Alex Shibutani

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Alex Shibutani
2011 Four Continents Maia SHIBUTANI Alex SHIBUTANI P.jpg
The Shibutanis in 2011.
Personal information
Full name Alex Hideo Shibutani
Country represented  United States
Born (1991-04-25) April 25, 1991 (age 26)
Boston, Massachusetts
Residence Ann Arbor, Michigan
Height 1.82 m (6 ft 0 in)
Partner Maia Shibutani
Coach Marina Zueva, Massimo Scali, Oleg Eipstein, Johnny Johns
Former coach Igor Shpilband, Patti Gottwein, Rich Griffin, Damon Allen, Erik Schulz
Choreographer Marina Zueva, Massimo Scali, Renée Roca, Stéphane Lambiel
Former choreographer Hokuto "Hok" Konishi, Peter Tchernyshev, Alex Wong, Igor Shpilband
Skating club Arctic Edge FSC
Training locations Canton, Michigan
Former training locations Colorado Springs, Colorado
Began skating 1998
ISU personal best scores
Combined total 194.25
2017 Skate America
Short dance 79.18
2017 Skate America
Free dance 115.26
2017 Four Continents

Alex Hideo Shibutani[1] (born April 25, 1991) is an American ice dancer. With his sister Maia Shibutani, he is a three-time World medalist (silver in 2016, bronze in 2011 and 2017), the 2016 Four Continents champion, a two-time NHK Trophy champion (2011, 2015), a two-time Skate America champion (2016, 2017), the 2016 Cup of China champion, the 2009 World Junior silver medalist, and a two-time U.S. national champion (2016, 2017). He was a member of the US Olympic team and competed at the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Personal life

Alex Shibutani was born on April 25, 1991, in Boston.[2] He is the son of Chris and Naomi Shibutani, both of Japanese descent, who met as Harvard musicians.[3] He has a younger sister, Maia Shibutani who competes with him as his partner for ice dancing. He attended the prestigious Brunswick School in Greenwich, Connecticut, during the late 1990s[4] before relocating to Colorado Springs from 2005 through 2007 then Ann Arbor, Michigan in 2007.

While in Colorado Springs, Alex Shibutani attended Cheyenne Mountain High School and finished his sophomore year there. He completed his junior and senior years of high school at Huron High School and entered the University of Michigan in the fall semester of 2009.

Career

Early career

Alex Shibutani began skating at age seven.[5] He originally trained as a single skater and competed up to the juvenile level in singles. In March 2003, he and his family attended the World Championships in Washington D.C. He said, "We were seated close to the ice in the second row, and when the ice dancers came out for their warm up, we could actually feel a gust of wind as the skaters flew by. We were so impressed with the artistry, skating quality, and speed of the top teams that we decided to give it a try."[5]

2004–2005 season

Maia and Alex Shibutani teamed up to compete in ice dancing in the spring of 2004.[5] Their singles coach, Kathy Bird, arranged for them to work with their first dancing coaches Andy Stroukoff and Susie Kelley.[6] The Shibutanis also worked with Mary Marchiselli. During their juvenile season, their programs were choreographed by Josh Babb.

During the 2004–2005 season, their first season of competition, they competed on the juvenile level, which is the lowest competitive level in the U.S. Figure Skating testing structure. During that season, Alex Shibutani represented the Hickory Hill Figure Skating Club in competition. They competed at the 2005 North Atlantic Regional Championships, the qualifying competition for the U.S. Junior Championships, and won the competition.[7] The win qualified them for the 2005 U.S. Junior Championships. At that competition, they placed second in the first compulsory dance, fourth in the second compulsory dance, and third in the free dance, ending up with the silver medal.[8]

2005–2006 season

After moving up to the intermediate level and performing well at the non-qualifying competitions, the Shibutanis went to Colorado Springs, Colorado to work with choreographer Tom Dickson. During that off-season, they were being coached by Judy Blumberg on the east coast. After doing better than expected at the Lake Placid Ice Dance Competition in the summer of 2005, the Shibutanis decided to move coaching centers to a better training environment and so moved to train in Colorado Springs under head coach Patti Gottwein.[3][6] During that time, they also worked with Rich Griffin, Damon Allen and Eric Schulz.

