Years before pairs figure skater Brandon Frazier was Alexa Knierim’s partner on the ice, he was her matchmaker off it.
Frazier and Knierim, who helped lead Team USA to a silver medal in Sunday night’s team competition, shared on TODAY Monday how Frazier introduced Knierim to her husband Chris more than a decade ago.
“Chris and I, way back in the day when we both were living in Colorado used to do a lot of things together,” Frazier said. “Fishing, hiking and obviously trained together, and I was there when Alexa moved (there). We would invite Alexa to come fishing and stuff. I was in between, always whispering back and forth, kind of doing the nudging.”
“We never thought we would be here now,” Knierim said.
Chris and Alexa Knierim, who got married in 2016, also became a couple on the ice. They worked together as pairs figure skating partners for eight years, winning three U.S. championships as well as a bronze medal at the 2018 Olympics as part of the U.S. squad in the figure skating team event.
The couple announced in 2020 that Chris was stepping away from his skating career to become a coach.
Chris Knierim told US Figure Skating Fan Zone that multiple injuries and bouts of depression prompted him to make a change.
“I’ve been struggling with injuries — one gets better and then another pops up,” he said. “I’ve been struggling with my jumps a lot this season and now I’m ready to move on. But Alexa, she’s still gung-ho and ready to go, no doubt. She’s such an athlete and competitor. I support her 100 percent.”
“When Chris and I made this decision, there was no anger, no fighting,” Alexa told US Figure Skating Fan Zone. “We love each other so much that we want to see the other person be happy. Our marriage is stronger than ever.”
Alexa’s search for a new partner led her to a familiar face. Frazier had just split with his on-ice partner, Haven Denney, after a disappointing fifth-place finish at the 2020 U.S. Championships.
Frazier, 29, and Knierim, 30, were able to quickly build chemistry to qualify for the Beijing Olympics despite only skating together for a short time.
“It’s such a privilege and a blessing,” Knierim said on TODAY. “Brandon and I have a great working relationship on the ice. We push each other every single day. Him and I have a very similar work ethic, and it’s what I think propelled us to be successful so fast.
“And when we we take the ice to compete or practice every day it’s like we’re just in this tunnel vision and it’s just game time. I love that about us. We’re just go-getters.”
They performed to Coldplay’s “Fix You” in the pairs free skate portion of the team competition, where they finished fifth on Monday after taking third in the pair skating short program last week.
This story first appeared on TODAY.com. More from TODAY: