Maia Shibutani is a two-time Olympic ice dancer who competes with her brother Alex. The Shibutanis are three-time world championships medalists, four-time Four Continents medalists, two-time U.S. champions and 14-time grand prix medalists. Maia and Alex have been writing for TeamUSA.org about their journey leading up to and during the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018.
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We did it!!! After three days of competition, Team USA won the bronze medal at the Olympics in the figure skating team event! For all eight of us on the team, this is our first Olympic medal! Becoming a medalist is a dream come true. It is incredibly special to know that we turned our dreams into a reality by working together.
The audience and environment were unlike anything any of us had ever experienced. The energy at Gangneung Ice Arena was absolutely electric and skating on the world’s biggest stage brought out some amazing performances from our team. We knew we had each other’s backs and that bond fueled and inspired all of us.
I’m grateful that there were so many highlights and special moments. Here are some of them:
Watching Our Teammates Compete:
Sometimes we were able to be right by the ice. Other times, due to our practice schedule, we had to send good vibes from afar.
Alex: After our morning warmup on Day 3 (the final day of team event competition), I took a nap before we had to head back to the arena to compete. When I woke up, I checked my phone and saw that our teammate, Adam Rippon, had just put down a great skate. It was awesome and energizing news to wake up to!
Maia: While Alex and I were warming up for our free dance, we got to watch Mirai on a TV backstage. If there were cameras in the warm-up area, someone has footage of us losing our minds and pumping our fists after every jump she landed.
Having Our Teammates And Peers From Other Countries Support Us:
Alex and I competed in both the short dance and the free dance. Ice dance was the final event of the entire team event, and it was very important that we earned valuable placement points for our team to secure the bronze medal. Because it was the last event, our teammates were all able to be there to watch us. The audience’s response was incredible and before we took our bow, we were able to turn to our teammates in the box and share the moment with them.
Hours after the event wrapped up at the arena, we made the trip to the mountains for our medal ceremony. We were all still processing what happened, but we fed off of each other’s joy and excitement. The ceremony was held at an outdoor plaza, and although it was freezing cold, all of us were smiling the entire night. Holding hands and stepping up onto the podium in front of our family, friends and coaches was the most amazing moment. Of course we took TONS of photos.
Straight from the award ceremony, we visited the “TODAY” show set. Hoda, Savannah, Al, other Team USA athletes and the fans in the Olympic Park had the best energy. It was the perfect place to end our celebration before we returned to the village.
The individual events are already underway. Time at the Games moves very fast. So far, Team USA is having a very successful Olympics. I’m proud that as a group, our team was able to add to the medal count.
Heading into next week, Alex and I are feeling really good. We’re already back to training, and the experience of competing in the venue with two great performances gives us a lot of confidence. We always learn a lot from our performances and it’s very exciting that we are going to be competing on Olympic ice again in a few days.
Thank you again for all of the support!