What better way for a couple to spend Valentine’s Day than together at the Winter Olympics?
That’s exactly where some of these uber-athletic couples will be on Feb. 14 as they compete in the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing.
There might not be time for a romantic dinner, but Olympic medals will have to do.
Red Gerard and Hailey Langland
Gerard and Langland have truly been by each other's side every step of the way on their Olympic journey. The two met at age 12 and started dating five years later, weeks before making their Olympic debuts at the PyeongChang Games.
In 2018, Gerard became the youngest person to win gold at the Winter Olympics since 1928. Meanwhile, Langland was overwhelmed by the pressure and finished sixth. The two elite snowboarders have since seen each other through the past four years, often training alongside and supporting each other.
Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics
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Gerard, who notably struggled navigating the post-Olympic spotlight, said being able to travel and compete together is “awesome.”
“We’re so lucky in those moments to be able to talk to someone who really understands,” Langland said in an interview with ESPN.
Madison Chock and Evan Bates
Chock and Bates – another long-time couple in the making for Team USA.
The ice dancing pair went to high school 30 miles apart outside of Detroit. The decade-old partnership began at age 21 in 2011. However, it wasn’t until 2017 that the two started a relationship off the ice.
Three Olympics later and they’ve finally captured an Olympic medal – silver in the team event, a first for the both of them.
Mikaela Shiffrin and Aleksander Kilde
Ski racing’s supercouple is a story of love in the time of corona.
Like many elite athletes, Shiffrin and Kilde’s paths had crossed for years at competitions and on social media. It was the death of Shiffrin’s dad, Jeff, in early 2020 that brought them together.
With Shiffrin grieving her father, Kilde reached out virtually, offering a listening ear if she ever wanted to talk. The American took him up on that offer. That sparked a friendship that eventually grew to something more. Shiffrin tells the story “And at some point, I said ‘You know, you’re my boyfriend. We may have barely met but you’re my boyfriend,” to which Kilde agreed.
It wasn’t all romantic. Their first in-person date involved Kilde getting a negative Covid-19 test and an outdoor walk, six feet apart and with masks on. With Covid-19 coursing through the skiing community at the height of competition, the elite athletes weren’t about to take any chances.
Their support for one another has been on full display in Beijing despite being on seemingly opposing trajectories.
Shiffrin, one of the faces of the Winter Olympics, skied out in both the women’s slalom and the Giant Slalom, both of which she was heavily favored. Meanwhile, Kilde has picked up two medals -- bronze in the Super-G and silver in the combined.
On social media, Shiffrin and Kilde have proved to be each other’s biggest fans with Kilde posting a picture discussing the pressure athletes like Shiffrin face. For her part Shiffrin shared a story celebrating Kilde’s silver medal and his “dancing feet.”
Misato Komatsubara and Tim Koleto
Misato Komatsubara and Tim Koleto are partners on and off the ice.
After becoming a figure skating pair in 2016, the duo married the following year. The story gets even more romantic.
Koleto, who is from Montana, obtained Japanese citizenship to team with Komatsubara, who is from Okayama, Japan, and represent her home country. He legally changed his name to Takeru Komatsubara.
The couple helped Japan win bronze in the team event at the 2022 Winter Olympics while competing in ice dance.
Emily Sweeney and Dominik Fischnaller
Emily Sweeney and Dominik Fischnaller share a passion: luge.
The two began dating when they were teenagers and have gone on to spend the last two Olympics together, with Sweeney competing for the U.S. team and Fischnaller for the Italian team.
It’s been a successful 2022 Winter Olympics for the couple, with Fischnaller winning bronze in men’s singles and Sweeney making a triumphant return to the Games after suffering a horrific crash at the 2018 Olympics that left her with a fractured neck and back
Kim Meylemans and Nicole Silveira of Brazil
Enemies on the track, partners off it.
That’s the life of Belgium’s Kim Meylemans and Brazil’s Nicole Silveira.
Both women are competing in the skeleton. Meylemans raced in 2018 while Silveira will be making her Olympics debut in Beijing.
The two met a few years ago while on tour for the skeleton. While they are competing against each other, the couple doesn’t see it that way.
“I think people always think of it as competing against each other, but I mean skeleton is a sport where you essentially race the clock," Meylemans said. "It's not like we step into a ring and have to fight each other. So I think it's a bit non-realistic to think that we're actually enemies.”
Blayre Turnbull and Ryan Sommer
Blayre Turnbull and her fiance Ryan Sommer may both compete for Team Canada, but that doesn’t mean they’re spending a ton of time together.
Turnbull, a Canadian women’s ice hockey player, and Sommer, a Canadian bobsledder, recently reunited at the Opening Ceremony of the 2022 Winter Olympics after spending the last three months apart.
Turnbull was with the Canadian women’s ice hockey team in Calgary, where the team trains. Sommer was traveling all over with the bobsled team, mostly in Europe where a majority of the world’s bobsled tracks are. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the two remained with their teammates in bubbles, causing the temporary long-distance relationship.