Alex Shibutani changed his club representation to the Broadmoor Skating Club, where he and his sister trained. The Shibutanis won the Southwestern Regional Championships, their qualifying competition for the 2006 U.S Junior Championships.[9] At the 2006 U.S. Junior Championships, they placed second in the first compulsory dance and then won the second compulsory and free dances to win the title overall.[10] They worked as guest bloggers and aides for the media staff for U.S. Figure Skating at the 2006 U.S. Championships,[11] and again at the 2006 Four Continents, which were held in Colorado Springs.[12]

2006–2007 season

The Shibutanis moved up to the novice level, which is the first and lowest of three levels that compete at the U.S. Championships. At the 2007 Midwestern Sectional Championships, their qualifying competition for the national championships, the Shibutanis competed under the ISU Judging System for the first time. They placed second in the first compulsory dance and then won the second compulsory and the free dances to win the competition overall and qualify for the 2007 U.S. Championships.[13] At Nationals, the Shibutanis placed second in both compulsory dances and then won the free dance to win the novice gold medal by a margin of victory of 2.06 points ahead of silver medalists Sara Bailey & Kyle Herring.[14] This was their second consecutive national title.[15]

Following the 2007 U.S. Championships, the Shibutanis changed coaches to Igor Shpilband and Marina Zueva in Canton, Michigan.[6] One factor in the decision to change coaches was the issue of university for Alex Shibutani, who at the time of the coaching change, had two years left of high school and was considering his university options.[16]

2007–2008 season

The Shibutanis perform a lift at the 2008–2009 Junior Grand Prix Final

The Shibutanis moved up to the junior level nationally. However, they were unable to compete internationally on the junior level because Maia was not yet old enough. At the 2008 Midwestern Sectionals, the Shibutanis placed fourth in the compulsory dance and then third in the original and free dances to win the bronze medal overall. This medal qualified them for the 2008 U.S. Championships. At Nationals, they placed 7th in the compulsory dance, 2nd in the original dance, and 4th in the free dance. They placed 4th overall, winning the pewter medal.

2008–2009 season: Silver at World Junior Championships

Alex & Maia Shibutani with coaches Igor Shpilband and Marina Zueva in 2008.

Maia Shibutani became age-eligible to compete on the international junior circuit. The siblings made their junior international debut on the ISU Junior Grand Prix (JGP). At their first event, the 2008–09 ISU Junior Grand Prix event in Courchevel, France, they placed second in the compulsory dance and then won the original and free dances to win the gold medal overall by a margin of victory of 11.00 points over silver medalists Kharis Ralph and Asher Hill.[17] They were then assigned to their second event, the event in Madrid, Spain. At this event, they placed second in all three segments of the competition and won the silver medal.[18] These two medals qualified them for the 2008–2009 ISU Junior Grand Prix Final, for which they were the third-ranked qualifiers.[19] Qualifying for the event had also qualified them for the 2009 U.S. Championships.

The Junior Grand Prix Final was held concurrently with the senior final for the first time and so did not have a compulsory dance segment. The Shibutanis placed 7th in the original dance[20] and 3rd in the free dance,[21] finishing in 4th place overall.[22]

The Shibutanis went on to the 2009 U.S. Championships, where they competed on the junior level for the second consecutive year. At the event, the Shibutanis placed second in the compulsory dance,[23] the original dance,[24] and the free dance.[25] They won the silver medal overall[26] marking their fifth consecutive podium finish at a national-level competition. Following the competition, the Shibutanis were named to the team to the 2009 World Junior Championships.[27]

At Junior Worlds, the Shibutanis placed 5th in the compulsory dance, 4th in the original dance, and 2nd in the free dance. At the ages of 14 and 17, they won the silver medal.[28]

2009–2010 season

The Shibutanis won both of their JGP events and won the bronze medal at the JGP Final. They again skated at the junior level at US Nationals, which they won. At 2010 Junior Worlds, they finished off the podium in fourth place. This was their final junior event.

2010–2011 season: World bronze medal

The Shibutanis at the 2011 Worlds

The Shibutanis moved to the senior level. They finished fifth at the 2010 Nebelhorn Trophy, moving up from eighth after the short dance with a strong free dance showing.[29] They won the bronze medal at both the 2010 NHK Trophy and the 2010 Skate America, making them the first dance team to medal at both Grand Prix events in its first senior season. They were the first alternates for the Grand Prix final.[30]

The Shibutanis finished second at U.S. Nationals and were chosen to compete at the Four Continents and World Championships. They won the silver medal at Four Continents. At the World Championships, they were in fourth after the short dance, 4.09 points behind third-placed Nathalie Péchalat / Fabian Bourzat. In the free dance, they scored 4.34 ahead of Pechalat and Bourzat, both of whom had fallen. The Shibutanis finished third overall by 0.25 points and won a bronze in their World Championships debut, a feat not even Virtue and Moir, the current Olympic Champions had accomplished.

