Sibling U.S. Skaters Steal the Show in Sochi

By ABC News

Feb 17, 2014 11:05am

ABC News’ Natasha Singh reports:

A new golden couple from Team USA has skated their way into America’s hearts, but this ice dancing pairs duo has a twist. They’re brother and sister.

Alex and Maia Shibutani have spent nearly a decade skating together and on Sunday the pair – Alex, 22, and Maia, 19 – made their Olympic debut, earning a ninth place finish in the short dance competition at the Sochi Winter Olympics.

“Normally the first thing we do is hug,” said Maia.  “That’s our thing.”

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The siblings are so inseparable – even off the ice – that they’ve earned the nickname the “Shib Sibs.”

“I think it’s something that the fans started to call us,” Maia told ABC News.  “We sort of picked up on it. We appreciate they came up with that nickname for us.”

We’re also lucky that ‘shib’ rhymes with ‘sibs,’” added Alex.

The siblings, who train in Canton, Mich., began their competitive career in 2005 and have since become three-time medalists at the U.S. Championships and the first U.S. Ice Dance team to medal during their debut at the World Championships in 2011.

The “Shib Sibs” say their closeness extends even off the ice, but that any tension in their sibling relationship tends to come from their professional career.

“Really most of our arguments and disagreements come from skating-based things,” said Alex.  “We both have good ideas and sometimes it’s just sorting through those where we can run into some trouble.”

One of the siblings’ good ideas there was no arguing over was their forward-looking decision to capitalize on their uniqueness, and interest in movie directing, by starting their own YouTube channel in 2012.

Appropriately named “ShibSibs” Productions, the channel shows the fun side of the pair, featuring Alex and Maia starring in anything from music videos to comedy shorts to giving a behind-the-scenes look at ice dancing.

Even before their Olympic debut, videos on the Shibutanis’ YouTube page, each of which they’ve filmed and edited themselves, had been viewed over one million times.

The siblings have also been active on social media throughout their time in Sochi, and before, including a Twitter exchange with singer Michael Buble after the duo skated to his song in their short program.

Click HERE to read what the siblings said to Buble.

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