EVERETT — When Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue hit the final pose of their ice dance program Sunday afternoon, Hubbell melted into the arms of her kneeling partner.
But unlike the previous night, there was no loss of balance, and despite the Romeo and Juliet theme, there was no loss of blood.
Hubbell and Donohue put on a virtuoso performance in their free dance, winning the ice dance gold medal on the final day of Skate America at Angel of the Winds Arena.
Japan’s Satoko Miyahara won the ladies gold medal in Skate America’s final competition.
Hubbell and Donohue, the reigning U.S. ice dance national champions and 2018 world silver medalists, skated with a precision, intricacy and polish that was a cut above the rest of the field. The duo finished with a score of 200.82, which comfortably beat out Italy’s Charlene Guignard and Marco Fabbri for the pair’s first full International Skating Union Grand Prix of Figure Skating gold medal — they were the default winners of the 2015 Trophee Eric Bompard when the second day of the event was canceled following terrorist attacks in Paris.
And this time they managed to avoid the ending mishap that struck them Saturday night during their rhythm dance. At the conclusion of a captivating performance, Hubbell moved in for a pretend kiss on a kneeling Donohue, got a little over aggressive, which caused Donohue to stumble backward onto his hands and Hubbell to accidentally slice one of Donohue’s fingers with her skate.
There was no such mishap Sunday. Skating to music from the movie “Romeo + Juliet,” Hubbell and Donohue successfully embodied the tragic Shakespearean couple to draw in a fascinated crowd.
“Yes, there was no flip-flop on the ice, we didn’t decide to try to do the worm or any other weird dance moves,” Donohue said to a chuckling audience while alluding to the previous evening’s slip.
“We’re very satisfied with the way we skated our free today,” Donohue continued. “As shown, there’s still some points left to be found, I know where they are, we just have to do our elements. So this program still has a lot of room to grow, and to see a score like that and get the reaction we did, it’s really affirming.”
Said Hubbell: ”Zach and I put in a lot of work since our first competition in Salt Lake City, to really dive into the emotions of Romeo and Juliet, and also put more skating quality and more power in the program. I think we were able to show those changes well, but we’re also looking forward to more and more improvement.”
The only team that challenged Hubbell and Donohue was Guignard and Fabbri. The Italians, performing to music from the movie “La La Land,” executed a rousing routine that was full of well-executed lifts, and finished with a score of 192.30. The silver was the duo’s first Grand Prix medal.
Russia’s Tiffani Zagorski and Jonathan Guerreiro took the bronze with a score of 181.38.
In the ladies competition Miyahara, the 2018 world bronze medalist, completed an error-free weekend by performing a flawless free skate Sunday. She landed all eleven of her jumps without a single bobble and finished with an overall score of 219.71 to claim her second straight ladies Skate America title.
“I’m really happy to skate very clean today,” Miyahara said. “But I was a little bit nervous, so I would like to be more confident at the next competition.
“I was really nervous until the very end because I had jumps until the end,” Miyahara added. “But when I landed the last flip, I was very happy.”
Miyahara’s Japanese compatriot, Kaori Sakamoto, earned the silver medal with a score of 213.90. She also finished runner-up to Miyamoto at last year’s Skate America.
Sixteen-year-old Russian Sofia Samodurova, making her Grand Prix debut, won the bronze with a score of 198.70.
Reigning U.S. national champion Bradie Tennell skated a strong program Sunday. But with Miyahara, Sakomoto and Samodurova all skating clean performances, Tennell was unable to overcome her one mistake from Saturday’s short program, when she singled the second jump in her triple-triple combo, and had to settle for fourth with a score of 192.89.
“It was a bit of a rough performance yesterday and I think that really cost me in the overall standings,” Tennell said. “But the silly mistakes happen sometimes and you just have to learn how to work through them.
“Today I’m very proud of how I fought through everything and didn’t let anything go.”