2011–2012 season

Maia and Alex Shibutani at the 2012 World Figure Skating Championships

The Shibutanis started their season with a silver medal at the 2011 Finlandia Trophy. Beginning their Grand Prix season, they won silver at the 2011 Cup of China. A week later they placed first at the 2011 NHK Trophy, edging Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje for gold by 0.09 points. It was the Shibutanis' first senior Grand Prix title. Their combined results qualified them for the Grand Prix Final.[31]

The Shibutanis finished 4th at the 2012 Four Continents and 8th at the 2012 World Championships.

Invited by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the Shibutanis attended a dinner in honor of Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda on May 1, 2012 in Washington, D.C.[32]

Following Igor Shpilband's dismissal from the Arctic Edge Arena in June 2012, the Shibutanis decided to remain at the rink with Marina Zoueva and ended their collaboration with Shpilband.[33]

2012–2013 season

The Shibutanis placed third in the short dance at the 2012 Rostelecom Cup. They paused their free dance for half a minute due to Alex pulling a muscle in his thigh. They were allowed to continue from the point of interruption and finished 4th overall behind Russian ice dancers Victoria Sinitsina / Ruslan Zhiganshin. They won the bronze medal at their next event, the 2012 NHK Trophy. The Shibutanis also took bronze at the 2013 U.S. Championships.[34] They then competed at the 2013 Four Continents and finished 4th behind Madison Chock / Evan Bates. At the 2013 World Championships, the Shibutanis finished 8th.

2013–2014 season

The Shibutanis began their season by winning bronze medals at 2013 Skate America and 2013 NHK Trophy. They then went on to win the bronze medal at the 2014 U.S. Championships and were named in the U.S. team to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. They placed 9th at the Olympics.[35] The Shibutanis also competed at the 2014 World Championships, where they placed 6th.

2014–2015 season

The Shibutanis started their season by winning 2014 Ondrej Nepela Trophy. They then won the silver medal at 2014 Skate America.[36] At 2014 Ice Challenge, the Shibutanis won the gold medal. They then went on to compete at their second Grand Prix event, 2014 Cup of China, where they won silver. Their results on the Grand Prix series qualified them for the 2015–16 Grand Prix Final, where they placed 4th.

At the 2015 U.S. Championships, the duo won the silver medal behind Madison Chock / Evan Bates. They then went on to compete at the 2015 Four Continents Championships and the 2015 World Championships where they placed 3rd and 5th, respectively.

2015–2016 season: Return to World podium

Maia and Alex Shibutani at the 2015 Grand Prix Final

The Shibutanis began their season by winning bronze at 2015 Ondrej Nepela Trophy. On the Grand Prix circuit, they earned standing ovations for Fix You, their Coldplay free dance.[37] They won silver at 2015 Skate Canada International and gold at the 2015 NHK Trophy, for their second career Grand Prix event title.

They qualified for the 2015–16 Grand Prix Final as the fourth ranked team based on qualification criteria that had been modified in an attempt to account for the partially cancelled Trophee Bompard event. Their combined short dance and free dance score from NHK Trophy of 174.43 points was the highest total score amongst all competitors during the Grand Prix season. At the Grand Prix Final event, they placed 4th in the short dance. The night before the free dance, Alex became severely ill with food poisoning.[38] They chose to compete nonetheless, and managed to get another standing ovation for their free dance.[39] They finished 4th in the free dance and 4th overall.[38] They withdrew from the exhibition so that Alex could recover.[40]

At the 2016 U.S. Championships, the Shibutanis placed second behind Madison Chock and Evan Bates during the short dance, but moved up following the free dance to win their first senior US title.[41][42] They earned standing ovations from the audience at both segments of the competition.[41][43]

The Shibutanis next competed at the 2016 Four Continents Championships. They set personal bests and finished first in both segments of the competition for their first ISU Championship title.[44][45]

The Shibutanis ended their season at the 2016 World Figure Skating Championships. There, they set new personal bests and finished second in both segments of the competition for their second world medal.[46][47][48][49]

2016–2017 season

At the 2017 U.S. Championships, the Shibutanis won their second national title; they edged out Chock/Bates by 1.01 after placing first in the short dance and second in the free. The siblings took silver at the 2017 Four Continents in Gangneung (South Korea), having ranked second in both segments to Canada's Virtue/Moir.

At the 2017 World Championships in Helsinki (Finland), they ranked fifth in the short dance and fourth in the free dance, ending up third overall by a margin of 0.37 over Canada's Weaver/Poje. The siblings received their third world medal, bronze.

