Maia and Alex article

Shibutanis make ice dancing the family business


The Shibutanis credit a tight family and an unusual training environment for their climb. In 2007, the Shibutanis moved from Colorado Springs to the Arctic Edge Ice Arena in Canton, Mich., and a dream team of stablemates: Belbin and Agosto (now retired), Davis and White, and Canadians Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, who would go on to become 2010 Olympic champions.

The older, more accomplished Davis and White don't consider themselves mentors to the young duo.

"They're both so mature, we feel like they know exactly what they're doing," White said. "They're great to be around, they're the hardest workers and they're not taking their success for granted. We definitely can't take it easy."

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Certain advantages come from skating with a brother or sister. Long-term stability is a plus. It's harder to split with your brother or sister than it is with someone outside the family. Having one set of parents involved in decision-making is easier than two.

But being brother and sister in a sport largely rooted in romance presents a challenge. Alex said they are careful to select tasteful programs without shortchanging their artistry.

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