Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue are just one competition away from hanging up their competitive skates.
In a little under three weeks, they will take their final bows on the ice at the World Championships in Montpellier, France, and close out an 11-year partnership that to date has been rewarded with an array of titles and a total of 34 medals, including Olympic bronze, gold at 16 Grand Prix and Challenger Series events, a trio of World medals and three U.S. crowns. A World Championships title is the only major one missing from their collection.
Knowing this would be their final season, and the possibility of winning a medal at the 2022 Olympic Winter Games foremost on their minds, Hubbell and Donohue took a different approach to their mental and physical preparation for a demanding year.
“Zach and I wanted to change the way we approached the (Olympic) competition and the preparation going into it,” Hubbell explained in reference to the way the duo prepared for the 2018 Winter Games. “We trained way better mentally; we were more stable and our friendship is tougher. The day-to-day joy of training was so much different than other years.
“And so when we were in Beijing, we wanted to take in the magic of the Olympics, but not try to overdo it — just trust that whatever we put out would be enough to end up on the podium. We are very happy and grateful to our training centre and coaches and everyone involved that helped prepare us because we were able to rely on that.”
Hubbell and Donohue are not moving forward staring at a blank page. The duo wisely thought about and began planning what they would do beyond the competitive boards long before their final dance. Both now have respective plans in place and have set new goals for themselves.
“We will be touring for a few months, hopefully doing as many shows as possible. We would love to do ‘Art on Ice,’” said Hubbell. “We want to see the world and perform in a different way as much as possible over the next few years.
“And we are both going to start working towards building our own schools, start coaching and supporting the sport, developing new athletes and future generations.”
Hubbell, who has been living in Montréal, Canada, since 2015, said she will be returning to the U.S. to spend time with her family, something she is looking forward to the most in the immediate future. The 31-year-old also recently announced that she and her fiancé, Spanish ice dancer Adrián Díaz, to whom she became engaged in April 2018, have set a wedding date for June 2023.
With just one competition left on their agenda, Hubbell and Donohue will likely be edgier than ever in France, as they look to close out their career with a podium finish and add one final medal to their impressive stash.
2022 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS