By Gary R. Blockus | Dec. 09, 2017, 10:37 a.m. (ET)
Maia and Alex Shibutani compete in their free dance at the 2017 Bridgestone Skate America at Herb Brooks Arena on Nov. 26, 2017 in Lake Placid, N.Y.

 

Maia and Alex Shibutani reached the ISU Grand Prix Final podium for the second straight year, earning bronze in ice dance in Nagoya, Japan, on Saturday.

The three-time world medalist brother and sister duo were coming off grand prix wins at Skate America and the Rostelecom Cup, winning Skate America for a second consecutive year while setting a personal best score of 194.25.

Alex, 26, and Maia, 23, sat in third place after the short dance before finishing sixth in the free dance for a total score of 188.00, good enough to earn the bronze medal in what was a tight battle with fellow Team USA skaters for the final podium spot.

Their score of 109.91 in the free dance to Coldplay’s “Paradise” fell short of their best mark of 115.26 set last February at the Four Continents Championships.

Download the Team USA app today for breaking news, Olympic and Paralympic team bios, videos and more.

“It was not the performance we wanted to have today, unfortunately,” Alex Shibutani said. “We felt pretty good this week overall and there was a lot of stuff that we made progress on, but I just had issues with the twizzles this week. That’s very uncharacteristic of me. We know what to work on. I’m really not too worried about it, but unfortunately it was not the best we could do today.”

Fellow Team USA skaters Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue took third in the free skate and finished fourth overall with 187.40 points. Fellow Americans Madison Chock and Evan Bates earned the top U.S. finish in the free dance by taking third, and finished fifth overall with 187.15. Italy’s Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte placed sixth with 185.23.

France’s Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron won the gold medal with 202.16 points while Canada’s Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir won silver with 199.86.

Gary R. Blockus is a journalist from Allentown, Pennsylvania who has covered multiple Olympic Games. He is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.