Alexa Scimeca and Chris Knierim live and train in Colorado Springs. Every day they can be seen doing spectacular lifts, twists, death spirals, and other pair skating moves at the Colorado Springs World Arena Ice Hall. The pair began skating together in March of 2012.
At the recent Cup of Nice figure skating competition which took place in France from October 24 to October 28, 2012, Scimeca and Knierim won gold. They were eight points ahead after their short program. Although the free skate was won by a pair from Russia, the short program lead kept the couple in first place.
The short program included a throw triple flip and side-by-side triple Salchows. The pair also does an incredibly high triple twist.
The Scimeca-Knierim’s pair’s story is a bit like one of the fictional “Cutting Edge” movies.
Scimeca began skating when she was only seven years old in a learn to skate program in the Chicago area. She originally was a singles skater with dreams of competing internationally in singles. She won pre-juvenile girls at the regional level, and then qualified for the U.S Junior Figure Skating Championships at the juvenile and intermediate levels. She qualified for sectionals and went to the U.S. National Figure Skating Championships as a junior and senior competitor. Her jumps were spectacular and high. She could do all the triple jumps including a triple Lutz.
“Even though I was talented and jumps came easy for me, I experienced some setbacks,” says Scimeca. “I wondered where to go with my skating. Then, one of my coaches, Maria Jezak-Athey, who I had been with for twelve years, suggested I look into pair skating. She took me to a series of pair tryouts. Finally, I found a partner and trained for two years in Connecticut under Vadim Naumov and Evgenia Shishkova. I learned all my pair skating skills there.”
Scimeca and her partner, Ivan Dimitrov, qualified for the U.S. National Figure Skating Championships at the senior pair level in both 2011 and 2012.
“After 2012 nationals, in my heart, I felt that the Connecticut partnership was not right for me, so I decided to relocate to Colorado Springs and look for another partner. Dalilah Sappenfield asked me to come out to Colorado Springs a week earlier than I planned to try out with Chris Knierim who had just ended his partnership with Andrea Poapst. From the moment I began to skate with Chris, something clicked. Everything was easy.”
Knierim began skating at the age of twelve because his mom, DeeDee Knierim-Couch, was a skating coach and choreographer. He did singles for awhile, but always had an interest in pairs. Under Dalilah Sappenfield, he won the US national novice pair title in 2008, and medaled in junior pairs at the US national championships in 2009, 2010 and 2011. He had four different partners before Scimeca.
Scimeca and Knierim announced that they were officially a team in April of 2012. In addition to being skating partners, the two became friends. A month or so later, they began to date. “I feel so, so comfortable with Chris and I believe it shows when we skate,” says Scimeca.
Shortly after the pair competed at Skate Detroit in July, they learned they’d been selected to represent the US at the Cup of Nice in France in late October. “It was great to win the competition, but we still have a lot of work to do,” says Scimeca. “My dream of being on Team USA and competing internationally has come true, but we have bigger dreams and in order to make those dreams come true we have to keep working hard and improving. Our goal is to earn a spot on the the United States World Figure Skating Team and to make the Olympics!”
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