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Mid-Michigan Olympian inspires next wave of figure skaters

(WILX)
Published: Feb. 4, 2022 at 7:34 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - A Mid-Michigan woman is receiving praise after she and her partner finished first in the Figure Skating Rhythm Dance.

Madison Hubbell was born in Lansing and grew up in Okemos, training at the Lansing Skating Club.

For skaters across Mid-Michigan, it was exciting to see one of their own start the competition off strong.

Figure skaters spend hours practicing and conditioning every day at Suburban Ice in East Lansing, but after Hubbell and Zachary Donohue skated at the Winter Olympics Thursday, the energy on the rink was at an all-time-high.

“Well, it’s amazing and super inspiring and it makes you want to go and do it too,” said Josephine Billings. “So it’s pushing everyone at the rink to try and reach for their goals and their dreams.”

Michigan skaters Billings, Onika Fernanda and Maddie Polleys have each been skating since they were 4 years old. They said watching the Winter Games made their goals seem even closer.

“Whenever we watch each other or anyone on the TV then we’re like, we want to be inspired to do the same as them,” Billings said. “So we’re all pushing each other but its friendly competition.”

“We definitely push harder on each other and ourselves knowing that you could get to the top and be the best skater,” Fernanda said.

They said sharing their skating roots with Hubbell puts their goals into perspective. Polleys said it can be difficult to practice so much, but watching someone from Mid-Michigan go for the gold makes it all worth it.

“You get to watch all these skaters who have put some much time into practice and seeing them succeed, it’s really motivating,” Polleys said.

And from the skaters at home, they have a message for Hubbell from her hometown.

“We’ll be proud of her no matter how good or bad she does,” Fernanda said. “I think it’s just awesome that she’s able to be at the Olympics.”

“Keep doing what you’re doing and good luck,” Polleys said.

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