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Skating stars stop in Lake Placid

July 17, 2018
By CHRISTIE SAUSA - Correspondent , Lake Placid News

LAKE PLACID - Elite ice dancers Madison Hubbell and Zach Donohue had clear goals for their 2017-2018 Olympic season: To become the national champions, place top three in the world championships and be on the podium at the Olympics.

They almost accomplished all three goals, winning the national title, placing second at the World Championships and finishing in fourth place at the Olympic Games behind bronze medalists Maia and Alex Shibutani.

"(We're) honestly super pleased with our season - there were many of those goals from last year that we were able to accomplish, all in all I think the highlight is being able to be an Olympian now and I think that just made us hungry to have that experience again," said Hubbell, who performed with Donohue in last week's Saturday Night Ice Show at the Olympic Center. "No matter how much you prepare, you can't really prepare yourself for everything that's happening and absorb everything (at the Olympics).

Article Photos

Madison Hubbell and Zach Donohue perform in the Saturday Night Ice Show on July 14 at the Olympic Center in Lake Placid.
Provided photo — Christie Sausa

"I think maybe I thought going would kind of put an end on the career, almost like we had accomplished everything we had hoped. But instead, it just kind of made me want to go again."

The duo learned from their experiences at the Pyeongchang Games, lessons they believe will be invaluable as they start to focus on the 2022 Oympics.

"To me the Olympics was nothing short of a learning experience, and (I) had a self-realizing moment, kind of a turning point in my life," Donohue said. "I allowed myself to get wrapped up, (with) the disappointment we had in our free (skate), when you come so close and see a gold in sight.

"But at the same time, it was great motivation for us, because we had a great drive and push into worlds. So I think more than any wonderful Olympic experience, it was more of a turning point."

Skating to "The Blower's Daughter," by Damien Rice and "Make Me Feel," by Janelle Monae - which they performed at the National and World Championship exhibitions and in the Stars on Ice tour, respectively - the team presented the July 14 Saturday Night Ice Show audience with world-class ice dancing. They skated alongside nearly 30 participants in the Lake Placid summer figure skating camp, and taught a seminar to several skaters that afternoon.

Hubbell and Donohue continue to train in Montreal this season with two-time worlds silver medalists Marie Dubreil and Patrice Lauzon.

"As we look towards the next four years, we want to be in the place in 2022 where we will have to skate and do our best," Hubbell said. "There's always competition, but we really want to be pushing for the gold medal and to do that, it's not comfortable. We are second in the world right now and we train with the first-place team (Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron, of France) and many more teams in Montreal. Our goal is to just keep improving ourselves because we at this point really believe we have what it takes to make those goals."

Like all good teams, Hubbell and Donohue understand how their partnership encourages them to improve as a team and individually. They feel their differing attitudes push them to excel.

"We're 27. If we're going to keep skating, it's because we love it and we enjoy it," Hubbell said. "Yes it's our business, but sometimes as an athlete you become so involved in exact goals that you take the fun out of it and put more pressure on yourself than really what serves you. So if we can keep that hard-working mentality and professionalism and allow ourselves to have fun training every day, that's a nice way to spend the next four years of our career."

"I love that contrast because I feel the exact opposite," Donohue said. "I spent so many years enjoying it and not really dedicating myself as much as I should have and not understanding what it took to drive and push forward, whereas Maddie spent her time with Kiefer (Hubbell, Madison's brother and former partner) being driven and motivated, and I've learned that from her and kind of taken that on board. So now she's kind of balancing out my very job/goal-oriented attitude, keeping things light. It's a nice flipped contrast that we have with each other. It's added another depth and layer to the partnership."

Next, they will star in Sun Valley's Saturday Night Ice Show on July 27, then participate in US Figure Skating's Champs Camp in August before competing in two Grand Prix events, Skate America and Skate Canada to start their season.

"The whole way to Lake Placid is beautiful, everything is green and full of life, especially in the fall where everything starts to turn," Donohue said.

"We have so many memories of LP; I think I've been here like 15 times," Hubbell said. "We competed at the Ice Dance Championships and used to stay 2 or 3 weeks for the camp. We would go to Ausable Chasm every few years. We came as kids so we were obsessed with BowlWinkles, Art Devlin's, we have a lot of memories being here on this Main Street. It feels the same here."

The next skating event in Lake Placid is the Lake Placid Ice Dance Championships and the Ice Dance International July 24-28. For more information on the Lake Placid Summer Figure Skating Program, including competitions, visit their website at



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