Olympic Ice Dancing Duo Madison Chock and Evan Bates 'Fell In Love' on the Ice

"Maddie and I met and we were competitors for a long time," ice dancer Evan Bates tells PEOPLE

Madison Chock and Evan Bates are a match made in ice dancing heaven.

The ice dance duo opened up about their love life — and careers — to PEOPLE prior to arriving in Pyeongchang, South Korea, revealing that they were initially competitors before falling in love outside of the rink.

“Maddie and I met and we were competitors for a long time. Then, even when we started skating together, we were just friends at first,” Bates tells PEOPLE. “We had a really good relationship and just as we got older, we sort of fell in love on the ice and realized that we should be together.”

Chock, 25, and 28-year-old Bates teamed up in 2011 and began dating in 2016, NBC reported. And Chock says the couple has great chemistry.

2018 Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships - Day 5
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“We go through everything together; all the highs and all lows,” she tells PEOPLE. “You just really have to be on the same page and have the same goals and the same work ethic, which we are fortunate to have and it works really well.”

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The athletes have a slew of silver and bronze medals under their belts, and are gearing up to compete in the 2018 Winter Olympics.. The trip is yet another special moment for the lovebirds to share.

“We’ve grown together and we have this amazing life together where we get to travel the world and do what we love and perform for people and kind of share our gift or what we work on so hard at home,” Bates tells PEOPLE. “It’s a great relationship.”

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Chock and Bates have found great success as a team over the years, but fell short at 2017’s Grand Prix Final and the world championships (finishing sixth and seventh respectively). But Bates told NBC that the hardships have only brought him and Chock closer.

“If everything had been going swimmingly over the past few seasons, with gold medals galore, I think, through it all, the difficult times created a really beautiful relationship that we now share,” he says. “Who knows? Maybe it would’ve never happened if everything was going great.”

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