Meet the Shib Sibs, the Brother-Sister Duo Taking Over the Ice Skating World
Say hello to Maia and Alex Shibutani — ice skating’s top pair, who happen to be brother and sister!
Nicknamed the “Shib Sibs” by fans, Maia, 22, and Alex, 25, are top contenders at this year’s World Figure Skating Championships starting Wednesday.
“Training has been going great and we’re feeling really strong,” Alex tells PEOPLE.
“Our event is the last one of the competition, so our focus will be on training and competing,” Maia tells PEOPLE. “But it’ll be great to see our friends.”
The siblings are graceful, strong— and they’ll stop at nothing to nab gold. Here’s what you need to know about the brother-sister ice dance team taking over the sport.
They got their start on the ice early
Alex and Maia began skating at the age of 7 and 4, respectively, and have spent most of their time in the rink ever since. They currently train with renowned Russian ice skating coach Marina Zueva (who has also coached two-time World champions Meryl Davis and Charlie White) in Michigan.
And that hard work has totally paid off!
Some of the Shib Sibs’ accolades include: 2016 U.S. champions, 2016 World silver medalists, 2014 Olympians and 2011 bronze medalists.
The Shib Sibs love social media (they even share an Instagram!)
“Maia and I vlog at every competition we go to!” says Alex. “We really enjoy making videos and sharing our experiences.”
They’ve made history many times over
Maia and Alex made a rather historic debut in the 2010-2011 season by becoming the first ice duo to medal at both Grand Prix events during a rookie season. They are also the first ice dancers of Asian heritage to medal at a major ISU Championship, after nabbing silver at the 2011 Four Continents Championships.
Their emotional free skate to “Fix You” by Coldplay in 2016 brought the audience to their feet
The moving performance also won them gold at the U.S. championships in Saint Paul.
They’re preparing to dominate at Worlds
“We’re so excited to compete,” Maia tells PEOPLE. “We’ve built a lot of momentum this season.”
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“And after Worlds we’ll start our preparations for the Olympic season,” Alex tells PEOPLE. “That means training in Ann Arbor, but we’ll also be in Los Angeles and New York.”
The 2017 World Figure Skating Championships begin Wednesday on the networks of NBC. Learn more about the Shib Sibs at teamusa.org.