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Maia Shibutani on How to Navigate Anxiety as an Athlete

May 30, 2023

“I started skating when I was four years old, and I started competing when I was around six. So, it was pretty common for me to associate my anxiety with just normal butterflies around performing. But it’s really in recent years where, as I’m moving around in the world, I feel like I can better identify some of that tightness in my chest as anxiety.”

Maia Shibutani

For May Mental Health Awareness month, 16-year-old Alexis engages in a candid and insightful conversation with Olympian Maia Shibutani as part of the Child Mind Institute’s “You Got This” campaign. Alexis, a high school student from New York who participates in fencing and soccer, discusses her struggles with anxiety and the strategies she’s employing to manage it with the help of clinicians at the institute. Maia shares her personal experiences with anxiety and offers advice on seeking support, building a strong support system, and finding balance between a demanding career and mental well-being.

About the You Got This Campaign

Battling mental health issues can sometimes feel isolating and overwhelming. The You Got This campaign strives to assure you that you’re never alone. Celebrities and influencers share their stories and provide tips on how they got through the hardships of both their past and present, reinforcing the empowering message that while things may be hard now, #YouGotThis.

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About Maia Shibutani

Maia Shibutani is an American ice dancer. Partnered with her brother Alex Shibutani, she is a two time 2018 Olympic bronze medalist, a three-time World medalist (silver in 2016, bronze in 2011 and 2017), the 2016 Four Continents champion, and a two-time U.S. national champion (2016, 2017). The siblings have won six titles on the Grand Prix series and stood on the podium at 14 consecutive U.S. Championships, at five levels including eight as seniors. They are two-time members of the US Olympic team, competing at the 2014 and 2018 Winter Olympics. In 2018, the siblings became the first ice dancers who are both of Asian descent to medal at the Olympics (winning bronze in both team figure skating and the individual ice dancing event). They are the second sibling duo to ever share an ice dancing Olympic medal, and the first from the United States.

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Tagged with: #YouGotThis, Mental Health, Sports, Mental Health Awareness Month