Alex and Maia Shibutani
Olympic Medal-Winning Ice Dancers
Although Maia and Alex Shibutani made Olympic history at the 2018 Winter Games, their story begins long before then. The sister and brother, affectionately known as the “ShibSibs”, share memories of working together as a team that dates back to their early childhood.
Ice dancers Maia and Alex Shibutani are two-time Olympic Bronze Medalists, three-time World Medalists, Four Continents Champions, and two-time U.S. National Champions. They have medaled at the U.S. Championships for 14 consecutive years – standing on the podium at every competitive level every year that they have competed. They have also won six titles on the Grand Prix series and are two-time Grand Prix Final medalists. They are two-time members of the U.S. Olympic teams, competing at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, and the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Maia was 4 and Alex was 7 when they had their first recreational group skating lesson. Although Maia was immediately entranced and asked for private lessons, Alex decided to continue skating only after he saw how much fun Maia was having. Once they began ice dancing together at the ages of 9 and 12, the two swiftly climbed through the ranks becoming U.S. Champions at the Intermediate (2006), Novice (2007) and Junior (2010) levels. In order to pursue their training at an elite center, the Shibutanis, along with their mother, moved to Colorado Springs in 2005 while their father remained in New York taking the red-eye back and forth for the weekends. Once again in 2007, Maia and Alex, along with their mother, moved to Ann Arbor, MI in order to continue their training with Marina Zoueva. As difficult as the separations were for the family, it paid off. At their first senior World Figure Skating Championships in 2011, Maia and Alex finished on the podium, earning a bronze medal, an unprecedented achievement for a team making their international debut at the senior level.
Despite their initial success at the senior level and their continued strong placements at international competitions, the duo did not land on the podium again at the World Championships for the next five years. Restricted by the sport’s traditional choreographic themes centered around romance and classical music, the duo began to forge their own unique path to success. This involved choosing contemporary music, as well as conceptualizing, developing, and producing the music for their programs. Office, the Shibutanis worked with dancers from hip-hop, ballroom, and modern dance to develop their own style of movement and choreography. Rather than becoming characters from traditionally romantic stories, the Shibutanis took the bold risk of choosing to tell their own personal story through their programs. Their genuine respect and appreciation for each other, combined with their shared trust in their process, helped them to realize even greater success when they won their first U.S. National title at the senior level in 2016 followed by a World silver medal that same year.
At their first Olympics in 2014 in Sochi, the ShibSibs were the second youngest team in the ice dance field and placed ninth in the overall competition. In 2018, they became the first ice dancers Asian descent to medal at the Olympics and are only the second sibling duo in the history of the sport to share an Ice Dancing Medal.
Off the ice, Maia and Alex have been active as ambassadors and supporters of various organizations. As Athlete Ambassadors for the U.S. State Department, they have traveled to Japan, Korea, and Singapore, connecting with young people at cultural and goodwill events. They have twice been guests of U.S. Secretaries of State, Hillary Clinton and John Kerry, at U.S. State Department functions honoring visits by the Prime Minister of Japan. They were members of the Athletes’ Advisory Commission for the successful LA 2028 Summer Olympics bid organization. Alex and Maia are also Athlete Ambassadors for Right to Play and Figure Skating in Harlem and lend their support to various causes including The Jimmy Fund, and charity: water.
The Shibutanis have received a range of honors and awards. In 2016, they won the U.S. Figure Skating Readers’ Choice Skater of the Year Award (Michelle Kwan Trophy). In 2018, the Shibutanis were finalists for the AAU James E. Sullivan Award, given to the nation’s best amateur athletes. Maia is a two-time recipient of the Women’s Sports Foundation’s Travel and Training Grant and was a finalist for 2018 Team Sportswoman of the Year. Maia and Alex have been named several times, by the combined nomination of sports journalists and the support of fan votes, as Team USA Athletes of the Month. Most recently in 2019, they were named to the prestigious A100 List, which honors the most impactful Asians and Asian America & Pacific Islanders across a wide range of professions.
