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Connecticut-native Zachary Donohue kicks off Olympics with thrilling start alongside Madison Hubbell

The duo gave a season-best performance in rhythm dance on the opening day of figure skating.

BEIJING, China — A Connecticut-native figure skater at the 2022 Olympic Games in Beijing got off to a thrilling start with a season-best performance in rhythm dance.

Zachary Donohue of Madison performed Friday alongside partner Madison Hubbell. Their near-flawless performance to the music of Janet Jackson at Capital Indoor Stadium helped Team USA to a second straight win on the opening day of figure skating.

The duo received a score of 86.56.

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Their dance followed that of three-time world champion Nathan Chen, whose dynamic and high-flying program in the men’s short program set the tone for Team USA. Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier capped the first of three days of team competition with a personal-best short program.

In the team event, 10 points are awarded to first place in each discipline, which means the Americans have a perfect 20 so far.

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The Russian Olympic Committee is second with 17 after Mark Kondratiuk’s third-place finish and a shaky second-place performance by ice dance world champions Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov.

Italy is in third place with 14 points heading into the pairs discipline later Friday.

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Donohue, 31, and Michigan-native Hubbell, 30, have said this will be their final Olympic appearance before they retire. The duo, who are based out of Montreal, have been skating together since 2011. They have won three national champions and three world championship medals together.

At the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, they finished fourth.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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