Winning an Olympic medal is the ultimate life-altering experience. Just ask the Shib Sibs.
The sister-and-brother duo of Maia and Alex Shibutani have been in a whirlwind since winning bronze medals in both the ice dancing and team competition at the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang in February.
They’ve taken this season off from competing to bask in the glow of their performance, criss-crossing the U.S. on a 22-city “Stars on Ice” tour on weekends and making red-carpet appearances at everything from Academy Awards parties to New York Fashion Week. Of course, they’ve also been chronicling it all for their 150,000-plus followers on YouTube and nearly 200,000 on Instagram.
On Thursday night, their travels took them to Bloomingdale’s, where they made an appearance at Ralph’s Winter Wonderful, an indoor skating rink set up in the Polo men’s shop at the flagship.
The Shibutanis have been ambassadors for the brand for several years, providing feedback for the designer’s uniforms for the Opening and Closing ceremonies, appearing in ads and serving as part of this year’s holiday campaign, where they selected their favorite gifts. Maia’s included a cashmere throw, a candle and cat-eye glasses while Alex opted for the 50th-anniversary tie set, martini bear watch and matching hoodie — and, appropriately, the American flag sweater.
The duo was among the invited guests at the designer’s 50th anniversary fashion show in New York this fall.
All of this exposure to fashion will be evident when the siblings return to competition in hopes of qualifying for the next Olympics.
“We decided to take the season off because we had a lot of opportunities following the Games,” Alex said. “We worked on some projects we wouldn’t have had a chance to pursue if we’d jumped back into a competitive season. We’ve been skating together for 14 years nonstop without a break.”
He attended New York Fashion Week: Men’s in July and his sister joined him at the September shows, where they picked up some valuable pointers they expect to utilize on the ice in the future.
“We’ve had to develop a lot of different skills in the process of creating our performances,” Alex said, everything from the music to the costumes that have to “aesthetically fit the story we’re trying to tell while also being very functional. It’s been nice to take a peek behind the curtain and see the professional fashion world because it’s been an area we’ve always had a lot of interest in but not at this same level of exposure.”
Looking to the Beijing Olympics in 2022, the Shibutanis hope to continue to hone their craft and capitalize on what they’ve learned both on and off the ice as the only Asian duo — and siblings — to win an Olympic medal in ice dancing.
Their bond as brother and sister is something that can’t be underestimated, they said.
“We’re so grateful that we get along so well and we got there together — and we have each other’s backs,” Maia said.
“There’s a lot of trust that needs to happen on the ice, especially when the stakes are so high,” her brother added. “While no path is a straight shot to the top, we’ve been able to weather the challenges and ultimately overcome all of them.”