US Nationals preview – Dance

The three Worlds teams for the ice dance event are all but assured, but in a rare turn for the discipline, it’s anyone’s guess who will come out on top.

Madi vs. Madi

The fight for gold will once again be between the team of Maddison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue and the team of Madison Chock and Evan Bates. Both teams are highly decorated at a similar level, so here’s quick summary of their respective accolades:

  • Hubbell/Donohue: US National Champions (2017, 2018), World silver medalists (2018), Worlds bronze medalists (2019), Four Continents Champions (2014), Four Continents bronze medalists (2020), Grand Prix Final Champions (2018), Grand Prix Final bronze medalists (2019), fourth place at 2018 Olympics
  • Chock/Bates: US National Champions (2015, 2020), World silver medalists (2015), Worlds bronze medalists (2016), Four Continents Champions (2019, 2020), Four Continents silver medalists (2015, 2016), Four Continents bronze medalists (2013, 2017), Grand Prix Final silver medalists (2014, 2015, 2019) 

Hubbell and Donohue were the more dominant team from 2017 to 2019, but Chock and Bates beat them in every event last season. The two teams also train together (along with most of the top dance teams in the world) at Ice Academy of Montreal.

Chock and Bates have yet to compete this season following a series of injuries but are keeping both of their programs from last season, including the iconic but mildly culturally insensitive “Egyptian Snake Dance.” Hubbell and Donohue took the gold medal at Skate America, debuting two new programs for the season: a “Burlesque” rhythm dance which mercifully replaces their “My Heart Belongs to Daddy” number from last year, and a free dance to multiple versions of “Hallelujah,” choregraphed by Olympic champion Scott Moir.

Hubbell and Donohue looked strong at Skate America, with many considering their program choices for the season a return to form, but we have yet to see how Chock and Bates are faring. Honestly, either team could win the gold here, which is rare in ice dance, where scores and ordinals don’t shift much between competitions.

Hot Potato

Gold and silver will go to the teams above, and the bronze will go to Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean Luc-Baker for the third year in a row, which just leaves the pewter/potato medal.

Christina Carreira and Anthony Ponomarenko would have been most likely to finish fourth. They won the pewter last year and third at Skate America this year but have unfortunately withdrawn from Nationals after a positive COVID case at their home rink.

Caroline Green and Michael Parsons came fourth at Skate America and fifth at last year’s Nationals, so would be next in line if everything else holds. Both previously skated with their respective siblings–Caroline with brother Gordon and Michael with sister Rachel–and teamed up just last season. The Parsons were the 2017 US Junior National Champions and Junior World Champions and the Greens were the 2019 US Junior National Champions, so this team has a lot of talent and a lot of interest from the American skating federation in their development (even if the age difference is a bit questionable–Caroline is 17 and Michal is 25.)

Lorraine McNamara is the 2016 World Junior champion, 2015 JGP Final champion, and two-time U.S. national junior champion with former partner, Quinn Carpenter. Carpenter retired in April and McNamara teamed up with Anton Spiridonov in July. They came sixth at Skate America with a decent showing for a brand-new team. They probably aren’t quite in line for a medal this season, but could challenge in the future and it will be interesting to see their progress.

Schedule

  • The rhythm dance begins at 4pm EST on Friday, January 15th on NBCSN and streaming on Peacock Premium.
  • The free dance will be Saturday, January 16th. The first group begins at 7:30pm EST on Peacock Premium. The final groups take the ice at 10:30pm and will be live on NBCSN and Peacock.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s