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Olympic Skaters Alexa Knierim And Brandon Frazier Score Another Grand Prix Pairs Title

By Lynn Rutherford | Nov. 14, 2022, 11:44 a.m. (ET)

(L-R) Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier react at the kiss and cry in the pairs free skate at the 2022 ISU Grand Prix on Nov. 12, 2022 in Sheffield, England.

 

U.S. 2022 Olympic pair skaters Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier won a gold medal at the MK John Wilson Trophy in Sheffield, Great Britain, on Saturday, overpowering the field by more than 20 points.

It was the second victory of the ISU Grand Prix season for the Olympic team silver medalists and 2022 world pair champions, who also won at the season-opening Skate America last month in Massachusetts.

“When we finished Skate America, we were very eager and motivated to work even harder,” Knierim, 31, said. “We weren’t comfortable and ready at Skate America. We felt we made a lot of progress when we arrived here. … Our mental game and confidence (have) grown and become stronger since Skate America.”

When Knierim and Frazier won the world title last season, it was the first time since Tai Babilonia and Randy Gardner in 1979 that a U.S. pair stood atop the world podium. With this victory, they make more history, becoming the first U.S. pair to win two Grand Prix events in the same season.

More history could be in the offing. The two Grand Prix titles qualified Knierim and Frazier for the Grand Prix Final, to be held in Turin, Italy, Dec. 8-11. It is the first time since 2015 that a U.S. pair has qualified. No U.S. pair has ever medaled at the event.

Knierim and Frazier built a seven-point lead with a strong short program Friday. Their free skate, set to Harry Styles’ “Sign of the Times,” was imperfect — Knierim had glitches on the landings of both of the pair’s triple jumps — but other elements, including a triple twist and two throw triple jumps, were solid. Their 205.85 total was well off their personal best 221.09, set at the 2022 world championships.

Sara Conti and Niccolo Macii of Italy finished runner-up to Knierim and Frazier with a score of 184.19, while Letizia Roscher and Luis Schuster of Germany placed third with 167.37. U.S. skaters Katie McBeath and Nathan Bartholomay, who train alongside Knierim and Frazier in Irvine, California, were sixth with 147.29.

Jimmy Ma was the top-finishing American in the men’s competition, placing seventh.

Isabeau Levito competes during the women's free skate at the 2022 ISU Grand Prix on Nov. 13, 2022 in Sheffield, England.

 

Isabeau Levito Scores Silver

Isabeau Levito, a 15-year-old from Mount Holly, New Jersey, continued her outstanding senior international debut season Sunday, winning a second ISU Grand Prix silver medal.

Sunday’s finish, combined with her silver medal at Skate America in October, will likely qualify the world junior champion for the Grand Prix Final, to be held Dec. 9-11 in Turin, Italy.

“I have a mental vision of how I wanted to skate and I feel like I've yet to see it, but I felt very happy with how I did,” Levito said in a press conference after her clean short program Friday.

Skating with elegance and precision, the teen hit seven triple jumps in Sunday’s free skate to “My Sweet and Tender Beast,” including a difficult triple lutz, triple loop combination, to earn a personal-best 143.68 points. Her total score, 215.74, was also a personal best.

In four international events this season, Levito has two wins — at a small competition in Philadelphia and at the Ondrej Nepela Memorial in Bratislava, Slovakia — to go along with her Grand Prix silver medals. With the retirements of reigning U.S. champion Mariah Bell and world bronze medalist Alysa Liu, Levito is undoubtedly the top rising U.S. star.

Levito is taking the success and attention in stride.

“I don't think there is any additional pressure,” she said. “I'm just very excited to come here and compete, and so far, everything has been so wonderful.” 

Levito placed second in both the short program and free skate to Mai Mihara of Japan, who won the gold medal with 217.43 points. The bronze medal went to Anastasia Gubanova of Georgia with 193.11.

Two-time U.S. champion Bradie Tennell, skating in her first competition since missing all of last season due to a foot injury, fell several times in her free skate and placed 12th with 153.19 points.

U.S. ice dancers Christina Carreira and Anthony Ponomarenko nearly scored a bronze medal, finishing fourth with a score of 187.42 following Sunday’s free dance.

Lynn Rutherford

Lynn Rutherford is a sportswriter based out of New York. She is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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