Team USA ice dancers Madison Chock and Evan Bates have won multiple medals together but as they head to Pyeongchang for the 2018 Winter Olympics, they are tackling a new challenge: Dating.
Chock, 25, and Bates, 28, revealed they are a couple last year. Ahead of their journey to South Korea — their second Olympic games skating together — they told InsideEdition.com how their romance began when they were just teens.
“Evan took me out to dinner for my 16th birthday and we went to Bahama Breeze," Chock said. "It was really fun and he got me a hoodie, a zip-up hoodie from PINK, and it had turquoise letters. It was a very long time ago, but that was our first official date.”
Bates added: “It was like a childhood romance. We were so young."
At the time, Chock was still skating with her previous partner, Greg Zuerlein, with whom she became the 2009 World Junior Champion. Bates was also skating with a different partner at the time, Emily Samuelson, with whom he competed at the 2010 Winter Olympics.
Chock and Bates began skating together in 2011, which sparked increasingly warm feelings toward one another.
“We were always having a blast and we were laughing all the time and just enjoying our time together,” Bates said. “I think that friendship and that base was what sort of led to the romance.”
Chock believes that had they not both been figure skaters, they probably never would have met.
She was born and raised in Redondo Beach, Calif., before moving to Novi, Mich., as a teen to dedicate more time to her training. Bates is a Michigan native, born in Ann Arbor.
But after teaming up, they went on to win multiple medals including bronze at the Four Continents Championships in 2017 and silver at the Grand Prix Final in 2016, as well as several more as with different partners.
Chock said that what made them such a great team on the ice naturally made them a great couple off the ice.
“We have just great chemistry together," she said. “We have the same sense of humor and the same work ethic, so those two go really well together, especially when you are in a business relationship. Skating is our career so when you have the same drive, the same goals, it really makes a huge difference."
"Our skating relationship has definitely benefited from us being a couple," she continued. “We are just more emotionally connected on the same page […] we know each other on a much deeper level and so when we are skating, projecting emotion on the ice, the emotion is more real than it ever was before.”
Off the ice, they are just like any other couple, Bates said. They go out for dinner together or catch movies together — most recently, Wonder Woman.
“He always falls asleep, even if it's an action movie,” Chock said, laughing. "I looked over halfway through and he’s just like [snoring] with action and bullets flying.”
Bates added, "Wonder Woman was great. It was just too long."
For Valentine's Day, which falls just days before their event, Chock and Bates said they plan to stay around the athletes' village in Gangneung and explore the local festivities.
The real party begins after they finish competing and before the closing ceremonies, as Bates' birthday is on Feb. 23.
"I have a really great birthday for an Olympian. I’ve had my birthday in Vancouver, Sochi and now Pyeongchang, so I am pretty excited," Bates said. "Hopefully we will hit up a karaoke spot in Korea and just have a good time."
While they both agreed that it’s easier to get on each other’s nerves when they train together six hours a day and then go home to spend even more time together, “the benefits outweigh the cons,” Bates assured.
Chock explained, “You have the stress of normal life and day-to-day things, and then you also have the stress of a sport. Your emotions are heightened, you’re tired or hungry and so it really tests how patient you are.”
“99 percent of the time, we are together,” Bates added. “We go to the rink together every day […] we go grocery shopping together, we go out to dinner together, we cook together."
Chock said, "We're a package deal."
“But actually, this is my best friend,” he said. “We seriously have each other’s backs and haven’t gotten sick of each other after six years together, and I don’t see that changing.”