After years of long, dedicated hours of training at Tampa Bay Skating Academy, JoJo and William Hubbart saw one of their dreams come true this year–winning the gold medal in juvenile pairs at the 2013 US Figure Skating Championships in Omaha, Nebraska.
|JoJo and William perform their juvenile pairs program
on JoJo’s 14th birthday, Jan. 25, earning an unusually
high score of 48.16 to win the gold by a landslide.
Of course, that begs the question: How did that make them feel?
“It feels good,” William says, smiling. “But I definitely need to start preparing for these interviews.”
All their hard work on the ice couldn’t have prepared JoJo and William for the spotlight off the ice and in the media. But as they continue to skate and compete, answering reporters’ questions will be something they will need to get use to.
The Hubbart pair team in the past month have been the subject of several media stories about their journey… and their recent success. A staff writer for the Omaha World-Herald interviewed them, along with their parents, Kevin and Carol Hubbart, at their practice session the day before they competed at nationals. The story spotlights why Kevin and Carol introduced William to figure skating when he was very young and how JoJo followed suit.
Read the story titled, “Competition at Civic has family feel,” here: http://www.omaha.com/article/20130124/SPORTS/701249808
|William also competes at nationals in
singles, placing in the top ten.
Shortly after the Hubbarts returned home, a writer and a photographer for the Tampa Bay Times, formerly the St. Petersburg Times, visited the Oldsmar rink to do a story on the young pair team. The Times story highlights their win at nationals and goes more in depth on the circumstances surrounding William’s birth that eventually led to the sport of figure skating becoming a family affair.
See the story titled, “Young North Pinellas figure skaters win gold at nationals.” http://www.tampabay.com/news/humaninterest/young-north-pinellas-figure-skaters-win-gold-at-nationals/1273907
|JoJo, William and their coaches Laura Amelina and
Alex Vlassov in the Kiss & Cry after hearing
the pair skaters’ high score.
And the limelight continues…
Next week, The Tampa Tribune will run a story on the teens’ accomplishment in the Northwest and Carrollwood sections of the newspaper. A month from now, a more in-depth story will run in the Tribune on the front page of the Sports section.
We, of course, couldn’t pass up the chance either: Here’s a Q & A with the 2013 Juvenile Pair Gold Medalists JoJo and William Hubbart.
Q. What’s more scary: right before a competition or talking to a reporter?
William: I would honestly say talking to a reporter because you’re not prepared. You go all year preparing for a competition but you can never prepare for the quotes.
JoJo: Right before a competition. I don’t feel stressed talking to a reporter because they’re just another person.
Q. If you could pick anyone in the world to answer all the reporters’ questions instead of you, who would it be?
William: Washington Nationals’ baseball player Bryce Harper. He was so funny in all his interviews last year. I just love to watch him.
JoJo: Honestly, probably myself. Because I like being me and I don’t want anyone taking that away from me.
Q. What’s a question the reporters who have interviewed you so far didn’t ask that you wish they would have?
William: I wish they would have given a lot more credit to JoJo for the double-flip throw. She got a plus two on that. (A plus two is the highest mark you can get, William explains.) I wish they would have mentioned it more in the newspaper because that was one of the most difficult throws. They didn’t even do that throw at the intermediate level (at this competition).
JoJo: I can’t think of anything. I felt they did a good job.
Q. Have you read the stories written about you? As you read them, what are you thinking and feeling?
|JoJo and William skate at nationals in Omaha
garnering high marks for their throw double-flip,
side-by-side double Lutzes and synchronized spins.
William: It’s almost like I can’t believe I’m reading about myself in the newspaper. I never thought it would get to this point.
JoJo: It’s nice to be in the paper because it’s new. It’s fun. It’s a little bit of fame, kind of.
Q. What are you doing with the articles written about you?
JoJo: I have a box that I keep all my skating memorabilia in. I keep the box up high so nothing will happen to it.
William: We’re saving them and keeping them for memorabilia. I’m sure we’ll want them for later. I keep mine all under my bed away from the dogs and little siblings.
Q. Have you had a dream about being interviewed by reporters?
JoJo: Yes. It was a big competition and there were a bunch of microphones in my face and I was like, ‘Oh, no!’ (She puts both hands to her cheeks.)
Q. In your house, who’s more excited about your winning the gold?
JoJo: That’s a tough one because everyone is so happy for us and I’m really thankful for them.
William: Out of everyone, I would have to say my mom.
Q. What’s the first thing you think of when you walk into Tampa Bay Skating Academy and see the big banner congratulating you two for winning the gold?
JoJo: The rink is giving us a lot of support and it feels really nice.
William: I just feel so happy to be recognized. It makes everything worthwhile.
To watch JoJo and William’s gold medal juvenile pairs performance at nationals, click below.