The Shib Sibs are back!
Brother and sister Alex and Maia Shibutani were breakout stars of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. Now, they’re eager to snag a top spot at the PyeongChang Games this month.
“We feel really good and excited heading into our second Olympic games,” Maia, 23, tells PEOPLE. “We learned so much from our first experience in Sochi. It inspired us a lot, but since then our career has really taken off.”
The sibling duo finished ninth in Sochi, but Alex, 26, says he and his sister left the Games more focused than ever.
“We came away incredibly motivated,” Maia tells PEOPLE. “We knew that our goals and our sights were set on 2018 and that gave us four years to develop our craft and really grow as people.”
She adds: “We focused on a lot of the work on the ice, but then we also just took our skating to a whole other level by reaching outside of our lane and really collaborating with incredible people.”
In 2018, along with performing Mambo, cha-cha and Zumba numbers, the pair will do a free dance to Coldplay’s “Paradise” — a nod to their headline-making number to the group’s hit track “Fix You” performed last year at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships.
“That was at a moment in our career when we really needed to find ourselves,” Alex said of the win. “It’s nice to be back to Coldplay, but we’re doing it in a completely different way.”
The duo has been performing together for more than a decade, and Alex says that what makes the two special is their relationship both on and off the ice.
“We often get asked is it harder to be a brother and sister in ice dance and there are always challenges but I think that what sets us apart makes us unique,” he tells PEOPLE.
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“Maia and I have always had a really great relationship,” he also says. “I remember being really excited to have a younger sister because I think I knew that I would have a friend. And we’ve been friends ever since.”
“We’re a really balanced team in that respect. I understand the things that Maia does really well and she understands the things that I do well and so being able to combine those things makes us a really formidable team and I think that gives us an edge over the competition.”
• Reporting by ADAM CARLSON