Q&A with Madison Hubbell
U.S. ice dancer Madison Hubbell talks about her perfect day off and the most intense thing about figure skating.
How did you get started in the sport?
I watched Kristi Yamaguchi when I was a little girl, and I begged my mom to skate! I thought she was the most beautiful woman in the world. I had the illusion that if I skated, and wore my hair in a bun, that I would look like her.
I had tried several things, including soccer and ballet as a child and I always complained. Skating was the only sport that I was always excited about practicing.
My parents had no background in skating, but their support was extremely influential.
And they continued to support your career?
My mom is a particularly supportive person in my career. She was the one driving me to and from the rink every day as a kid and being my shoulder to cry on when things got hard. She is also a talented seamstress and designer and has been making my gorgeous costumes for the past 20 years.
What’s your favorite Olympic moment?
I remember sitting in my rink watching the 2006 Olympic Games with Evan Bates, who was my training mate at the time. The U.S. team of Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto won the silver medal. My Olympic dream became very real to me in that moment.
Who has been your greatest influence in your sport?
My brother [Keiffer] has been my greatest influence. I had the pleasure of skating with him for 11 years, and he inspired me every day to become a better person. He always trained his hardest, and most importantly, conducted himself in an honorable way.
The first time that I won a Junior Grand Prix competition with my brother, I realized that I was competitive on an international level.
Are there any Summer Olympic sports you think you would be good at?
I play tennis very recreationally. I love it, and I would have pursued the game if I wasn't a competitive skater. Other than tennis, I would like to play volleyball.
What’s the most intense thing about figure skating?
I think our sport is very unique in the way that we mix grace and emotion with athletic exercise. We are doing very hard things, that we have to train every week of the year, and yet during the performance, we try to hide all of the effort. I think that's the hardest thing about our sport.
I think that because our sport is artistic, people sometimes believe it is not difficult but It is very difficult.
What did it take to come back from your injury in 2014?
I had a labrum tear in my left hip. I had surgery in 2014, and it took over six months to recover. I had physiotherapy five times or more per week for many months. It took dedication, and discipline to come back.
What ice dance teams do you consider your biggest rivals?
I think our biggest rivals are right in our own training camp. Canadians Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, and Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron from France. They were first and second in the world last season, and we will be chasing after them all season to try to get the gold. We are friendly, and I love to train with my biggest competition.
What would you be doing if you weren’t an athlete?
I would have liked to go to medical school, to become a forensic pathologist.
Can you describe your perfect day off?
I would like to go to the market, buy fresh fruits and flowers. I would like to cook a big meal with family and prepare a homemade dessert. I would spend the evening playing tennis since my whole family enjoys it. Also, this past year, my brother had his first baby boy. I love children, and I wish I could spend my days watching my nephew, Corbin.
What are some of your hobbies away from the ice?
Knitting, gardening, baking, cooking, coloring, painting, reading. I love good recipe magazines and wellness magazines. They are a bit harder to find, but I cherish the ones I have.
I try to fit these things in, although there isn't enough time in my day to do everything that I would like.
What’s something that people would be surprised to learn about you?
I am pretty dorky and grew up wanting to be one of the guys so that I could fit in with the boys. Now, I still love to hang out with my brothers, but I have also embraced my girly side quite a bit.