The Song From Maia & Alex Shibutani’s 2018 Olympics Free Dance Is Packed With Meaning

On Monday night, the United States' "Shib Sibs" competed in the free dance portion of the Olympics ice dancing competition. The song from Maia & Alex Shibutani’s 2018 Olympics free dance ice dance, "Paradise," by Coldplay, completes what the duo sees as their ice dancing trilogy — a personalized approach that they have taken to developing their ice dancing performances.

As the Detroit Free Press reported, Maia and Alex have taken the "trilogy" approach to creating their free dances for the past three years — and the Olympics marked their capstone performance. As the article described, the idea for a more personalized, trilogy approach to their ice dancing developed after the pair encountered challenges in their performances, finishing ninth at 2014's Sochi Olympics and securing disappointing placements at worlds and nationals in 2015.

Thus, in 2016, the pair began laying the foundation for the trilogy concept, seemingly as a way to find their footing in the sport again. They selected Coldplay's "Fix You" as the first song of their trilogy, using it for their free skate performances in 2016. Alex expounded on the trilogy idea to the Detroit Free Press, saying,

The idea of a trilogy was for us to introduce ourselves to people who have known us for a long time ... People who were familiar with our career knew that ‘Fix You’ was very authentic and real to who we were at that point. We had struggled on the edge of breaking through to the success we wanted. With that program, we fixed ourselves.

In 2017, the duo chose to skate to a program called "Evolution." Maia noted that the title of the program epitomized their goals for the season, saying to the Free Press that they "wanted to push our artistry and really look deep and develop our strengths ... it was a very different program from ‘Fix You.'"

For the final piece of their trilogy, the 2018 season and the PyeongChang Olympics, the duo chose a song, "Paradise," that highlighted their expectations for the games and described the magical experience of the Olympics. Alex spoke extensively about the duo's song selection with Entertainment Weekly, noting:

This year, with it being the Olympics, you always want to skate to something that is of personal significance to you, and realizing that the Olympic Games draws so many eyes to the sport, that’s also something we wanted to keep in mind, and with Coldplay being such a well-known popular band — and they’re popular for a reason. Their music sort of speaks to a lot of key motifs and themes about dreams and love and freedom and flying… and so we chose to skate to 'Paradise,' because we want PyeongChang to be our 'Paradise.'

Alex and Maia's hard work over the past three years certainly paid off on Monday evening, as the sibling duo won bronze medals in the Olympics ice dancing event. After the pair's victory, Alex posted a photo on Twitter of himself and Maia posing with their medals. He wrote at length about what the victory meant to them, saying:

Last night was a dream that became a reality. @MaiaShibutani and I have worked so hard for this! Proud to be the first ice dance team of Asian descent to win a medal at the @olympics ...
Throughout our career (14 years and counting), @MaiaShibutani and I have had to, and will continue to push past stereotypes, labels, doubters, and cynics ... We have become successful BECAUSE we are siblings and family. Not in spite of that fact. We have challenged ourselves to grow, innovate, and embrace what makes us different from other teams BECAUSE our differences are what make us unique ...

Clearly, Maia and Alex's thoughtful and personalized dedication to their performance really resonated with the judges and audience members — and helped them make their Olympic dreams come true.