Road to the Olympics: Ice dancing pair says being siblings is a key to their success

SALT LAKE CITY, UT (NEXSTAR) — Ice dancers Alex and Maia Shibutani are two-time U.S. champions, Olympians and medalists on the national level.

They’re also siblings, a factor they consider key to their success.

“The bond that we have with each other, combined with the trust we have for our coaches really makes for a pretty potent combination,” said Alex Shibutani. “It gives us that confidence that we have when we take the ice.”

The two began skating as children, and paired up to ice dance competitively in 2004.

“From the first year that we started ice dancing together, we just showed up and had fun and won a medal and that’s something we’ve sort of continued throughout our career,” Alex said. “I think that our calling is definitely on the ice.”

For the past ten years, the siblings have trained in Michigan. Although they spend plenty of time on the road, they have no plans to change their home base.

“We have an amazing training environment,” Maia said. “It’s a great place for us to develop our very best work.”

The Shibutanis competed in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, but didn’t medal.

“We learned so much and we were very inspired,” Maia said. “Since then, our skating has gotten so much better, and we’re really looking forward to our second Olympics.”

This time, their sights are set higher.

“We’re definitely working to be the best team in the world,” Alex said. “I think that if we can become the best team that we can possibly be, we’re very capable of achieving our goals.”

The siblings are also very active on social media, something they feel benefits their sport.

“I think that it’s a great opportunity this season to expose people to our sport,” Alex said. “We really love what we do, and to be able to share that with as many people as possible is a really important part of being champions and being members of this Olympic community.”

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