OLDSMAR – William and JoJo Hubbart are like most American siblings who are only a year apart – except for a few things.
First, JoJo lets her older brother throw her around whenever he wants. Sometimes she falls down and gets hurt, but usually she just gets back up and asks him to do it all over again. And William happily obliges.
But when they get to the dinner table, William knows that’s his time to defer to his younger sister.
“No matter what happens, she’s always right and that’s the end of the discussion,” William said. “I don’t play around.”
The two are the top-ranked intermediate pairs figure skating team in Florida and just left the national competition in Boston with a fourth-place finish, barely out of the medal race. William, 16, and JoJo, 15, have been skating at Tampa Bay Skating Academy for almost as long as they can remember. Their finish in Boston was their best ever and they hope to improve upon it in Detroit this summer at the Skate Detroit event. They hope it is just another step on their way to the Olympics. They plan to watch this year, take a long shot at the 2018 games in South Korea, and go for broke in 2022.
It’s a long shot, but JoJo and William, who are both Florida Virtual School students, think they have a shot. And while they’ll admit there are some of the usual sibling rivalries, they admit that they are more like an old married couple, often finishing each other’s sentences.
“We can’t skate 24-7, but most of our friends are here at the ice rink,” William said.
“We’d like to do it all the time, and I guess we can’t, but we can try,” JoJo added.
To make things even more difficult, both are successful singles skaters. William qualified in the top 10 in Boston, but it’s the pairs that the two are most concerned with for now. They continue to work on their lifts and timing, hunting perfection.
JoJo can do a triple jump and William is working on the two or three triples he needs to stand out in the male category, but neither one of them ever thinks about the dangers in trying to go to far.
“We are fearless,” JoJo said. “I trust him and he trusts me and that’s how it has to be. If I fall I get right back up. You just have to be that way.”
Falling or failing is never a subject that comes up.
“If I fall, I fall, but if you think about it out there, that’s what’s going to happen,” William said. “We have to be mentally prepared and that’s how we go about it.”
The Hubbarts might have a bulls-eye on their back as the best skating team in the area, but they also have a bulls-eye on their back at the family dinner table. Their brother, Nick, 13, is out to show that he is the best skater in the family. He’s back on the ice after suffering a broken leg.
“We love skating,” William said. “We really don’t have too much of a social life off the ice, but it will be all worth it if it all works out. We have big goals and we want to get them done. The Olympics in eight years isn’t too long to wait.”