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Siblings With Greenwich Roots Skate To National Championship In Ice Dancing

Alex and Maia Shibutani, a brother-sister team from Ann Arbor, Mich., win their first national championship in ice dancing on Saturday in Minnesota. They first began skating as children in Greenwich.
Alex and Maia Shibutani, a brother-sister team from Ann Arbor, Mich., win their first national championship in ice dancing on Saturday in Minnesota. They first began skating as children in Greenwich. Photo Credit: U.S. Figure Skating Association

GREENWICH, Conn. -- Maia and Alex Shibutani, who won their first national championship in ice dancing this past weekend, got their figure skating start in Old Greenwich.

The brother-and-sister team, dubbed the ShibSibs, topped last year's champions Madison Chock and Evan Bates by more than three points with an overall score of 190.14 in the U.S. championships, held in St. Paul, Minn. They will represent the United States next month in the Four Continents Championships in Taipei City and the World Figure Skating Championships, to be held in Boston in March.

Their short dance is a waltz to the music of "Coppélia," based on a charming ballet. In it, Maia portrays a doll brought to life by Alex. Their free dance is set to a mashup of the contemporary music "Fix You" and "The Scientist" by Coldplay.

The Shibutani siblings have previously won three U.S. silver medals and two bronze medals as well as a world bronze medal. They were also members of the 2014 U.S. Olympic team in Sochi, Russia.

The two have come a long way since taking their first steps on the ice in 1998 in a Basic Skills program in Old Greenwich, according to the U.S. Figure Skating Association.

Maia, 21, and Alex, 24, now train in Canton, Mich., and attend the University of Michigan.

They have come a long way since 1998, when Maia took up at sport at age 4.

"As a child, we were living in Old Greenwich and birthday parties involving skating were really common," she is quoted as saying on the Sochi2014.com website. "I immediately fell in love with skating and began taking private lessons."

Alex followed his sister into the sport in 1998 at age 7.

"When Maia started skating, I would be taken to the rink when she had her lessons," he said on the same website. "As I was still under the delusion that I would grow tall and play professional basketball, skating wasn't an instant interest for me. However, Maia always looked like she was having so much fun, so I decided to give it a try, too."

While living in Greenwich, Maia attended Greenwich Academy and Alex attended the Brunswick School.

They began skating together in their ice dancing partnership in 2004. They moved to Colorado Springs in 2005 to train, and then in 2009 to Ann Arbor, Mich.

The Shibutanis have also become famous for the videos they make for their YouTube channel, “ShibSibs” Productions.

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