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One of the most mesmerizing parts of ice dancing is the lifts performed by the teams, and three-time Olympians Madison Chock and Evan Bates certainly know how to deliver. At the 2022 US Figure Skating Championships, Chock and Bates impressed the crowd and judges alike with their rhythm dance lift, which NBC Olympics revisited in this incredible slow-motion clip.
As part of their rhythm dance, which this year is set to a medley of Billie Eilish songs, Chock and Bates are required to complete a single lift element. In ice dance, there’s a rule that forbids the lifting partner from raising the other athlete overhead with their arms extended. Instead, ice dance teams create lifts that involve a lot more acrobatics, flips, and changes of position.
For this year’s rhythm dance, Chock and Bates execute a curve lift. This means that the lifting partner, Bates, moves in an S-shaped “curve” pattern on the ice during the lift, while Chock’s positions vary. She flips almost horizontally around Bates’s shoulders, stands up on one leg while balancing on his thigh, then exits the lift with a vertical flip and a brief horizontal rotation. The element has a base value of 5.30, as a Level 4 lift — the most difficult classification of lifts. At the national championships, Chock and Bates performed it with a +2.29 grade of execution, for a total element score of 7.59 points.
The lift was just one of many high-quality elements that helped secure Chock and Bates’s third national title and a spot on their third Olympic team. They’ll be joined by silver medalists Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue, who were on the 2018 Olympic team and have also won three national championships. The third team in the American ice dance delegation is national bronze medalists Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker, who are making their Olympic debut. See them in action when the Olympic figure skating competition kicks off on Feb. 3.