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Hubbell and Donohue win silver at Italian Grand Prix and book trip to Grand Prix final

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Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue compete at Skate America on October 23, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

With a silver medal at the Italian Grand Prix in Turin this week and their victory at Skate America last month, ice dancers Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue have qualified for the Grand Prix final for the sixth time.

“We’re taking a lot of the positive things away,” Hubbell, 30, said after the free dance on Saturday. “This season is the fastest lap in (our Grands Prix), which is a good experience.”

The Italian Grand Prix was the third of six Grand Prix held this fall. The top six in each discipline will advance to the final, which will be held in Osaka, Japan, December 9-12.

The reigning three-time United States champions won the Grand Prix final in 2018 and took bronze in 2019. The event was canceled last season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hubbell and Donohue’s scores in Italy were mixed. On Friday, they scored 84.79 points for their rhythmic dance on Janet Jackson’s hits, more than a point higher than they scored at Skate America.

“We mainly wanted to focus on the improvements (of the free dance); there is no change in the short dance, we just wanted to build on our performance at Skate America, ”said Donohue, 30.

“We’ve improved our Skate America score slightly, which is still the goal.”

On Saturday, the team’s tender and lyrical free dance to Anne Sila’s “Drowning” was effective overall but had a tricky moment in the last lift. The program’s score – 123.11 points – left them shaking their heads. They finished with 207.90 points.

“We made a mistake at the end,” admitted Hubbell. “We are disappointed with our score today.

Caroline Green and Michael Parsons, fourth in ice dance in the United States last season, placed fourth after rhythm dance in Turin. A fall out of an elevator in their free dance dropped them to fifth place overall with 178.26 points.

The competition marked the return of quadruple world champions Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France to the Grand Prix circuit for the first time since the 2019-20 season, when they won their second Grand Prix final.

The 2018 Olympic silver medalists, who train alongside Hubbell and Donohue in Montreal, topped the event, scoring 220.06 points. Russians Alexandra Stepanova and Ivan Bukin won bronze with 202.18 points.

Two-time United States champion Bradie Tennell competed in the women’s event in Turin but withdrew due to a persistent foot injury. She had also retired from Skate America.

“While I’m very happy to make a lot of progress to overcome this (injury) and to now return to full training, competing right away doesn’t make sense,” Tennell posted on Instagram on Oct. 18.

World champion Anna Shcherbakova won the women’s title, while the pairs and men’s competitions were underway at the time of publication.

Next week, the Grand Prix will travel to Tokyo for the NHK Trophy from November 12-14. Twelve athletes from the US team are scheduled to compete, including Vincent Zhou, who beat three-time world champion Nathan Chen last month to win Skate America; two-time US ice dance champions Madison Chock and Evan Bates, silver medalists at Skate America; Ashley Cain-Gribble and Timothy LeDuc, bronze medalists at Skate Canada last week; and two-time American champion Alysa Liu.


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