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Madison Hubbell+Zachary Donohue teamed up in May 2011 when both were training without partners at the Detroit Skating Club.

The 6’-3’’ Donohue and 5’- 8’’ Hubbell had power and striking good looks, but more importantly – they had instant chemistry.

In a 2014 interview their coach, Pasquale Camerlengo, recalled the first day they skated together.

“I said those two together can’t be wrong. They had a lot of presence on the ice.”

In September 2011, they made their international debut at the Nebelhorn Trophy and won gold, followed by bronze at US Nationals and a tenth place finish at the World Championships in Nice.

The sophomore jinx hit the team in 2012-13 with a third place at Finlandia Trophy, fifth at Skate Canada, fourth at Trophee Bompard, and fourth at US Nationals in Omaha.


Throughout the following season, physical problems plagued the team. During a training session in June, Hubble fell on a three turn and sustained a concussion that kept them off ice for six weeks. She later struggled with a painful hip injury that forced her to seek advice from an Orthopedic Surgeon.

“A labrum injury is one that gets worse and worse every day. You suffer, but don’t notice it.

The team pushed through the competitive season and returned to Nebelhorn to pick up another gold medal before back-to-back GP events. The dancers finished fourth at Nationals in Boston, but the week leading into the event was very stressful.

“It was a struggle to complete even one run-through just prior to Nationals, while we saw our training mates and competitors completing at least five times our workload. The moment I finished my free dance was pure joy and relief,” reflected Hubbell. “We were able to close the gap between ourselves and our competitors, despite my condition.”

They won gold the following week at Four Continents.

When Olympic gold medalists, Meryl Davis+Charlie White, withdrew from the World Championships, first alternates Hubbell+Donohue declined the invitation to represent the US in Saitama, Japan.

Hubbell later wrote in her blog, “An extra two months of training meant another cortisone injection into my hip socket and a risk of making my injury worse. With the support of family, coaches and Zach, I came to the conclusion that I would be better off getting my surgery as soon as possible.”

On March 2, the surgery was successfully performed in Vail, CO. Her recovery and rehab followed at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.

In the summer, Hubbell began a long and slow journey toward recovering her full strength and stamina.

“We weren’t always able to do a run-through and really skate full out because I wasn’t able to push that hard on the hip. It was just really hard to be as prepared as we wanted to be,” the dancer told Icenetwork.

“I think I wasn’t a lot of fun because I wasn’t feeling well. People would ask ‘Are you alright?’ And I would say, ‘I’m OK! I’m OK,’ but it was hard,” she added.

In November they won bronze medals at both Skate Canada and Trophee Bompard and were #1 at Golden Spin.

The final surge of training prior to US Nationals included changing over half of the Paso Doble. A Curve Lift replaced the Rotational Lift and was moved to the final element after the patterns; more details were also added.

In Greensboro, the Detroit based team was third after the Short Dance.

“This season we’ve kept our composure, so nobody knows how difficult it was both physically and mentally. Earlier in the Grand Prix, I struggled for the first time in my life with not wanting to compete and not feeling confident with myself. This competition has been great to just go back to the old Madi who is confident and has fun out there performing,” Hubbell told the press after the SD.

The third place Free Dance was a contemporary program to The Great Gatsby soundtrack. The team was not pleased with their performance.

“For Zach and me, this wasn’t quite the dream we had when you think of skating really well and your strongest. We can only be thankful to our coaches and the last four weeks of really hard training because even on a very off day and struggling through every element, we were able to make our goal,” noted Hubbell. “As for the score, we couldn’t ask for better considering how we skated,” she added.

The team earned the bronze medal and Hubbell noted the irony, “In August, I wasn’t 100%. I wasn’t really able to skate, but the goal was to be here.”

After the event, Donohue shared his thoughts on their music selection and skating. “We’re trying to bring some different perspective to the sport. Everything about our skating is honest; it’s raw emotion.”


At a media teleconference prior to leaving for Shanghai, Hubbell talked about the challenging two years and to finally be healthy after the surgery.

“It means the world to us,” she answered.

The response was not just a cliché. Being healthy actually does mean ‘Worlds to them’ since it was freedom from pain that allowed them to skate well enough to win a ticket to the Championships.

The charismatic duo was asked about changes in the Free Program, since they had been vocal about their dissatisfaction with the performance at Nationals.

“No changes per se, just worked with the choreographer to clean things up – liven it up! We let go of some of the earlier apprehension we had about rushing the recovery,” volunteered Donohue.

Since the team wasn’t sent to Korea to defend their Four Continents’ title, they took advantage of the break to train harder – full out – no holding back.

“It was an early disappointment not getting the assignment” said Donohue, “but in the end it helped us because we stepped up our training and did more runs-through. We put the pedal to the metal.”

Former ice dancer, Peter Breen, is Hubbell’s physical therapist at the Detroit Skating Club and has been assigned to the US Team for the 2015 Worlds.

“He will make sure all my muscles are firing correctly. I can’t wait to compete the same as I feel at home. It’s a battle to compete without that element,” she said.

Hubbell will debut a new Free Dance dress designed and sewn by her mother. She loved the one worn earlier in the season, but chose to change since the program itself has evolved event – to – event.

“It’s more WOW,” laughed Hubbell.


The team had seven weeks to prepare for the World Championships. They feel strong and confident. They are excited to represent Team USA

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Skate Today was created in November 2004 to showcase the people of the skating world, skaters and coaches and others, who make figure skating and ice dancing a pleasure to watch for fans from around the world. The goal was to create a site that would give viewers an insight into the personalities of the people involved in this sport and to give you a more personal connection when watching them live at an event or on the television. Our staff knows how much time and dedication is put into this sport and that's why Skate Today was created.

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