The family that skates together stays together.
At least that could be the motto for Alex and Maia Shibutani.
The brother-sister ice dance tandem from Canton, Mich., are inseparable on and off the ice, so much so that they've earned the nickname "Shib Sibs." They're also known for their hilarious YouTube videos.
"People come up to us and say, 'Oh, I don't know how you guys do it," Alex said before joking that most brothers and sisters would want to wring each other's neck.
"But we do have a very close relationship," he added, "where we're able to skate together and spend time together off ice."
Alex, 22, and Maia, 19, began their skating careers as individual competitors but eventually teamed up to take ice dance by storm.
In 2005 – at ages 13 and 10 – Alex and Maia became U.S. juvenile silver medalists and the next year they won the U.S. intermediate title. In 2007, the Shibutanis won the U.S. novice crown and then, as juniors, took silver at the 2009 world championships and won gold at the 2010 U.S. championships.
After breaking into senior competition with a bronze at the 2010 worlds, the Shib Sibs have been a fixture on the U.S. ice dance scene ever since.
"It was only natural for us to start holding hands, skating around and doing new tricks and things," Alex said. "It was a lot of fun for us."
Great chemistry isn't the only reason for the Shibutanis' success, though.
"A lot of training for us as ice dancers is about the little details," Maia explained. "It's about nuances. We have lifts, we have spins. But we also have things like footwork."
For the Shib Sibs, keeping in step won't ever be a problem.
- Sports & Recreation
- Ice Skating
- Maia Shibutani