Siblings With Greenwich Roots Make Olympic Ice Dancing Debut

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At the U.S. Figure Skating Championships last month, Maia and Alex Shibutani are named to the team of athletes who will be representing the United States at the Sochi Olympics. The video is their own creation. Photo Credit: shibsibs
Maia and Alex Shibutani perform their short dance Sunday at the Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Photo Credit: U.S. Olympic Team Twitter

GREENWICH, Conn. -- Maia and Alex Shibutani, who made their Olympic debut Sunday as partners in the ice dance competition, got their figure skating start in Old Greenwich. 

The brother-and-sister act, dubbed the ShibSibs, took their first steps on the ice in 1998 in a Basic Skills program in Old Greenwich, according to the website for the 2014 U.S. Figure Skating Championships.

Maia, 19, and Alex, 22, who now train in Canton, Mich., and attend the University of Michigan, were named to the Olympic team after placing third at the U.S. figure skating national championships in Boston last month.

They now find themselves in ninth place out of 24 teams with 64.47 points after skating the Short Dance at the Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, on Sunday. They are about 14 points behind the leaders, Meryl Davis and Charlie White, the current U.S. and world champions. 

The score of 64.47 was a season best for the Shibutanis, who skated to a foxtrot and quickstep medley of music by Michael Buble. 

Their long program, which they will compete Monday morning, is to a medley of Michael Jackson hits, including "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'," "Man In The Mirror" and "Thriller."

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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