Maia and Alex Shibutani: 2016 U.S. Ice Dance Champions and Stars on Ice

Maia and Alex Shibutani are a U.S. brother-and-sister ice dance team who became 2016 U.S. Champions in Saint Paul, MN in January. Their two performances, especially their emotional free skate to “Fix You” by Coldplay, brought the audience to their feet.

Maia and Alex made a historic debut on the senior international circuit in 2010-2011 by becoming the first ice dance team ever to medal at both of their Grand Prix events during a rookie season.  By earning a silver medal at the 2011 Four Continents Championship, they became the first ice dancers of Asian heritage to medal at a major ISU championship. 

During the 2011 World Championships, they became the first American ice dancers to medal at their Worlds debut.  At just 16 and 19, they were the second youngest team in the history of the sport (and youngest since 1962) to medal at the World Championships.

Maia and Alex competed as athlete members of Team USA at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.

Alex, born in Boston, MA, and Maia, born in NYC, spent their early years growing up in Boston MA and Old Greenwich CT, and started skating at the ages of 4 and 7. Maia and Alex began ice dancing together in 2005 at the ages of 10 and 13. During their first year competing, they earned a silver medal at the juvenile level of the U.S. Junior Championships.

The duo lived and trained in Colorado Springs for two years (2005-2007) and won unprecedented back-to-back National titles at the Intermediate and Novice levels. In 2007, they relocated to Michigan and have since been training alongside the top ice dance teams in the world at the Arctic Edge Arena in Canton MI. They are coached by Marina Zoueva, Massimo Scali, Johnny Johns, and Oleg Epstein.

Maia and Alex have collaborated extensively with artists from the world of dance including world champion ballroom dancer from “Dancing with the Stars” Corky Ballas, Michael Jackson’s choreographer Travis Payne and his Dance master for the “THIS IS IT” tour, Stacy Walker, “So You Think You Can Dance” artist, Alex Wong, and former principal dancer from the American Ballet Theatre, Cheryl Yeager.

Charitable Activities: Maia and Alex are Athlete Ambassadors for the multi-national organization Right To Play. Other organizations that Maia and Alex support include The Jimmy Fund (Children’s Cancer Research), Skating Friends Support Japan (Post Earthquake/Tsunami Relief Effort), Figure Skating in Harlem, and THE ONE FUND.

Honors and Awards: In 2012, Maia became the first ice dancer to be awarded a Travel and Training Grant from the Women’s Sports Foundation. She joined a recipient class that included Olympians Gabby Douglas and the US Women’s Boxing team. Maia was again awarded a grant from the Women’s Sports Foundation in 2014. In 2011, Maia and Alex won the Professional Skater’s Association EDI Award for most outstanding performance at US Nationals. In November 2015, nominated by the US Olympic Committee and with fan support voting for athletes from all Olympic sports, they were named Team USA’s Team of the Month.

Ambassadors for their Sport: Maia and Alex have twice been honored with invitations to attend events in Washington DC at the request of the U.S. State Department, honoring the official visits to the US of the Prime Minister of Japan. In April 2012, they were invited to a dinner by Secretary Hillary Clinton. In April 2015, they were invited to a lunch by Secretary of State John Kerry and Vice President Joseph Biden.

To connect:

Twitter: @maiashbutani




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