Any successful relationship takes teamwork, but these Olympic couples are taking teamwork to the next level.
Evan Bates and Madison Chock
Evan Bates and Madison Chock just took home the first Olympic medal of their respective ice skating careers, helping Team USA take home the silver medal in Beijing. As decorated national champions in the U.S., this couple knows how to impress by combining grace, chemistry, and upbeat energy in their routines.
After beginning ice skating at the tender ages of 4 and 5, respectively, Evan and Madison met while figure skating in Michigan. Both had successful partnerships with other skaters before ice dancing together, and they decided to team up on the ice eight years ago. While their first date was years ago for Madison’s 16th birthday, they didn’t officially start dating until 2017 – a few years after their competitive partnership began.
Both Madison and Evan can see how competing together has grown their relationship, on and off the ice. They attribute the strength of their love to facing mistakes and hardship while reaching for challenging goals. As Madison told NBC: “It feels completely genuine and real. It makes training so much more fun, and it brings us closer together every day. We’re working together, working towards the same things. When you’re doing that with someone that you love, it really is so much more meaningful.” With a perspective like that, we can certainly hope to see these two continue to thrive as both competitive athletes and real-life partners!
Mikaela Shiffrin and Aleksander Aamodt Kilde
Both Alpine skiers, Mikaela Shiffrin and Aleksander Kilde are no strangers to hardship. Mikaela, an American twice gold medalist, and Aleksander, a competitor on Norway’s men’s team, met over seven years ago, but they didn’t begin dating until both found themselves in a season of suffering: Mikaela was mourning the loss of her father, and Aleksander was recovering from a brutal knee injury.
The couple has learned to support each other both professionally and emotionally, despite spending most of their relationship long-distance. Since both are world competitors, their schedules involve a great deal of travel – causing them to be thousands of miles apart most of the time. “We share in each other's successes and also disappointments,” Mikaela shared with Reuters, highlighting the couple’s ability to connect and support one another despite their unique situation. They see their shared career as a strength, and an area where they can share experiences that not many others understand.
Mikaela and Aleksander seem to only be made more resilient through their hardship, and have clearly chosen to be resilient with and for each other – something that can only strengthen them as Olympic competitors too.
Alexa Scimeca Knierim and Chris Knierim
After teaming up in 2012 and getting married in 2016, these two American figure skaters have ridden out many changes and been by each other’s side in the process. The Knierims have moved three times and had two different coaching changes since the 2018 Olympics, and they’ve also endured multiple health issues and personal difficulties in recent years, including the loss of Chris’ father in 2017.
When Chris retired from skating in 2020, the three-time U.S. champions showed just as much support and excitement for each other as ever. “I'm ready to move on. But Alexa, she's still gung-ho and ready to go, no doubt. She's such an athlete and competitor. I support her 100 percent,” Chris said of his wife.
In turn, Alexa attested to the decision only bringing them closer together, since it had each other’s good in mind: “We love each other so much that we want to see the other person be happy. Our marriage is stronger than ever…first and foremost, I'm his wife over being his [skating] partner. We know skating ends and life continues. For us, our marriage, our relationship is what's important.”
Alexa has partnered with another skater – Brandon Frazier, who set her up with Chris over a decade ago! – for the 2022 Olympics. Her husband – now putting his talent as a skater to great use as a coach – will certainly be cheering her on!
Jamie Anderson and Tyler Nicholson
Snowboarder Jamie Anderson, a two-time gold medalist for Team USA, and Canadian snowboarder Tyler Nicholson were friends for a long time, sharing their love of snowboarding, before taking their relationship to the next level. After a romantic proposal fittingly in the snow, Jamie and Tyler are taking on the 2022 Olympics as Jamie defends her title.
The two are an adventurous pair, which keeps a career in competitive sports upbeat and fun. “It's just so fun to have someone I can travel with who has a passion in the same area,” said Jamie. “We love snowboarding, we love adventure, we're always going on missions like camping and exploring…it's just fun, especially here at the Olympics.”
Jamie and Tyler only seem in for more fun and adventure, as they begin this new stage of their relationship in Beijing.
Miriam Ziegler and Severin Kiefer
The elegance and chemistry exhibited by this couple on the ice can only be a sign of their compatibility in their relationship. The Austrian Olympians paired up in 2013, after Miriam had created a career in solo skating. When she discovered she was losing the joy in her skating, she and Severin paired up, resulting in five national championship titles and a beautiful relationship.
“Miriam and I spend close to twenty-four hours a day together, and quite honestly, I wouldn't have it any other way,” Severin said. The secret to their success, despite spending so much time together? Healthy boundaries between their personal relationship and their professional one. Severin describes: “We have a pretty good way of separating our on ice partnership with what we have away from skating and don't let problems that occur on the ice interfere with our relationship off the ice.”
It’ll be exciting to watch these two give their all for Team Austria in the 2022 Winter Olympics and put the fruits of hard work together on full display!
Though all of these couples handle relationships differently in the world of professional sports – some prefer hard boundaries between professional and personal lives, while others seek to share everything – what they all showcase is that good, healthy relationships mean teamwork and rooting for each other, no matter the hardships or twists and turns. Whatever country they’re representing in their sport, their relationships are something worth cheering for!
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