American ice dancers Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue had one last dance before skating off into retirement.
When they finished their routine on Monday, they bent down and kissed the Olympic rings on the ice knowing this was it. The pair had previously announced that they planned the 2022 Winter Games to be their last.
The duo finished fourth in PyeongChang in 2018. Now, they had a chance to go out on the podium. The pair claimed the bronze medal in a competitive field behind teams from France and Russia. They edged out their American counterparts Madison Chock and Evan Bates.
Hubbell and Donohue earned personal bests in all three categories (rhythm dance, free dance, and total combined score) en route to their third-place finish with an overall score of 218.02. They’ll leave Beijing with two medals, the first from the team event.
SEE MORE: Hubbell/Donohue skate into third place in rhythm dance
Figure skating is known as a young-person’s sport. Hubbell is 30, while Donohue is 31. The partners were told that there is a precedent for ice dance skaters in their mid-30s.
"I'm not saying that physically it's not possible, but no," Hubbell told reporters. "Maybe we'll have a very successful transition into a career where we could be alongside some of our coaches and be here in another capacity, but on the Olympic ice, it's not happening."
Donohue agreed, but did joke about the success of Americans Lindsey Jacobellis and Nick Baumgartner, who won gold in the snowboard cross mixed team event at the age of 36 and 40, respectively.
Hubbell and Donohue have a long history together. They’ve partnered for more than a decade while winning three world championship medals. After finish fourth in PyeongChang, if you were to script a perfect last dance, leaving with two medals would be it.
"When I finished, I just was grateful for being here," said Hubbell. "It was just a moment I think for both of us to say goodbye to Olympic ice and thank this journey that's created the people that we are today."