Home Figure Skating News Chock and Bates repeat as World Champions

Chock and Bates repeat as World Champions

by Paula Slater
Krystal Yeung
Chock and Bates repeat as world champions

(L-R) Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier (CAN), Madison Chock and Evan Bates (USA), and Charlene Guignard and Marco Fabbri (ITA) pose with their medals at the 2024 World Figure Skating Championships.

2024 World Figure Skating Championships: Ice Dance

USA’s Madison Chock and Evan Bates repeated as world champions in ice dance in Montreal, Canada, on Saturday. Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier of Canada rose up one spot to claim the silver, while Italy’s Charlene Guignard and Marco Fabbri pocketed the bronze.

Madison Chock and Evan Bates

Chock and Bates gave a strong performance in the rhythm dance to a Queen medley which highlighted by very good level-three midline steps. The twizzles were smooth and graded a level four, as was the rotational lift. The pattern steps received high grades of execution but garnered a level two. The 2023 World champions earned the highest technical and component scores of the event, earning mostly +4 and +5 grades of execution (GOE). They picked up a new season’s best of 90.08 for first place.

“I think this was our best rhythm dance performance of the season,” said Chock. “I am very proud of what we showed. The crowd was a big booster, they were great cheering for all the teams!”

Chock wanted to clarify that they are “returning” to the World Championships and don’t feel like they are there to “defend” anything.

The three-time Four Continents champions delivered a commanding free dance to a Pink Floyd medley, placing second in the free dance with 132.12 points. The team lost a level on their clever stationary lift at the beginning, but the rotational and straightline lifts were graded a level four. The twizzles were excellent, earning a level four, and the diagonal steps were scored a level three. The one-foot steps received a level two and three, and all elements were rewarded with very high GOEs. They earned the highest component scores, and with a total score of 222.20, they finished first overall.

“It was incredibly fun to perform today!” said Chock. “We’re so happy to finish the season with a strong skate. We’re so happy to be in our adopted hometown of Montreal. The audience was so phenomenal and wonderful cheering us on. Even on that first misstep on the first lift, we just got back into it. We put so much into the program and it’s come so far this season. We’re proud to deliver what we practiced. The improvements we made to the program after nationals really elevated the program.”

“You could hear the energy of the crowd right over the boards and they were really with us,” added Bates. “We left it all there on the ice and did everything we could, so we’re satisfied and fulfilled with the effort.”

When asked about the possibility of competing in Milan in 2026, Bates said: “I think as long as we’re in this state of mind and healthy, we’re going to keep going as long as we can.”

Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier

The 2023 World bronze medalists delivered a fun rhythm dance set to “No More I Love You’s” and “Addicted to Love,” displaying sharp and crisp choreography throughout. The twizzles and rotational lift garnered a level four while the midline and pattern steps were graded a level three. They placed a close third with 86.51 points.

“We think we skated the best that we could today,” said Gilles. “As the program grows, we get more excited while performing it. I tried to not hear the audience and focus on myself, but I felt the energy and it was great!”

“We built up well this year,” she added. “We had a good preparation compared to last season and we could attack this year and not just defend.”

Poirier said he was “super happy and proud” of teammates Deanna Stellato-Dudek and Max Deschamps.

The 2024 Four Continents champions gave a fantastic performance despite the pressure of skating last on home ice. Their moving free dance to Wuthering Heights. featured outstanding level-four twizzles and lifts. Both the one-foot and diagonal step sequences were graded a level three and two, while the dance spin was given a level four. They placed first with a new personal best of 133.17 in the free dance and moved up one spot to second overall with 219.68 points.

“It’s really exciting!” said Poirier of the free dance. “I think it’s just testament to the effort. And the time that we’ve put in to try and get to this level of competition. We’re always seeking to improve ourselves to better ourselves. Taking these last few little steps to be the best student well, they’re so difficult, it’s so hard to know where to go. But these little small victories are so rewarding still, and they just kind of keep teaching us that we’re on the right track and that our efforts are leading us to where we want to be. And that’s really exciting!”

“Just winning the free I think shows us that we’re capable of being on top of the podium at the World Championships,” said Gilles. “I think right now it’s hard to really digest what’s next and how to get to that next step. I think right now we’re just going to enjoy the show skating and kind of keep everybody on their toes, because that’s what we love to do; keep everybody guessing for many months after this!”

Charlene Guignard and Marco Fabbri

The 2023 World silver medalists earned a new season’s best of 87.52 for their high-octane routine to “Holding Out for a Hero” and “Against All Odds,” placing second in the rhythm dance. The twizzles and lift were graded a level four, while the pattern steps were a level three. The midline steps received a level two and all elements received very high GOES.

