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Photo: Maria Kateshova via Flickr

What this Olympic-medal-winning figure skating pair can teach us about passion and drive

U.S. Olympic skating pair Maia and Alex Shibutani — also known as the “ShibSibs” — have succeeded in continuing to make career-defining moves and a being a duo that viewers have come to know and love.

Their prowess truly speaks for itself: They scored a bronze medal in ice dancing this week — a performance best summed up by their reactions on the ice.

The Olympians discussed what guidance they would offer to their younger selves.

The “ShibSibs” dish out some advice

Here are some top takeaways from the Shibutanis.

Maia on ignoring the pressure to fit in with others

Growing up, it’s easy to pay more attention to your differences with others than to what you have in common, but Maia would tell her younger self not to worry about that, and to hold out for what the future holds.

“Hey, [younger] Maia, I know that you started skating when you were very young. But even as you’re starting to turn into a teenager, don’t worry about the fact that you don’t necessarily have a normal, typical life,” Maia said. “Be confident in the fact that you found something that you’re passionate about. It’s OK that you’re not always on the same school schedule as everyone else — you’ll find friends that you’ll meet from all around the world. You’ll have such fulfilling relationships, and you’ll really enjoy the experiences that are to come.”

Alex on what you can learn from people you meet in your career

Maia’s brother picks up where his sister leaves off, “And those people will help you grow, and make you a better skater and a better person, both on and off the ice.”

Alex on not taking the journey for granted

He emphasizes the idea that even though there’s a lot to pay attention to along the way, you should never lose focus on your success and aspirations.

“OK [younger] Alex, success comes very quickly and unexpectedly, and it’s great. And make sure that you take the time to really enjoy it and appreciate it, because no path is a straight shot up, and so inevitably there will be struggle and there will be hardship,” he said. “But, make sure that if you appreciate the experiences that you’re going through that are so positive and so special, with your family and stay focused on the dream, it’ll be that much easier to cross those hurdles and overcome any difficulties that you face. And it ends up working out really well if you do that.”

So if you don’t already love the ShibSibs, you’re about to — they’re living reminders of what can happen when you give your career your all, but still put family first.

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