Our favorite performances in icenetwork era, and mine is...(see below)

Our favorite performances in icenetwork era, and mine is...(see below)

We've seen some incredible skating over the last 11 years. We asked our writers tell us what their favorite performances were since the launch of icenetwork in 2007.

(To me, this meant a performance I had seen live and in person. And my choice was easy.)

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ShibSibs prove blood thicker than naysayers

ShibSibs prove blood thicker than naysayers

GANGNEUNG, South Korea - It began so simply in 2004: Alex Shibutani was tired of having his 12-year-old butt kicked by rivals in singles skating. His 9-year-old sister, Maia, was having more success, so Alex decided he would be better off trying to skate with her in ice dance.

"When we came up as a sibling team, it was just so natural, and we thought, 'OK, this is going to be a great journey we can be on together,'" Maia said.

She also quickly discovered it was more fun to be on the ice with Alex than to be out there by herself. And they were good together, good enough to start winning medals in national competitions the next year and keep winning medals as they moved up through skill levels, from juvenile to intermediate to novice to junior.

And then it got complicated.

"As you start to move forward and people start to take your skating more seriously, you stand out because you're different -- two Asian kids that are also brother and sister," Alex said. "People start to take notice of your ability and potential and they start asking, 'When the cuteness fades, what is the ceiling of their career?'"

The consensus was a pretty low ceiling. Theirs was a discipline in which love stories play a part in such a huge percentage of programs, in which no Asians or Asian-Americans -- and only one brother-sister team, Isabelle Duchesnay and Paul Duchesnay of France -- had ever won an Olympic medal until the Shibutanis took the bronze Tuesday.

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U.S. ice dancers keep piling up world medals

BOSTON - In “Fix You,” the Coldplay song ice dancers Maia and Alex Shibutani chose for their free dance this season, the lyrics speak of trying your best but not succeeding and being stuck in reverse.

It was the perfect anthem to describe the previous four seasons of an ice dance career in which the Shibutanis have succeeded at going forward once again.

The surprise world bronze medalists of 2011 became what seemed like almost predictable silver medalists behind Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France Thursday night at TD Garden, capping a comeback season in which the siblings from Michigan earlier won their first national and international titles.

"We have had an interesting journey," Maia Shibutani said.

Last year’s silver medalists, Madison Chock and Evan Bates, took the bronze to give the United States two ice dance medals at the same worlds for just the third time ever.

It also happened in 2011 (gold-bronze) and 1966 (silver-bronze.)

After a 20-year medal drought from 1985 until 2005, four different U.S dance teams have won medals in 10 of the last 12 seasons.  That includes two world titles (and the 2014 Olympic gold) by Meryl Davis and Charlie White.

The French team’s second straight world title also represented a comeback, as Papadakis still has headaches from the August concussion that nearly ruined her season.  It happened on a practice fall while doing footwork.

“It was two months before I was skating normally,” she said.  “I had big headaches and trouble focusing.  I still have headaches but nothing that bothers me on the ice.”

Papadakis and Cizeron won both the short and free dances for a comfortable winning margin of 6.01 points.  Chock and Bates were 2.66 behind the Shibutanis, the first ice dancers to win world medals five years apart.

"Our career has definitely been unique," Alex Shibutani said.  "We never thought about such a gap between medals.  We just kept putting one foot in front of the other."




Stunning at nationals: both the Shibutanis' free dance and judges' decision are electrifying

Stunning at nationals: both the Shibutanis' free dance and judges' decision are electrifying

ST. PAUL, Minn.  – It was hard to know which was the more stunning part of Saturday afternoon’s the ice dance final at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships.

The electric brilliance with which Maia and Alex Shibutani, the @ShibSibs, performed their free skate to Coldplay’s “Fix You?”

Or the judges doing the right thing, rare in ice dance, with scores that made the Shibutanis champions ahead of designated darlings Madison Chock and Evan Bates, the defending champions and reigning world silver medalists?

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