Figure skating couple put rivalry aside to celebrate Hubbell's win

Zachary Donohue and Madison Hubbell
Zachary Donohue and Madison Hubbell compete in the Winter Olympics. Photo: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Beijing: Navigating the web of romantic relationships among the world's top figure skaters can be complicated, but for ice dancers Madison Hubbell and Adrian Diaz, it comes as naturally as a twizzle on the rink.

The American-Spanish couple had something professional to celebrate - together, for a change - as Hubbell and Zachary Donohue took the top spot for the United States in the team event's rhythm dance at the Beijing Winter Games on Friday.

"For me they were by far the cleanest; it was a very good performance," Diaz told Reuters on Saturday after a practice session with dancing partner, Olivia Smart, ahead of their own competition next week.

"I was very proud of her," he said. Diaz and Smart, who represent Spain, are not competing in the team event.

"This was a particularly wonderful way to begin the Games not only with a season's best score but ... especially special for me with my fiance in the stands because usually we're focused on our events," Hubbell said on Friday.

Donohue, an ex-boyfriend of Hubbell's, chimed in: "I love having her fiance as my support, it's amazing."

Couples since the 2014/15 season and competing against each other since they were teens, Hubbell and Diaz have been able to share meals together - albeit through plexiglass - at the athlete's village, the Spaniard said.

At home, the rivalry on ice is not an issue.

"It's very natural, it's never been a problem," he said. "She's always been at the top and we're fighting to get to the top so it's never been a direct competition," he said, standing next to Smart.

"I've been interested to see what would happen if we switched places (at the top). I'm not sure how that would be in the house," he added, laughing.

"We help (each other) a lot. Any time that I have a question or I have doubts or a problem she's always giving her female perspective and vice versa."

The two are due to be married near Barcelona in June, 2023.

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