Q&A with Michigan Olympian Ice Dancer Evan Bates

Newsprint: What did you do to prepare for the Olympics?

Bates: Leading up to the Olympics I was practicing 5 days a week for between 4-6 hours a day. Beyond that, I have been preparing for virtually my entire life. I began skating at 4 years old and started ice dance when I was 9. I have been competing internationally for 10 years and all of that experience has been a part of my preparation leading up to the Sochi Games.

Newsprint: What are some of your biggest accomplishments in your career thus far?

Bates: Thus far I think being a part of two Olympic teams and being a member of the World Team Trophy team that won gold in 2013 have been my best accomplishments.

Newsprint: What are some struggles you have had during your career?

Bates: Injuries have been the biggest obstacle in my career. As many other athletes can relate to, I have had two major injuries that have sidelined me. The first was a fracture in my back during 2010. The second was a severed Achilles that forced me to miss the 2011 season and ultimately change partners.

Newsprint: How would you describe your overall experience at the Olympics?

Bates: My overall Olympic experience was excellent. I was happy with the way I performed in my competition and beyond that, I have no regrets about how I spent my time. I tried to be outgoing and meet as many other athletes, both American and foreign. I made many new connections with people that I will hopefully stay in touch with in the future.

Newsprint: How did you train for the Olympics?

Bates: Typically I train 5 days a week for 4-6 hours a day depending on what part of season we are in and when we are competing.

Newsprint: Where have you trained?

Bates: I have trained in Ann Arbor, Canton and Novi.

Newsprint: How would you describe Sochi in comparison to Michigan?

Bates: Sochi is a tropical climate that has both palm trees and mountains. Geographically, it is beautiful. I didn’t explore much outside of the Olympic Village and Park, however what I saw was very impressive. They have spent a lot of money to build up the surrounding area with new venues, hotels, and other attractions. I think Sochi will be a great vacation destination in the future.

Newsprint: How has your experience been skating in Michigan?

Bates: Skating in Michigan has been a great experience. There are a number of good skating clubs in the area with excellent coaches. I have been fortunate to train with the caliber of coaches while remaining close to home. Michigan is also home to many elite ice dancers, which is great to have daily competition in training.

Newsprint: What initially interested you in ice skating?

Bates: Honestly, the only reason I began skating is because my older sister skated and I was put on the ice by my mother. I don’t regret it now, but in the beginning I did not enjoy skating.

Newsprint: How has this experience changed you?

Bates: Skating has given me a lot of great tools that I will use in my future after athletics. Namely a good work ethic and ability to work well on a team are the best tools that skating has given me.

Newsprint: How is your relationship with your partner, Madison Chock?

Bates: My relationship with Madison is very good. We get along well and have shared goals to ultimately be the best we can be. We work well together creatively which is important when we are creating new material. It is also nice to work with someone who you get along with because we spend so much time together. It makes everything easier.

Newsprint: How did you come to find your partner?

Bates: Madison and I had the same coach, Igor Shpilband, when we were both searching for partners in 2011. Igor suggested we try out together and after a few weeks, we decided to skate together.

Newsprint: How is skating with a partner different than alone?

Bates: Skating with a partner is great, but also can be challenging. I find it comforting to have someone on the ice with me when I am training and competing. It is great to share the experience with someone and I have always enjoyed working on a team. Skating with a partner also teaches you patience. It is important to always respect one another, even when we see things differently. With more time spent together, we work more efficiently together and really enjoy the process more than ever.

Newsprint: Do you intend on competing in the 2018 Olympics?

Bates: We are hoping to compete in 2018 Olympics.

Newsprint: What are you doing now?

Bates: Our next competition is the World Championship in Tokyo, Japan on March 24-30

Link to Bates and Chock’s performance at the “2012 US Nationals”:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2xoqqk2h0k0

Link to Bates and Chock’s performance at the 2013 “U.S. Nationals”, the preliminary competition before Worlds:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1MaZrBx73t0

Link to Bates and Chock’s performances at the “Cup of China”, in which they received the bronze:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UfRNAZjnW5A

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7wpkb1As6ws

Link to Bates and Chock’s performance at “Four Continents”:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1HUOiGuDHw4