Road To The Olympic Games


Americans Hubbell, Donohue claim Skate America ice dance title

World silver medallists Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue of the United States won the ice dance gold medal at Skate America on Sunday. Japan's Satoko Miyahara and Kaori Sakamoto went 1-2 in the women's competition for the second straight year.

Japan's Miyahara wins women's event

Madison Hubbell, left, and Zachary Donohue surpassed the 200-point mark for the first time in their career together en route to a Skate America ice dance title on Sunday. (Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images)

Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue had always thought about incorporating some elements of "Romeo and Juliet" into their ice dance routine.

At the suggestion of their coach, they decided to build their whole routine around it for the new season.

Turned out to be a winning decision.

World silver medallists Hubbell and Donohue of the United States broke the 200-point total for the first time in their long career together and captured the gold medal at Skate America on Sunday.

Watch the American duo's free dance

The American pair wrapped up a strong showing at Skate America as they took home the ice dance title after posting the best score in both the rhythm dance and free dance programs. 8:34

Hubbell and Donohue finished with 200.82 points: 78.43 for Saturday's rhythm dance and another 122.39 for Sunday's free dance. The previous best for the two Americans — who have been skating together since 2011, are defending U.S. champions and competed at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea — was 197.42 at last month's U.S. International Classic in Salt Lake City, which they won for the fourth year in a row.

"I think there have been a million beautiful 'Romeo and Juliet' interpretations," Hubbell said. "But I think there's something special Zach and I can bring to this with the raw emotion and absolute intensity that goes into dying for the person you love. So we'll see where it goes"

Coming into the 2018-19 schedule, Hubbell and Donohue were open to ideas - any ideas - on what to select in building their new ice dance routine.

"We were actually struggling to find music after a season when we put so much energy mentally and physically into the Olympic season," Donohue said. "We had nothing, no idea, no guidelines what we wanted to skate with. It was Maddie who has always loved this song. We've tried to fit things before that had something to do with 'Romeo and Juliet.'

"Then it was our coach [Romain Haguenauer] who said, 'Why don't you just do 'Romeo and Juliet?'"

They did, and the American champions won the gold going away.

Japan's Miyahara wins women's event

Later Sunday, Japan's Satoko Miyahara and Kaori Sakamoto went 1-2 in the women's competition for the second straight year.

Miyahara, last season's bronze medallist at Worlds and fourth at the Olympics, totalled 219.71 points. That included the top short program mark on Saturday (73.86) and Sunday's high mark in the free skate (145.85). Sakamoto finished with 213.90 points.

Watch Miyahara's winning skate

Miyahara posted a total combined score of 219.71 to win the Ladies title at Skate America in Everett, Washington. 7:57

Newcomer Sofia Samudurova of Russia earned bronze with 198.70. U.S. champion Bradie Tennell, fifth after the short program, moved up to fourth with a solid free skate, and totalled 192.89. Canada's Alaine Chartrand placed ninth.

Watch Chartrand's free skate

The Canadian posted a season's best free skate score of 108.50 on her way to a 9th place finish at Skate America in Everett, Washington. 7:50

Miyahara was nearly flawless in her routine, perfomed to "Invierno Porteno," and executed several combination jumps: a triple lutz-triple toe loop, a double axel-triple toe loop, and, right near the end, a triple flip-double toe loop-double loop.

"I was really nervous until the very, very end because I have jumps until the end," Miyahara said. "But when I landed the flip, I was very happy.

"I skated clean. But I would like to be more confident for the next competition."

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