On February 19, when the American pair Madison Chock and Evan Bates glided onto the ice for the free-dance competition at the Winter Olympics in Pyenogchang, some Darwinian instinct in me whispered, Root for them. You won’t be disappointed. They were calm, focused, attractive. My faith was shaken for a moment when their risky music choice began playing—a cover of John Lennon’s “Imagine,” sung live from inside the arena. But when Chock and Bates met eyes and began their routine, their synchronicity had a strange, tranquil power. A hush descended on my friend’s living room. Watching TV felt like being in nature.
Their dreamy routine evoked stillness with motion, and their movements were so linked that it felt as if their individual personalities converged into one. I couldn’t tell the ice dancers from the ice dance.
A few minutes in, they tangled blades and Bates went down like a teen at Chelsea Piers. The pathos of the moment was intense—years of work and hope vanished in an instant. In addition to their deduction, they got no points for that combination spin. They were hemorrhaging points. Read More