Chris and Naomi Shibutani, the parents of skating siblings Maia and Alex Shibutani, are artistic, but they do not have athletic backgrounds.
The charming U.S. ice dancing brother and sister are competing in PyeongChang during the 2018 Winter Olympics. That has a lot of people wondering about their family. The siblings are open about their personal lives as they have a popular YouTube channel.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The Shibutani Parents Are Musicians Who Met at Harvard
Talent runs in the Shibutani family. Both of their parents are accomplished musicians. “Chris and Naomi, met as Harvard musicians. Dad played the flute, and Mom was a concert pianist,” reports ESPN.
2. Chris Skated for Fun But the Parents Aren’t Athletes
Maia and Alex obviously inherited athletic gifts, but it’s not clear whether it stemmed from their parents. “Our parents were not serious athletes,” Alex said to ESPN. “Dad skated recreationally on a pond.”
3. The Siblings Posted a Tribute to Their Mom on Their Vlog
The Shibutani siblings have quite a following on YouTube, and they posted a tribute to their mother entitled, “Our mom.” You can watch it above. Their videos are posted under the name ShibSibs. You can find their channel here.
4. Maia Started Skating First After Naomi
Maia started skating before her brother, and her mother helped spark the interest because she “always had some kind of music playing when the family was getting ready for dinner at their home, first in Boston, then in Connecticut – classical, jazz, contemporary, it didn’t matter,” Time Magazine reports.
“After Maia learned to skate at birthday parties, she took to freestyling on the ice to lengthy CDs that Naomi put together for her,” according to Time. “People who saw her would ask, ‘Who choreographed a 20-minute program for a six-year-old?’” Chris told Time Magazine of the then six-year-old.
5. Chris Says the Siblings Can Be Competition
In an interview with the Today Show, Chris Shibutani said the siblings can be competitive. “Being brother and sister has certainly been challenging at times. Maia and Alex have very different personalities and strengths, yet they have come to realize that they … depend on each other,” Chris Shibutani told Today.