After finally breaking through to claim their first-ever national championship in January, super siblings Maia and Alex Shibutani added another gold medal to their collection by taking ice dance gold Feb. 19 at the 2016 Four Continents Figure Skating Championships in Taipei City.

4CC Taipei: The ice dancing podium

The pair set new personal best marks in both the short (72.86) and long programs (108.76), winning both segments of the competition and the top spot on the podium with a 181.62. Former US national champions Madison Chock and Evan Bates, who competed alongside the Shib Sibs at the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, recovered from a fourth place short dance finish to claim the silver with a 174.64.

Canadians Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje, who won the event in 2015, finished less than a point behind Chock and Bates (173.85) to take the bronze. The third and final US entrants, Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue, finished just off the podium in fourth (172.29) despite placing third in both the short and free dances.

Following competition's end, Maia, 21, tweeted her reaction to winning the title. "Special day for us! Always grateful for the opportunity to perform. Thank you for the support! #4CCTaipeiCity."

The 10 highest-placing couples include:

  • 1. Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani, USA, 181.61
  • 2. Madison Chock and Evan Bates, USA, 174.64
  • 3. Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje, Canada, 173.85
  • 4. Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue, USA, 172.29
  • 5. Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier, Canada, 162.19
  • 6. Elisabeth Paradis and Francois-Javier Ouellette, Canada, 146.94
  • 7. Kana Muramoto and Chris Reed, Japan, 145.83
  • 8. Yura Min and Alexander Gamelin, South Korea, 138.42
  • 9. Shiyue Wang and Xinyu Liu, China, 135.57
  • 10. Ho Jung Lee and Richard Kang-In Kam, South Korea, 128.27

Flashback to the European Championships

Although all three American couples performed well at Four Continents, they will still face a significant challenge at worlds when pairs representing European nations --whocompeted at the European Championships, which were held during the last week of January-- re-enter the mix.

The Shibutanis' prime competitors for world gold including reigning world and European champions Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France, former world champions Anna Cappelini and Luca Lanotte of Italy, and a group of talented Russian couples that includes Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev, and Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov.

Action from the 2016 Four Continents Figure Skating Championships continues Saturday as event finals in the ladies', men's, and pairs divisions are contested.

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