Americans Hubbell-Donohue win Skate America ice dance

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Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue perform in the free dance at the Skate America figure skating event Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Ronda Churchill)

LAS VEGAS – 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.”

Russia’s Alexandra Trusova won Skate America's women's event in dominant fashion and needed only one quadruple jump to do so.

Laurence Fournier Beaudry and Nikolaj Sorenson got bronze (190.13) in ice dance, 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.

Trusova started the Olympic season with the greatest margin of victory in the women’s event in 13 years. Her total of 232.37 points was more than 15 ahead of countrywoman Daria Usacheva, the 15-year-old taking silver at her Grand Prix debut.

“I’m pleased with my performances here in this competition, but obviously I would like to have a higher degree of difficulty in both my short and free programs,” Trusova said through a translator.

Trusova has included three, four or five quads -- a jump practically unheard of for women a handful of years ago - in every other free skate in her career as a senior skater.

She joked that doing only one quad in this program for the first time felt like a day of rest.

“When I came to this competition, we wanted to skate three quads but it didn’t really work because of my injury and we lost a lot of practice time.”

Her next competition is NHK Trophy, Nov. 12-14, in Tokyo, where a strong finish would qualify her for December’s Grand Prix Final.

Korea’s Young You, the 2020 Four Continents silver medalist, was third at 216.97 points and Japan’s Kaori Sakamoto, 2018 Four Continents champion, was fourth with 215.93.

They held off a potential Russian sweep as Kseniia Sinitsyna, who was third after Saturday’s short program, finished fifth with several under-rotated jumps.

Amber Glenn was the top American in sixth after reigning U.S. champion and 2018 Olympian Bradie Tennell withdrew last week with injury.

Known as a “quad queen,” the 17-year-old Trusova is dealing with a foot injury and included just one of the impressive jumps in her “Cruella” free skate, still winning with ease.

Trusova has included three, four or five quads -- a jump practically unheard of for women a handful of years ago - in every other free skate in her career as a senior skater.