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Madison Chock and Evan Bates set national record at U.S. figure skating championships

Madison Chock and Evan Bates compete in rhythm dance.
Madison Chock of Redondo Beach and Evan Bates compete in rhythm dance at the U.S. figure skating championships Friday in Nashville.
(Matthew Stockman / Getty Images)

Madison Chock of Redondo Beach and partner Evan Bates earned a national-record score of 91.94 points for their sultry rhythm dance Friday to stand first after the initial phase of the U.S. figure skating championships in Nashville. Two-time Olympians as a couple — they finished eighth in 2014 and ninth in 2018 — they will skate for their third national title Saturday in the free dance portion of the competition.

The U.S. figure skating championships aren’t Olympic trials, but the results of the event will be carry heavy weight with the selection committee that will award berths. The U.S. can send three ice dance teams, two pairs, three women’s singles skaters and three men’s singles skaters to the Beijing Games next month.

Bates, who competed at the 2010 Olympics with then-partner Emily Samuelson, teamed with Chock on Friday to perform a sharp and entertaining program to a medley of Billie Eilish music. Their lifts were secure and show-stopping. “It was such a pleasure to perform. I loved every second of it,” Chock said in a TV interview.

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Alysa Liu, looking to win her third U.S. figure skating title in four years, has withdrawn from competition after testing positive for COVID-19.

Defending champions Madison Hubbell and Zach Donohue, who finished fourth at the 2018 Olympics, made several small mistakes and stood in second place with 89.39 points. “I’m feeling a little bit confused,” Hubbell said of her error on a twizzle, a one-footed, multi-rotation turn ice dancers perform while moving across the ice. “A lot of mistakes that don’t usually happen.”

Caroline Green and Michael Parsons were third with 80.85 points.

The women’s competition was scheduled to end Friday night at Bridgestone Arena with the free skate. Earlier on Friday, Alysa Liu — who was favored to win her third U.S. figure skating women’s title and earn a spot on the Beijing Olympic team — withdrew from the event because she had tested positive for COVID-19. She plans to petition the selection committee to be awarded an Olympic berth, an option available to skaters who can’t compete at the U.S. championships.

Elliott reported remotely.

Mariah Bell lands a clean triple flip-triple toe combination to help push her into the lead after the ladies’ short program at the U.S. championships.


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