Maia Shibutani

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Maia Shibutani has cancerous tumor removed

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Maia Shibutani learned that a tumor she had removed last Saturday was cancerous, according to the Olympic ice dancer’s social media.

“I got my pathology report back – the tumor that was successfully removed on Saturday was unfortunately malignant (cancer),” was posted. “(SDH)-deficient renal cell carcinoma. This wasn’t the news I was hoping for, but I am beyond thankful that it was detected early and that my surgery went well. No further treatment is required at this time – the next steps are for me to continue focusing on recovering and healing. All of the positive thoughts and support mean so much to me. My heart is so full. Thank you.”

Shibutani, who earned bronze in PyeongChang with brother Alex, wrote that she went to the ER in October with a stomach virus that led to an MRI that showed a small mass on one of her kidneys.

“The surgery was successful and I was able to keep the rest of my kidney,” was posted on her social media. “I am young, healthy, and feel fortunate that this was detected so early. While this is deeply personal news, I don’t want rumors to spread, or for anyone to worry in case people say they saw me at the hospital.”

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It’s been a really tough week. Back in October, I got sick and had to go to the ER while I was in New York. It ended up being a stomach virus, but they ran some tests that showed an abnormality – it was recommended that I have a follow-up appointment to take a closer look. After an MRI earlier this week in LA, I was told that I had a small mass on one of my kidneys. Receiving this news has been incredibly shocking and difficult to handle. I’ve been so scared, but I have had the full support of my family, doctors, and nurses. I had surgery yesterday to remove the tumor. The surgery was successful and I was able to keep the rest of my kidney. I am in recovery at the hospital and have been in a lot of pain post-surgery, but I am grateful. My doctor said there is a 60/40 chance that the tumor was malignant versus benign (we will know soon), but I am young, healthy, and feel fortunate that this was detected so early. While this is deeply personal news, I don’t want rumors to spread, or for anyone to worry in case people say they saw me at the hospital. (Next time, just say “hi”) • I am going to try and stay positive and focus on my recovery. I appreciate all of the support and good vibes sent my way. My fingers are crossed, too. ❤️

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All of the messages of love and positivity have meant a lot and are so appreciated. Generally, things are moving in the right direction. I had to spend an extra night in the hospital following my surgery, but I was discharged yesterday afternoon. Unfortunately, the pain post-surgery has been worse than I anticipated. I’ve had my fair share of injuries in skating and I’m used to muscle and bone stuff, but this is different. It was explained to me that since I am young and in good shape, my muscles and nerves are really sensitive. Walking and making even smaller body movements is currently very painful and extremely challenging. It’s been tough to not feel discouraged and weak, but focusing on gratitude has really helped. My parents are with me and Alex was able to support me through those difficult first steps. I’m grateful for all of the messages of encouragement – I feel very cared for and supported. This recovery will take time and I’m still waiting on news, but I’m determined to come back stronger.

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Maia, Alex Shibutani extend break from ice dance competition

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Brother-sister ice dance duo Maia and Alex Shibutani will not compete next season, the Olympic bronze medalists announced via U.S. Figure Skating on Friday.

“We’re healthier and stronger than we were after the Olympics, and we’re continuing to push ourselves,” Maia Shibutani said in a press release.

“We’ve continued to skate a lot, and we feel like we’ve benefited from some time away to create in different environments and focus on experiences that can help us grow,” Alex said.

The “Shib Sibs” won the U.S. title in 2016 and 2017. They won their first world medal in 2011 (bronze) before reaching the world podium again in 2016 and 2017 with silver and bronze, respectively.

They most recently competed at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, where they earned bronze both individually and in the team event.

Maia and Alex Shibutani are now the second ice dance medalists from PyeongChang to announce they’ll sit out at least part of next season. Gold medalists Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada will tour instead this fall and are not expected to return to competition.

The siblings haven’t stayed away from the ice entirely in their break from the sport, though — they’ve also been touring and performing in shows.

The Shibutanis became the second set of siblings to earn Olympic ice dance medals after France’s Isabelle and Paul Duchesnay in 1992.

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Maia Shibutani, Alex Shibutani take break from figure skating

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Olympic ice dance bronze medalists Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani will sit out the 2018-19 season but are not ruling out a later return to competition, according to U.S. Figure Skating.

The siblings are touring with Stars on Ice, having skipped last month’s world championships, and plan to keep training and create new programs to perform throughout the year at shows, Alex said.

“While we are still young and love competing and performing, we have exciting projects that we have the opportunity to work on both together and individually,” Maia said, according to U.S. Figure Skating.

Four years ago, Sochi Olympic ice dance champions Meryl Davis and Charlie White skipped the post-Olympic world championships and then announced they would sit out the post-Olympic season. Davis and White haven’t competed since.

The Shibutanis succeeded Davis and White and fellow Sochi Olympians Madison Chock and Evan Bates as the top U.S. dance couple.

They earned national titles and world championships medals in 2016 (silver) and 2017 (bronze) before coming back from fourth place after the short dance to take bronze in PyeongChang.

The Shibutanis became the second set of siblings to earn Olympic ice dance medals after France’s Isabelle and Paul Duchesnay in 1992.

With the Shibutanis out and Canadians Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir expected to retire, France’s Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron are in a class of their own in ice dance.

Americans Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue beat the Shibutanis at January’s nationals, were third in the short dance in PyeongChang and took a distant second to the French at worlds last month.

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