Alexa Knierim and Chris Knierim after competing at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Canada on Oct. 27, 2019 in Kelowna, Canada.
After Chris Knierim announced his retirement from competitive pairs figure skating in February, one of the first questions on peoples’ minds was what would come next for his wife and partner, Alexa Knierim?
Alexa answered that on Wednesday when she and Brandon Frazier announced a new partnership via U.S. Figure Skating FanZone. Frazier announced one week ago that he split with his longtime partner, Haven Denney. After Frazier and Denney’s split, Frazier reached out to Knierim and the two arranged a tryout.
“We were both honest that we were both kind of nervous for the tryout, because we were with the same person competitively for so many years,” Alexa Knierim said in an interview with U.S. Figure Skating FanZone. “We’ve done everything with one person forever. And we were both with someone that we care about deeply, so we were both kind of acknowledging that and knowing that it was going to be weird, but we were pleasantly surprised that it wasn't. And I think that comes from both of us just loving the sport so much, and still being able to do what we love and take on a new challenge.”
Alexa, then Scimeca, and Chris Knierim started skating together in 2012, and were engaged two years later. They married in 2016, went to the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang in 2018 and won the team bronze medal. In January, the couple won their third national title. They also own two Four Continents medals and three grand prix medals. Chris announced his retirement at the end of February, however, citing mounting injuries. He is now a member of Alexa’s coaching team, and was present for the tryout with Frazier.
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Haven Denney and Brandon Frazier skate at the 2020 U.S. Figure Skating Championships on Jan. 23, 2020 in Greensboro, N.C.
Denney and Frazier also had a long partnership, first teaming up in 2002 as roller skaters. They then skated on ice from 2005-08 before again joining forces in 2011 at the junior level. They won the world junior championships together in 2013 before continuing on to a senior career that included winning the national title in 2017 and claiming four grand prix medals. When they announced their split Frazier indicated he planned to continue on with his competitive career and Denney saying she wanted to keep her options open.
Frazier told U.S. Figure Skating FanZone that he was nervous going into the tryout.
“I was probably more nervous than I was when I compete,” he said. “And not in a negative way. It was just all so new, and change can be different and can be a little nerve-racking. But working through that with Alexa, she has a very great open mind to talking and working through those feelings with her and with the team.”
Karen Price is a reporter from Pittsburgh who has covered Olympic and Paralympic sports for various publications. She is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.