Americans Hubbell-Donohue win Skate America ice dance

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue won the final Skate America of their careers on Sunday by a tiny margin.

The U.S. ice dancers maintained their lead from Saturday’s rhythm dance and won the first Grand Prix of the figure skating season with a total of 209.54 points. They edged teammates and training mates Madison Chock and Evan Bates, who were second both days to take the silver with 208.23.

“I couldn’t be happier with the performance today,” Hubbell said. “Some days you take inspiration from different things, whether it be the work you put in at home or that my mom is in the stands. Something clicked this morning and I really wanted to skate for myself and be there with Zach.

“I think we both accomplished that goal and, in doing so, accomplished the other goal of taking home the gold.”

Laurence Fournier Beaudry and Nikolaj Sorenson got bronze (190.13), just as they had at both their Grand Prix assignments two seasons ago; the Canadians did not have any Grand Prix opportunities last season due to the pandemic.

The top four teams, including Spain’s Olivia Smart and Adrian Diaz (189.69), are coached by Marie-France Dubreuil, Patrice Lauzon and Romain Haguenauer at the Ice Academy of Montreal.

Hubbell and Donohue, fourth at their Olympic debut four years ago, have vowed this will be their final season, meaning they will retire from competition after either the Beijing Olympics in February or the world championships in March.

They are the only ice dance team to medal at each of the last three world championships and are among the favorites to reach the Olympic podium.

Their win at Orleans Arena is their fourth in a row at Skate America, tying them with 2014 Olympic champions and fellow Americans Meryl Davis and Charlie White for the longest ice dance win streak in the event’s history.