Pyeongchang, Korea

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Hubbell and Donohue's Free Ice Dance

Ice Dancers Madison Hubbell/Zachary Donohue (USA) know how it feels to come close to winning a medal just to seeing it slip away. At the Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang this is what happened to the U.S. Ice Dance Champions.

The couple that trains in Montreal in Canada, sat in third place at their first Olympic Winter Games following their technically and artistically strong Short Dance to Samba, Rhumba and Samba.

"It took us a while to get here, but we're strong and we're here to fight. We had a big goal coming into this because it was our first time,” Donohue said after the Short Dance at Gangneung Ice Arena.

“Throughout the season we really had to stay focused, knowing that we weren't going to take not making the Games as an option. We decided to treat every competition as a first to make sure we were open and experiencing everything it could be and to learn from it. And here on the ice, we decided we were going to stay in the moment and enjoy everything we worked hard for. Now that we have set ourselves up and are in a great place to fight, we are looking forward to bringing out even more in ourselves."

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However, in their Blues Free Dance the next day, the team was not able to skate their best and dropped to fourth. There were a few small errors and in the end Donohue stumbled on the choreographic twizzles. It was a bitter moment.

"It just wasn't our best skate. We felt really focused during the performance, just a little slip here and there and we lost some really valuable points. In such a tough competition, there's really no room for error,” Hubbell acknowledged.

„We both made a couple of pretty costly mistakes. And that's that,” Donohue admitted.

The Ice Dancers knew that their dream of an Olympic medal had evaporated. “We knew. That's why we apologized right when we finished. We knew that we would have to skate our best to get that medal so we kind of expected it. I guess there's always some strange glimmer of hope, but right now it's a little bit disappointing, and feeling a little numb. We'd been training so well and not to be able to show the world what we've been working on was a little frustrating,” Madison added. "I think the Olympics are a privilege for anybody. It's an honor to be here no matter the placement, but for us, when we had a very specific goal in mind, it's a hard blow to take,” she continued.

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The U.S. Champions had been in a similar situation a year ago at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships 2017 in Helsinki, when they came third in the Short Dance as well and dropped to ninth following a fall on the twizzles. But they came back strong this season and qualified again for the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final where they placed fourth.

“On to bigger things,” Hubbell said after the Free Dance in Korea. The team regrouped and prepared for the ISU World Figure Skating Championships in Milan. Hubbell/Donohue are determined to do better and get on to the podium in Italy.