On Sunday evening, ice dancers from all around the world competed in the short dance portion of the ice dancing competition at the PyeongChang Olympics. Among these dancers were siblings Maia & Alex Shibutani — and video of their 2018 short ice dance program is absolutely spellbinding. The "Shib Sibs" certainly proved on Sunday that they are strong medal contenders.
Maia and Alex were the 18th ice dancing couple to compete. They scored a 77.73, which ultimately put them in fourth place in the short dance standings. The siblings' performance certainly captivated many, with James Brady of SB Nation describing it as a " fantastic, energetic performance that had the crowd cheering."
Many believe that Maia and Alex have a strong shot at securing a medal in the highly competitive ice dancing competition. After Sunday evening's short dance competition concludes, competitors will move to the free dance competition on Monday night, where they will compete for gold, silver, and bronze.
In an interview with Brit + Co before the games, the siblings discussed their preparation for this Olympic games, saying they felt incredibly confident about the program they would be presenting at the Olympics. As Maia put it:
We are in such a different place compared with 2014. We are much more confident and we’ve reached an elite point in our skating where we are so proud of what we’re doing and the decisions we have made ... Since 2015, we have taken charge of our creative process, and it has been extremely fulfilling. We’re in the best physical shape of our lives and are ready to fight for the best result possible. Our career has already been extremely successful. This fact will never change — and it gives us a lot of confidence heading into PyeongChang.
Alex and Maia also spoke further with the EW on Sunday about their preparation for the PyeongChang games and their unique decision to choose a Coldplay song, "Paradise," as the backing track for their free skate performance. As Alex described, the decision to use a Coldplay song stemmed from desire to put a more personal stamp on the couples' performance -- and to deliver a message about the beauty of Olympic dreams. As he told EW:
... 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.'
Maia and Alex certainly have already made strong headway in achieving their Olympic dreams — and many will likely be watching their performance of their free skate program on Monday to see if they can dance their way to a place onto the podium.
However, the competition will be stiff. According to the Toronto Star, many believe that Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada and Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France constitute the top couples vying for gold and silver medals. However, the Star reported that prospects for the bronze medal are seemingly a bit more up in the air, with the ShubSibs having a strong shot at winning it, along with several other ice dancing couples.
That being said, nothing is guaranteed at the Olympics — and competition results certainly do not always turn out as expected. Thus, many will be anxiously watching to see how exactly the rest of the ice dancing competition pans out — and whether or not the ShubSibs can replicate their short program success in the free skate.