Brubaker was so disheartened by missing out on the Winter Games that he admitted he couldn't tune in to the Opening Ceremony and couldn't watch much of the pairs event. In June, McLaughlin and Brubaker announced the end of their partnership.
When asked if he considered quitting competitive skating, Brubaker sighed.
"I did,'' he said. "I thought maybe I should move back home. I didn't want to feel like I was taking a step back.''
But his coach, John Nicks, scheduled some tryouts anyway. After one tryout with another skater, Marley trekked out from Illinois to California. For two weeks before her tryout, Marley worked on pairs moves with Jeremy Allen, a national pairs competitor who is now a coach. The work paid off.
"She came out and we did a throw triple Lutz,'' Brubaker said. "It's not like we were flying across the ice or anything, but still ... it was impressive. I had a couple of other tryouts set up after that with other skaters and I told my coach after skating with Mary Beth that I didn't want to try out with anybody else.''
Ever since, it's been hard for Brubaker to wipe the smile off his face.