When not on the ice, Maia and Alex can be found on social media. Their ShibSibs YouTube channel, launched in July 2012, has over 100 original content videos which have garnered over 11 million views and has over 168,000 subscribers. They were finalists for the 2019 Shorty Awards, celebrating the Best in Sports in Social Media. The Shibutanis are known for using their platform on social media to bring new audiences to their sport, as well as sharing their interests in fashion, food, travel, and entertainment. The Shibutanis’ ability to connect with people around the world has built them a passionate and loyal community of fans and supporters.
Ernie was perfect for our Elders Conference at Little River Casino Resort in Manistee, Michigan. We will definitely be using PDA again!
LITTLE RIVER BAND OF OTTAWA INDIANS
Our speaker was great and the crowd enjoyed her! She was very engaging. Thank you again PDA for the great list of suggestions!
Everything went great! and our speaker was wonderful! Thank you so much for all your help PDA! Looking forward to the next one.
UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI – KANSAS CITY
I hope that this message finds you well. We had a phenomenal time with Atsuko this past Thursday. We wanted to just let you know how amazing she was. All those that were in attendance thoroughly enjoyed her and had nothing but amazing things to say about her. Thank you for working with us to make sure this happened!
BAYLOR UNIVERSITY CAMPUS
We had a fantastic day with Inge! She was very engaging with all those that attended. Her personal stories about the holocaust were very special and we were moved that she was willing to share them with everyone. Thank you again, PDA for all your hard work and dedication to make this program such a success!
SALT LAKE COMMUNITY COLLEGE
Dear PDA Group, Thank you so much for your hard work in scheduling our speaker! From the moment we reached out to you the first time, you worked with us on all details and logistics and kept us up-to-date on the progress. Thank you for all your hard work on making our event such a success! We couldn't have done it without you and your team!
Thank you again, Dr. Kimbrough, for a great presentation, our attendees are still talking about it!
Dr. Henry Lee's presentation was entertaining, insightful and wise. I, and everyone at Pfizer, especially appreciate the remarks you directed about following your passion and preparing yourself to excel. Thank you, everyone, at PDA for helping to make this happen!
The event was successful! I received many messages expressing how awesome, outstanding and inspiring Ms. Webb-Christburg's speech was."
DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. MEMORIAL BREAKFAST, BOSTON, MLK SPEAKER
Everything went well. Atsuko was very easy to work with and the students enjoyed her performance! Thank you again for your recommendation and I hope to work with you again in the future!
CENTRAL MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY
Dr. Novello left this morning after a very successful event on our campus! Thank you PDA Group for your help from the first phone to the last you were with us every step of the way.
GRAND VALLEY STATE UNIVERSITY
Jordan Carlos was very very entertaining! A majority of students who answered the event survey indicated they really enjoyed Jordan and definitely will bring him back!
WESTERN CAROLINA UNIVERSITY
On behalf of myself and my organization Entertainment Unlimited the Campus Programming Board of Ferris State University, we thank you PDA and Dan for a successful event!! Dan was magnificent! Students really enjoyed the presentation. I know I did. Can't wait to bring in more programs with PDA Group.
FERRIS STATE UNIVERSITY
It was a great pleasure to work with PDA Group! The communication was always prompt, friendly and helpful. We loved the speakers and events we booked through Mr. Peter Walker (PDA Group).
WESTERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY
Thank you, Peter, for all your help, you'll be happy to know that the event went incredibly well! Aneesa Ferreira was by far one of the best speakers we've ever had!
An Evening with Alex and Maia Shibutani
Maia & Alex Shibutani's Ice dance to 'Paradise' by Coldplay at PyeongChang 2018 | Music Monday
Alex and Maia Shibutani's Figure Skating Gala to "That's Life" | Music Monday
#ShibSibs Maia and Alex Shibutani Play A Game of 'Who Knows Who Best?' | ELLE
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