2017–2018 season

The Shibutanis made their season debut at the 2017 Rostelecom Cup. They scored 77.30 in the short dance and 111.94 in the free dance to place first in both events and won the gold medal, with 189.24 points. At their second GP event, 2017 Skate America, they again won both the short and free dance for a total of 194.25 and first place overall, qualifying for the Grand Prix Final in Nagoya.

Programs

Season Short dance Free dance Exhibition
2017–2018
[50][51][52][53]
2016–2017
[2][55][56][57][58]
2015–2016
[49][60][61][62]

2014–2015
[65]
2013–2014
[1][35]

Michael Bublé medley:

  • Foxtrot
  • Quickstep
  • Foxtrot

  • Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'
    by Michael Jackson
  • Ben
    by Walter Scharf
  • Thriller
    by Michael Jackson
2012–2013
[66][67][68]
  • March: Ojos Azul
    by Incantations
  • Waltz: Dolencias
    by Incantations
  • Polka: Sikureada
    by Incantations

2011–2012
[69][70]
  • Samba: Batuca
    by DJ Dero
  • Samba: The Girl From Ipanema
    by Olivia
  • Samba: Samba de Janeiro
    by Bellini

  • Batuca
    by DJ Dero
  • Skip to the Bip
    by Club des Belugas
  • Jazz Machine
    by Black Machine
2010–2011
[71]

Original dance
2009–2010
[72][73]
  • Itsuka Mata
    by Tetsuro Naito
  • Ao-ki Kaze
    by Ryutaro Kaneko
  • La Vie en rose
    by Louis Armstrong
2008–2009
[74]
  • Japanese Kodo music
2007–2008
[73][75]
  • Japanese Kodo music
  • Piano music
    by Jean-Marie Senia
2006–2007
[73][76]

Competitive highlights

The Shibutanis with the other medalists and their coaches at the 2011 World Championships

GP: Grand Prix; CS: Challenger Series; JGP: Junior Grand Prix

(with Maia Shibutani)

Senior results

International[77]
Event 10–11 11–12 12–13 13–14 14–15 15–16 16–17 17–18
Olympics 9th
Worlds 3rd 8th 8th 6th 5th 2nd 3rd
Four Continents 2nd 4th 4th 3rd 1st 2nd
GP Final 5th 4th 4th 3rd bgcolor=cc9966
GP Cup of China 2nd 2nd 1st
GP NHK Trophy 3rd 1st 3rd 3rd 1st
GP Rostelecom 4th 1st
GP Skate America 3rd 3rd 2nd 1st 1st
GP Skate Canada 2nd
CS Ice Challenge 1st
CS Nepela Trophy 1st 3rd
Finlandia Trophy 2nd
Nebelhorn Trophy 5th
National[73]
U.S. Champ. 2nd 2nd 3rd 3rd 2nd 1st 1st
TBD = Assigned, WD = Withdrew

Junior results

International[77]
Event 04–05 05–06 06–07 07–08 08–09 09–10
Junior Worlds 2nd 4th
JGP Final 4th 3rd
JGP Croatia 1st
JGP France 1st
JGP Spain 2nd
JGP USA 1st
NACS 2nd N
National[73]
U.S. Champ. 1st N 4th J 2nd J 1st J
U.S. Junior Champ. 2nd V 1st I
Midwestern Sect. 1st N 3rd J
Southwestern Reg. 1st I
North Atlantic Reg. 1st V
Levels: V = Juvenile, I = Intermediate, N = Novice, J = Junior

Detailed results

(with Maia Shibutani)

