Ice Dancers Evan Bates and Madison Chock Are Social Distancing Together — and Training Over Zoom
Team USA Olympic ice dancers Evan Bates and Madison Chock are currently quarantined in Canada during the coronavirus pandemic, and the couple is doing their best to stay in shape — and entertained — while stuck indoors.
The duo, who have been figure skating partners for nearly a decade, have tried new things since the coronavirus outbreak led to worldwide lockdowns to slow the spread of the disease.
Chock, 27, started playing the massively popular Nintendo game Animal Crossing, while Bates, 31, has taken up the guitar. The couple has also binge-watched Netflix shows like Tiger King and Love Is Blind during their downtime in Montreal.
But quarantine hasn't been all fun and games — Chock and Bates are athletes, after all, and need to be ready to hit the ice rink when restrictions are finally lifted. Fortunately, their skating school has set up virtual classes over Zoom to keep them fresh. These lessons include ballroom dancing, ballet, yoga and hip-hop training.
"When we were first quarantined, it was a very strange feeling," Bates tells PEOPLE. "We felt like we were kind of just floating — we didn't know when we'd be able to get on the ice or when we'd be able to compete again."
"It was actually pretty great that our school was able to establish a schedule of virtual classes for us," he adds.
The classes have provided some much-needed structure for the couple, plus extra motivation to turn off video games or television shows.
"You would be surprised how easy it's been to just slip into a less active routine," Chock tells PEOPLE. "The first two weeks we were really just not considering what was ahead, keeping crazy hours and eating poorly — stuff we would never normally do. And over the last eight weeks, we've been pulling ourselves back, getting back to the regimented lifestyle of an athlete."
"Two weeks was plenty of letting everything go and having no structure," she adds.
Chock says she has felt the urge to be "super" productive, and then felt the complete opposite a short time later.
"It comes in waves," she explains. "I find sometimes I'll be super motivated and I'll clean all over and organize and get things done, and then the next week I'll find myself in a rut."
Like many others around the world, the couple says they are struggling with the distance between them and their loved ones.
"We haven't even seen our families since this whole thing started," Bates says. "We're kind of used to living far away from them at this point, but once the borders closed it just kind of changed something psychologically."
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But aside from using their Zoom classes, the couple is relying on video chats with friends — and time with their dogs, Henry and Stella — to keep themselves positive and happy during the chaos of a pandemic.
"I'd say we have a group of four to five friends we've been FaceTiming pretty regularly, video calling with friends and family," Bates says.
Plus, "creating some boundaries and not watching the news all the time and taking some time out" has helped, Chock adds. "We have two amazing dogs, so we hang out with them. They bring us so much joy and give us something to take care of. We look forward to going on walks with them every day."
As of Thursday afternoon, Canada has seen 80,102 cases and 6,030 deaths attributed to coronavirus, according to the New York Times. The United States, meanwhile, has seen more than 1.5 million cases and 93,408 deaths.
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