“We are happy about the score,” said Fabbri, “87 points is a great score to finish the season. But we are even more happy with the way we skated. It’s great to end the season with a good rhythm dance performance.”

“The reaction was amazing, a positive surprise!” added Guignard.

She added she was also happy that this would be the last time she had to apply her tedious makeup for the rhythm dance.

“I like to fight and attack,” said Fabbri regarding going into the free dance. “It’s better not to be the top favorite but rather the one chasing the top. And sure, we want to attack for the title!”

The two-time European champions delivered a heartfelt free dance, displaying excellent skating skills. Their routine featured strong level-four twizzles and a curve-rotational combination lift. The dance spin was also graded a level four. The circular steps received a level two and three while the one-foot steps were a level three and two. Unfortunately, Guignard’s hem was caught on her skate during the choreo slide, and it stayed “hooked” until the end of the final stationary lift (level two). All elements receive high GOEs, and they placed third in the free dance and overall (129.00/216.52).

“I saw the skirt under Charlene’s blade when we ended our sliding, and I was a little bit scared,” said Fabbri. “I wasn’t ready to catch her, because I didn’t know if the skirt was fully under the blade or just under the toes. So, I wasn’t really ready for anything. That’s also why the last leg was sliding. Okay, a little bit like, let’s say control, but fortunately it happened at the very end of the program. We just had to survive for 20 seconds, basically, and nothing happened. Thank God!”

“We are super pleased that we fought through the program,” he added. “I have been a bit sick since the beginning of the week, so it was a bit hard. We are happy with the result because our goal was to get on to the podium again and we are just the second Italian dance couple to have achieved that after our coach Barbara Fusar-Poli. We are proud and happy that this season is over, and we can rest a little.”

Lilah Fear and Lewis Gibson

Great Britain’s Lilah Fear and Lewis Gibson showed great connection in their rhythm dance to “Sweet Dreams,” placing fourth (84.60). The two-time European silver medalists put out very good level-four twizzles and rotational lift. The midline steps only received a level two, but received high GOEs, as did all other elements. The pattern steps were earned a level three.

“I was very nervous in the locker room, but we heard screaming for all the teams,” said Fear. “That helped a lot knowing you would skate for an appreciative crowd. It was extra special to skate for friends and family. There were some close people in the audience that have never seen us skate live, that makes it extra special!”

“We enjoyed our music selection, but what I especially love about the 80s is to sing along to other people’s music while you’re waiting for your turn,” said Gibson.

The six-time British national champions engaged the crowd with their energetic “Rocky” free dance. They showed very good level-three one-foot steps and level-two diagonal steps. The twizzles, two lifts, and dance spin were graded a level four, and they posted a score of 126.32 four fourth place. With a total score of 210.92, they maintained fourth overall.

“I was thinking it would be bittersweet to perform this free dance for the last time, but after all it was sweet-sweet!” said Fear. “So much love and support out there. I was thinking during the choreo steps to fully enjoy it as it was the last time, and this is what I did. We are very happy with our performance.”

“Looking out into the audience, every time I saw someone’s face, they were smiling back,” Gibson added. “There’s nothing better than that!”

Gibson said he knew the choice of music would be a risk and noted the critical “voices” at the beginning of the season.”

“I am proud of us for sticking to it,” he said.

The team already has new ideas for next season and are “excited” to push their boundaries and develop new characters.

Marjorie Lajoie and Zachary Lagha

Canada’s Marjorie Lajoie and Zachary Lagha showed good energy throughout their “Thriller” routine, placing fifth with a new personal best of 82.30. The twizzles were very good, earning +3.09 GOE and the rotational lift was fast. The midline steps were graded a level three and the pattern steps, a level two.

“After all we have been through, we are even more happy with the skate and what we have shown today,” said Lajoie. “It’s very special. To skate like this was the best possible scenario.”

Her concussion was the most serious injury she ever had. Lajoie was out for a full month. It wasn’t until a week ago that all symptoms ceased, and she was cleared to skate.

“If the doctors would have said no, I never would have risked my health,” she confirmed.

“I worked on my own with my coaches while she was out,” Lagha shared. “They gave me great advice and I could improve some aspects of my skating.”

The 2023 Four Continents bronze medalists skated a modern routine to “Roses” which featured level-four twizzles, lifts and dance spin. The nuances and transitions throughout were excellent and they scored a new personal best of 125.71 for fifth place in the free dance. With another personal best total score of 208.01, they finished fifth overall, improving six spots since their last appearance two years ago.

“We created this free dance for this occasion, and it felt extra special performing it here,” said Lajoie. “We are super happy!”

“It was the best moment today when we finished our performance and we saw the standing ovations,” added Lagha.

The ice dancers revealed that this moment was also their proudest moment of the season after everything they have gone through. Lajoie also shared that she had met the composer, Jean-Michel Blais, after seeing his show.

