Alexa Nerim and Brendan Fraser It hasn’t been decided whether they will compete at the end of the season, so Saturday could be their farewell to the US Figure Skating Championships.
If so, they would become the first pair in their 30s to win a national title in more than 50 years.
Knierim, 31, joined Frazier, 30, in their second U.S. title, with a combined 227.97 points to lead by 31.11 points Kelly Chen and Spencer Howe. After Thursday’s short, they lead by 15.1 points.
In Saturday’s free skate, Knierim and Frazier were solid after an error in their opening jump combination. Under the scoring system implemented in 2006, they broke their own team’s winning record at the 2021 US Championship. Knierim appeared backstage to wipe away tears.
“As I get older, the longer I’ve been in the sport, the more I appreciate it,” said Knierim, the oldest woman to win a U.S. figure skating title since 1995 (Renee Rocca), America Network said. “After the music was over, I was thankful that Brandon was by my side and I was able to do what I loved.”
Ellie Keim and Danny O’Shea Bronze medalist, likely to complete a three-pair combination at the World Championships in March.
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Knierim and Frazier, who considered retiring after last season as they missed the national team due to Frazier’s COVID-19, petitioned to make the Olympic team and achieved the best Olympic finish for a U.S. duo (sixth) in 20 years.
Then they became the first American duo to win a world title since 1979, beating a field that didn’t include any of the top five Olympic finishes.
They came back in part to compete as world champions and finished second in the world this season (during which time, the top Olympic duo also didn’t compete).They will likely enter the world in March as underdogs in Japan Miura Riku and Ryuichi Kiharawho went head-to-head in the Grand Prix final last fall to earn their wages.
Back in October, Knierim said this might be their last season playing together, though they also thought they were done last spring. They don’t expect to make a final decision until after Star on Ice tour this spring.
“This U.S. Championship is extra special to us because you’re just reflecting on the journey and you know it’s likely to be your last,” Frazier said.
Knierim won her fifth U.S. title, tying the record for a pair skater since World War II, adding Kyoka Ina, Thai Babylon, Randy Gardner, carol kennedy and peter kennedy. Knierim’s first three titles, as well as her first Olympic title in 2018, were won with her husband Christo retire in 2020.
Silver medalists Chan and Howe continued their recent surge. After finishing fourth nationally last season, they are sixth in the world this season. Although Summer’s injury kept them out of lifting (his shoulder) and throwing (her foot) for a while.
Kam, 18, and O’Shea, 31, took the podium four months after becoming a couple and less than two months later when Kim’s car was hit by a drunk driver as it crossed an intersection. The car was scrapped, but Kim and O’Shea were still racing in Croatia a few days later.
O’Shea Wins 2016 US Championship Tara Kaneto retire after splitting at the end of 2020 and return in 2021 Chelsea Liu. They are sixth in the U.S. entering the 2022 Nationals, but withdrew early after both suffered concussions when they fell during a November game, under figure skating online.
NBC Sports Sarah Hughes (not the figure skater) contributed to this report.
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