DETROIT – COVID changed everything for athletes around the world. In Ice dancing, it meant a lot of canceled competitions, including the 2020 world championships.
“I think it kind of forced us to look at it and say, worst-case scenario, if everything gets canceled, do you still want to put the time and energy and effort into creating things into training every day?” said Hubbell.
The answer they came up with was a resounding, ‘Yes.’ There is merit in the work you put in, so they continued to train with a renewed sense of purpose.
“It’s helped us rediscover a lot,” Donohue said. “I want to say a new dynamic, but it’s more about putting us in a situation we had to create a new relationship with our skating.”
It’s a partnership that’s lasted 11 years. In that time, Hubbell and Donohue have won three national titles and three medals at the world championships.
This season they announced, would be their last.
But instead of added pressure in choosing music for the final season, they had some fun and went with Janet Jackson for their rhythm dance.
“We are getting to experience the wonders of ice dance meets hip hop with our street dance to Janet Jackson,” Donohue said. “It’s been a lot of fun with this program as It has been to really push yourself.”
An Olympic medal would be icing on the cake for the duo. But these two say they’re skating this year for the love of the sport. And also for those who’ve supported them for more than a decade.
“There’s been a lot of growth, a lot of change, a lot of connections, a lot of stories, a lot of memories,” said Hubbell. “I definitely wouldn’t be the man I am today without the sport and what it’s done for my life and for the people around me. And so that’s for me very powerful to be able to take into these last few competitions really caring more about the experiences and appreciating every moment more so than trying to force an outcome.”
Rhythm Dance is set for Saturday, Feb. 12. The showdown in Free Dance is the same day as the Super Bowl, Feb. 13.
A team event starts tonight before they compete in those individual events (Feb. 3). You can see night one of that live on NBC. Coverage begins at 8 p.m.
The men’s short program starts at 8:55 p.m., where Nathan Chen will skate for the U.S.
Then the rhythm dance at 10:35 p.m., with Hubbell and Donohue skating. Friday (Feb. 4) is the opening ceremony. You can see it live at 6:30 a.m. on Local 4 or catch the replay at 8 p.m.