“He said he felt honored that we chose his music,” she relayed.

The team also said they “learned a lot about recovery this season” and hope to apply that further. They plan to take a small break and then begin discussing new programs with their coaching team.

Allison Reed and Saulius Ambrulevicius

Lithuanians Allison Reed and Saulius Ambrulevicius placed sixth (80.99) in the rhythm dance. Their routine to a Guns n’ Roses melody featured level-four twizzles and a level-four rotational lift with good positions.

“I feel a bit sad to let this rhythm dance go,” said Reed. “I loved it so much and we had such a special season with it. It was great to perform it one last time on this stage. The times since Europeans have been great and also a bit crazy. We got so many appointments, were invited to many amazing occasions. It’s amazing how much you can move with your sport. It’s been a great experience!”

The 2024 European bronze medalists put out a contemporary free dance with a story about reconnecting in society. Their routine was highlighted by very good level-four lifts and twizzles. The finished ninth in this segment (119.97) but maintained sixth place overall (200.96).

“We’re pretty happy!” said Saulius. “It’s a very nice feeling to finish this kind of season with a clean skate. That’s what we wanted, and that’s what worked for. We’re happy to finish this on this kind of note.”

“This has been such an incredible, incredible season this year,” added Reed. “The journey has been so amazing! To finish with two clean skates, it’s what we came here to do, and I’m just really proud of both of us.”

Saulius is amazed at their success this season, especially given their careers have been “completely different as individuals.”

“I come from singles area where you would come and watch as one of the last skaters and singles,” he explained. “Like, to come and watch the big boys and the big skaters. And now, you’re part of them. It’s surreal to come looking back to your path. It’s very exciting and I’m very proud of having a partner like this with me helping both of us achieve what we have right now.”

Christina Carreira and Anthony Ponomarenko

USA’s Christina Carreira and Anthony Ponomarenko displayed conviction and passion in their rhythm dance to music from Stevie Nicks, placing eighth with a new personal best of 79.26.

“We are super proud and happy to skate like this on the World stage,” said Carreira. “A lot of people we know are in the crowd. I will miss this rhythm dance, but it’s great to let it go with a performance like this.”

“Season’s best at a World Championships; that tells a lot,” Ponomarenko added. “Our preparation was great, no injuries of illnesses. We worked super hard and well and I think it showed.”

The two-time Four Continents bronze medalists put out a suspenseful and dark free dance from the Perfume – The Story of a Murderer soundtrack. Their routine was highlighted by a very good one-foot step sequence (graded level four and three) and level-four twizzles and lifts. They scored a new personal best of 121.06, placing seventh in the free dance and overall (200.32).

The U.S. silver medalists were extremely happy and pleased with their performance at Worlds. They were 10th last season and said their work with Scott Moir and Madison Hubbell has been “life-changing” to them as they inspired them in so many aspects.

“The coaches were tough on the technical aspects recently,” Ponomarenko shared. “We put in this little extra to be 100 percent ready for Worlds.”

“Reaching 200 has been a goal for a couple of years and it’s of course great to have reached that,” added Carreira.

Rounding out the top 10

Evgeniia Lopareva and Geoffrey Brissaud of France finished eighth overall (200.28). The team was very happy to reach the 80-mark in the rhythm dance (80.01) for a new personal best. Brissaud was even more happy that they reached the 200-mark overall, and that it was a nice “gift” for his birthday.

They plan to work on a new free dance with Guillaume Cizeron next week, but do not know the music yet.

Laurence Fournier Beaudry and Nikolaj Soerensen of Canada found themselves in 10th place (75.79) after the rhythm dance as Fournier Beaudry missed a twizzle. The two-time Four Continents silver medalists placed sixth in the free dance (124.12) and moved up to ninth overall (199.91).

“When we finished the program, I was very moved,” said Fournier Beaudry. “I am someone who is very emotional, so lots of gratitude and appreciation for everyone who supported us!”

“It’s a program that showed our love for skating,” Soerensen said of the free dance.

Fournier Beaudry added that the rhythm dance is the first program that “breaks the ice.”

“For sure, with the small mistake from yesterday, we just wanted to come back strong,” she said. “We just try to keep our confidence in ourselves and our coaches.”

They plan to take two weeks off to spend time with their parents in Montreal before resuming training.

Juulia Turkkila and Matthias Versluis of Finland finished 10th overall (192.34).

“The crowd as been amazing!” said Turkkila. “Result wise, we could have done even a bit better this season, especially at Europeans. But the field is big and competitive. We want to be even better and will work hard for next season.”

The Finns added that they would also like to try a new program style. They are very grateful to their coach, Maurizio Margaglio, whom they have worked with from the beginning.

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