Knierim, Frazier Seize Pairs Gold at US Skating Nationals

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — A very long time coming getting again to the highest of the rostrum, Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier captured one other nationwide pairs gold on the U.S. Figure Skating Championships on Saturday evening with a spectacular free skate that scored them an total season-best 227.97.

The reigning world champions had been compelled to withdraw the evening earlier than final 12 months’s nationals when Frazier contracted COVID-19, denying them an opportunity to defend their 2021 title from their first season collectively.

Skating second-to-last and forward of eventual silver medalists Emily Chan and Spencer Howe, Knierim and Frazier carried out a wide ranging routine to Harry Styles’ “Sign of the Times” for a 146.01 to win by greater than 30 factors. They recovered from a slight miscue of their deliberate triple toeloop-double toeloop-double toeloop mixture by going clear the remainder of the best way and executing all of the tough components with aptitude and dedication.

When they had been carried out, followers jumped to their toes in a rousing ovation.

The tandem, who prepare in Southern California and paired up after Knierim’s husband Chris retired from skating in 2020, needed to petition for a spot on the Olympic crew for Beijing after lacking the 2022 nationals. There, they helped the Americans to a silver medal within the crew occasion and positioned sixth in pairs. The twosome additionally earned silver within the Grand Prix closing final month.

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Knierim and Frazier held a commanding lead of greater than 15 factors over Chan and Howe — 81.96 to 66.86 — after a personal-best brief program Thursday heading into Saturday’s free skate.

Chan and Howe continued their breakout season with a season-best rating of 196.86 and their 130.00 free skate, set to a rendition of “Unchained Melody.” They misplaced factors when Chan fell on their throw triple loop.

Ellie Kam and Danny O’Shea positioned third with a 184.01. They got here into Saturday sitting third after scoring a 65.75 brief program, then Kam fell on their opening triple twist within the free skate and practically slid into the boards. The two teamed up simply 4 months in the past and have excessive hopes of an Olympic run.

Sonia Baram and Daniel Tioumentsev had been fourth at 179.08, scoring a 115.96 within the free skate to maneuver up from fifth place after the brief program with a phenomenal routine Saturday at SAP Center.

Earlier Saturday, Madison Chock and Evan Bates defended their ice dancing title Saturday on the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, scoring 137.85 within the free dance for a high whole rating of 229.75.

The lately engaged couple has medaled at nationals in each season since 2013. That’s 11 straight years, which matches former coaching mates Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue (2012-22) for probably the most consecutive years on the U.S. ice dance podium.

“It’s an excellent honor to be one of many groups with the longest longevity within the sport,” Chock mentioned. “It’s one thing that we actually satisfaction ourselves on as a result of we’re very motivated folks. That’s one thing that drives us by means of our profession, and we’ve had plenty of success due to that.”

AP Freelance Writer Sonja Chen contributed to this report.

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