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championships.” In addition to Davis and White, Team USA’s other entries enjoyed top-10 finishes with Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani, the 2011 World bronze medalists, placing eighth, and Madison Hubbell and Zach Donohue finishing 10th in their debut at this event. Shibutani and Shibutani took their experi-

ence in Nice as an opportunity to learn. Despite a lower placement than last year, the siblings are confident in their improvement over a season ago.

“Everyone makes mistakes. I can’t even ex-

plain it,” Alex said of an error on the free dance twizzles. “We felt good all week in practice. Tis is a great learning experience. We are going to take all of this into next year. We are obviously disappointed, but there are positives we can take out of it. We can walk away from this season be- ing very happy.” Hubbell and Donohue, who teamed up less

than a year ago, came into the competition with a goal of placing in the top 10. Teir mission was accomplished with a score of 143.95 points. “We brought a pretty strong performance

for our first Worlds,” Donohue said. “It’s nice not having any expectations from anyone being our first year, but I personally felt a lot of pressure on myself to do the best performance I could.” Hubbell, though not entirely ready to think about next season, looks forward to working on the little things as she and Donohue grow as a team.

“We are looking forward to starting from

scratch,” she said. “Last year, we didn’t have much time to develop our skating skills as a team. We kind of did the first things that worked and then tried to build upon that. We’re going to put a lot of time researching, and then think about goals when we figure out what our plan is for next sea- son.”

LADIES When Ashley Wagner hangs up her skates Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani

years from now, she’ll look back at the 2011–12 season with great pride and wonderful memories. Te 20-year-old from Alexandria, Va., gar-

last part of their “Mummy and Pharaoh” free dance.

Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue

24 MAY 2012

“Sometimes it was hard to hear the music, because the audience was so loud, but they gave us energy,” Pechalat said. “It was a good experi- ence, and it was a very good way to win our first World medal.” Just two weeks prior, they were unsure if they would be able to compete after Pechalat broke her nose in practice, an injury that may require surgery. “We are going to see the doctors and see what they think, if I need to do the surgery,” she explained. “Tese two weeks of practice were quite hard; we changed some elements not to hurt the nose. Tere were some things we couldn’t do, but wanted to be sure that I can compete in the

nered yet another standing ovation for her Black Swan free skate, which moved her from eighth place after the short program to fourth overall. It’s been a magical ride for Wagner, who

after years of nearmisses won her first U.S. title earlier this year in San Jose, Calif., and less than two weeks later captured the Four Continents Championships in Colorado Springs, Colo. “Te free skate was incredible,” said Wagner,

who registered the third-best free skate score of the event with 120.35 points “I’m so happy with it. Te crowd was on its feet clapping as loud as it could while I was in my spin. It took all of my effort not to come out of my spin and hit my fi- nal pose, because I was so excited. Today couldn’t have been any better for me.” Wagner admitted she felt some butterflies heading into the free skate, but managed to keep her nerves in check. “I approached everything one step at a



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