Sports

Addison pair skater Alexa Knierim earns a second straight Olympic medal in team event

Alexa Knierim, top, and Brandon Frazier, of the United States, compete in the pairs team free skate program during the figure skating competition at the 2022 Winter Olympics, Monday, Feb. 7, 2022, in Beijing.

BEIJING, China — So much can change during four years in the life of an Olympic pair skater. The experience of Addison native Alexa Knierim is perhaps a perfect illustration: after winning a bronze medal with her husband and longtime partner Chris in PyeongChang’s 2018 Winter Games, then rewriting the U.S. record books on their way to a 2020 national championship, the married couple split as skating partners.

Knierim, an Addison Trail High School graduate, found a new on-ice teammate and miraculously made it back to the Olympics after just 18 months skating together with Brandon Frazier.

On Monday, the 30-year-old Knierim stood on the podium yet again, this time as Olympic officials hung a silver medal around her neck at Beijing’s Capital Indoor Stadium.

In a four-year period of so much change, at least one thing remained the same: Alexa Knierim is an Olympic medalist again.

“I’m just so honored to be here again and representing my country,” Knierim said. “(Frazier) and I didn’t have our best showing today, but we’re very proud to be part of this team.”

The duo skated twice during the three-day team competition, which began with nine countries and featured eight total events. On Friday, Knierim and Frazier followed American men’s figure skater Nathan Chen and ice dancers Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue with a third-place finish in the pair skating short program. Together, the results of the three events on the first day of competition had Team USA in first place.

Below-average showings for Vincent Zhou and Karen Chen in the men’s free skate and women’s short program Saturday dropped the American team to second place heading into Sunday morning’s final three events, with their eyes on the silver medal.

Wearing a light-colored violent uniform with bright white skates that matched her partner’s purple-and-black outfit, Knierim opened Sunday’s three events for Team USA by struggling to fifth-place finish after a couple of visible mishaps. In the first, Knierim stumbled on the landing of a synchronized triple axel and touched her hand to the ice to avoid falling.

Russia, officially competing as The Russian Olympic Committee due to sanctions related to state-sponsored doping scandals in previous Olympics, earned gold in the event.

The silver-medal performance is the Americans’ best showing at the third-ever team competition at the Olympics. In addition to winning bronze in PyeongChang, the U.S. also took third place at the Sochi Olympics in 2014.