and Ashley took in her straps. Teamwork for the win!
The Closing Banquet was a fantastic celebration of the season’s end. I looked around the room and realized how grateful I am for all that skating has brought to my life, a creative and passionate way to express myself, a strong work ethic and the most incredible friends. I am so looking forward to this coming season and all the exciting moments it will offer. Now we are off to Colorado Springs to begin the new creative process with our choreographer, Christopher Dean!