Road to the Olympics: Skater competes in dresses by mom

Road to the Olympics

This story was originally published on December 11, 2017

The steady pulse of a sewing machine has sparked a creative gene in Susan Hubbell for many years.

That hobby, one which the Mattawan native said she started young, has also impacted her daughter’s life since she was born.

“She used to try and dress me in these ridiculous things, big dresses with 15 ruffles,” Madison Hubbell said.

In just a few weeks, that hobby could take an international stage if she qualifies for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang as an ice dancer with partner Zach Donahue.

Madison Hubbell has often competed in costumes her mother has designed and made in their home’s basement. Susan Hubbell began making costumes for her daughter since she started skating.

“It is very special, I definitely feel a big connection to her support when I’m able to wear something she’s made,” Madison Hubbell said. “It’s nice to take a piece of her out there on the ice with me.”

It can be a frustrating process for the mother and seamstress, as she has had pieces that took a lot of meticulous work be rejected because of how they look during a routine. One piece she created was hand-beaded with around 10,000 rhinestones was nixed after just one event.

“They loved the dress, it looked beautiful, everybody loved it,” Susan Hubbell said. “But after the first event, when they saw the dress in motion, they thought it hid some of her movement, so they decided to change. That happens all the time.”

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