Coming off the best season of their careers, Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue carried their momentum into the 2018-19 figure skating season and kicked it off with a win.
The 2018 Olympians led the ice dance competition for the second consecutive night at the U.S. International Figure Skating Classic in Salt Lake City, and also led a 1-2 American finish in the event.
Hubbell and Donohue scored 118.31 in their free dance Saturday and won the competition by more than 23 points with a total score of 197.42. The win marked the team’s fourth straight at this event.
Winning the silver medal was the U.S. team of Christina Carreira and Anthony Ponomarenko with a score of 174.04. This was their first senior competition.
Those top two teams won silver medals at the 2018 senior world championships and junior world championships, respectively.
Karina Manta and Joe Johnson of the U.S. placed fifth.
Misato Komatsubara and Tim Koleto of Japan moved up from fourth place with a strong free dance to win the bronze medal with a score of 142.93.
Hubbell and Donohue have been on a roll since winning the 2018 U.S. and qualifying for their first Olympic team. They just missed the podium in PyeongChang with a fourth-place finish. The silver medal at worlds marked their first world championship medal in five attempts.
They are one of three U.S. ice dance teams scheduled to compete at Skate America in October in Everett, Washington. Skate America is the opening event of the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series.
Paul D. Bowker has been writing about Olympic sports since 1996, when he was an assistant bureau chief in Atlanta. He is sports editor of the Cape Cod Times and a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.