Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue compete in the free dance at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 on Feb. 20, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea.
Reigning U.S. ice dance champions Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue just missed the podium at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 in February, but they could become world champions before the weekend is over.
They’ll still have to go through Olympic silver medalists Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France, who took the lead with the final performance of the short dance at the figure skating world championships in Milan on Friday. The pair, which set a new short dance world record with a score of 83.73 points, is favored to claim the gold medal for their third world title.
But Hubbell and Donohue are sitting in second place after scoring a personal best 80.42. It was their first time scoring over 80 in the short dance. A medal would mark long-awaited redemption for the team. They were third at last year’s world championships after the short dance but an uncharacteristic fall by Donohue in the free dance dropped them to ninth. They were also third after the short dance in PyeongChang but a strong performance by Maia and Alex Shibutani and another stumble by Donohue landed them in fourth at their Olympic debut.
Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje, of Canada, are in third place with 78.31 points.
Not far behind are two-time world medalists Madison Chock and Evan Bates, who are in fifth place with a short dance score of 75.66. The duo finished ninth in PyeongChang.
Kaitlyn Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker, the third U.S. team competing at the world championships in ice dance, is in 15th with 63.48 points. They replaced the Shibutanis, who withdrew from the competition after winning two Olympic bronze medals.
The free dance will be held on Saturday.