Senior results

2017–18 season
Date Event SD FD Total
December 7–10, 2017 2017–18 Grand Prix Final 3
78.09
6
109.91
3
188.00
November 24–26, 2017 2017 ISU Grand Prix Skate America 1
79.18
1
115.07
1
194.25
October 20–22, 2017 2017 ISU Grand Prix Rostelecom Cup 1
77.30
1
111.94
1
189.24
2016–17 season
Date Event SD FD Total
March 29 – April 2, 2017 2017 World Championships 5
74.88
4
110.30
3
185.18
February 15–19, 2017 2017 Four Continents Championships 2
76.59
2
115.26
2
191.85
January 14–22, 2017 2017 U.S. Championships 1
82.42
2
117.63
1
200.05
December 8–11, 2016 2016–17 Grand Prix Final 2
77.97
3
111.63
3
189.60
November 18–20, 2016 2016 ISU Grand Prix Cup of China 2
73.23
1
111.90
1
185.13
October 21–23, 2016 2016 ISU Grand Prix Skate America 1
73.04
1
112.71
1
185.75
2015–16 season
Date Event SD FD Total
March 28 – April 3, 2016 2016 World Championships 2
74.70
2
113.73
2
188.43
February 16–21, 2016 2016 Four Continents Championships 1
72.86
1
108.76
1
181.62
January 15–24, 2016 2016 U.S. Championships 2
74.67
1
115.47
1
190.14
December 10–13, 2015 2015–16 Grand Prix Final 4
69.11
4
105.81
4
174.92
November 27–29, 2015 2015 ISU Grand Prix NHK Trophy 1
68.08
1
106.35
1
174.43
October 30 – November 1, 2015 2015 ISU Grand Prix Skate Canada 2
66.00
2
102.36
2
168.36
October 1–3, 2015 2015 Ondrej Nepela Trophy 1
63.24
3
91.10
3
154.34
2014–15 season
Date Event SD FD Total
March 23–29, 2015 2015 World Championships 6
69.32
5
102.71
5
172.03
February 9–15, 2015 2015 Four Continents Championships 2
69.65
3
101.14
3
170.79
January 18–25, 2015 2015 U.S. Championships 2
73.84
2
107.47
2
181.31
December 11–14, 2014 2014–15 Grand Prix Final 3
63.90
6
95.04
4
158.94
November 14–16, 2014 2014 Ice Challenge 1
65.38
1
100.96
1
166.34
November 7–9, 2014 2014 ISU Grand Prix Cup of China 1
65.20
2
92.16
2
157.36
October 24–26, 2014 2014 ISU Grand Prix Skate America 2
64.14
2
96.19
2
160.33
October 1–5, 2014 2014 Ondrej Nepela Trophy 1
62.72
1
100.26
1
162.98
2013–14 season
Date Event SD FD Total
March 24–30, 2014 2014 World Championships 6
63.55
6
95.02
6
158.57
February 6–22, 2014 2014 Winter Olympics 9
64.47
10
90.70
9
155.17
January 5–12, 2014 2014 U.S. Championships 3
68.00
3
102.44
3
170.44
November 8–10, 2013 2013 ISU Grand Prix NHK Trophy 3
63.09
3
94.49
3
157.58
October 18–20, 2013 2013 ISU Grand Prix Skate America 3
61.26
3
93.21
3
154.47
2012–13 season
Date Event SD FD Total
March 11–17, 2013 2013 World Championships 8
66.14
9
91.57
8
157.71
February 8–11, 2013 2013 Four Continents Championships 4
63.26
4
96.71
4
159.97
January 19–27, 2013 2013 U.S. Championships 3
69.63
3
104.58
3
174.21
November 23–25, 2012 2012 ISU Grand Prix NHK Trophy 2
60.84
3
93.72
3
154.56
November 8–11, 2012 2012 ISU Grand Prix Rostelecom Cup 4
58.26
5
82.65
4
140.91
2011–12 season
Date Event SD FD Total
March 26 – April 1, 2012 2012 World Championships 7
62.35
11
82.37
8
144.72
February 7–12, 2012 2012 Four Continents Championships 4
63.38
4
94.91
4
158.29
January 22–29, 2012 2012 U.S. Championships 2
72.61
2
106.23
2
178.84
December 8–11, 2011 2011–12 Grand Prix Final 5
65.53
5
95.02
5
160.55
November 10–13, 2011 2011 ISU Grand Prix NHK Trophy 3
59.02
1
92.83
1
151.85
November 3–6, 2011 2011 ISU Grand Prix Cup of China 2
57.79
2
90.61
2
148.40
October 6–9, 2011 2011 Finlandia Trophy 2
58.45
2
92.63
2
151.08
2010–11 season
Date Event SD FD Total
April 24 – May 1, 2011 2011 World Championships 4
66.88
3
96.91
3
163.79
February 15–20, 2011 2011 Four Continents Championships 4
62.04
2
93.34
2
155.38
January 22–30, 2011 2011 U.S. Championships 2
70.47
2
102.71
2
173.18
November 12–14, 2010 2010 ISU Grand Prix Skate America 4
56.46
3
88.35
3
144.81
October 22–24, 2010 2010 ISU Grand Prix NHK Trophy 5
53.68
2
83.25
3
136.93
September 23–26, 2010 2010 Nebelhorn Trophy 8
46.90
2
86.10
5
133.00

References

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  47. ^ "ISU World Figure Skating Championships 2016: Ice Dance - Short Dance". International Skating Union. March 30, 2016. 
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  56. ^ Maia Shibubani & Alex Shibutani 2016 Skate America Media Teleconference (Audio streaming). IceNetwork. October 15, 2016. 
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External links

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