by Liz Leamy
(21 October 2021) Alexa Knierim & Brandon Frazier, the 2021 U.S. Pairs champions who have been skating together a little more than a year and a half, are prepared to challenge for a top standing at the 2021 Guaranteed Rate Skate America Championships that will be held at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas October 22nd through the 24th.
Both members of this team, who have represented the U.S. at prior World Championships with other partners, certainly seem well positioned to wind up at the top of the leaderboard at the first of the 2021 International Skating Union Grand Prix events.
Since joining forces in spring 2020, the two, who train with Jenni Meno and Todd Sand, the three-time U.S. champions and three-time World medalists along with Christine Fowler-Binder at the Great Park Ice arena in Irvine, California have taken the pair realm by storm.
In their first season, Knierim & Frazier claimed gold at the 2021 Skate America Championships in November 2020, clinched the 2021 U.S. title in Las Vegas last January and placed seventh at the 2021 World Championships in Helsinki, Finland in March.
Knierim, a Chicago-area native who was the U.S. pair titlist with her husband, Chris Knierim in 2015 and 2018 and a 2018 Olympian, said she and Frazier have been training extremely hard in preparation for this event.
“We’ve been doing a lot of [program] run throughs,” said Knierim. “Brandon and I love competition and we’re just excited to be there.”
Frazier, the 2017 U.S. pair titlist with Haven Denney and 2017 World contender, talked about how he is looking forward to competing at Skate America.
“We’ve been working hard and training hard,” said Frazier. “We’ve just been working on being the best we can [be]. I’m just trying to be the best partner I can be and work as hard as I can.”
This season, the two will be skating to the Doors’ classic ‘House of the Rising Sun’ for their short program that was choreographed by Shae-Lynn Bourne, the 2003 Canadian World dance champion (with Victor Kraatz) and three-time Olympian.
Knierim & Frazier, whose coaching team also includes Chris Knierim, Alexa’s husband and former pairs partner, are using the enigmatic contemporary classic ‘Fix You’ by Coldplay for their long program, a creation that was designed by Renee Roca, the three-time U.S. dance titlist.
In this event, Knierim & Frazier will be looking for big points for elements such as a split triple twist, throw triple flip and loop, side-by-side triple jumps and fast and fluid lifts, among others.
Ultimately the primary goal for Knierim & Frazier is to do their best everyday in practice in order to present their skills at competitions such as this one.
“We really try to do 150 percent at practice,” said Knierim. “We train very hard.”
In this event, Knierim & Frazier will compete against Jessica Calalang & Brian Johnson, the 2021 U.S. silver medalists who train in Irvine, Evgenia Tarasova & Vladimir Morozov, the 2018 Russian Olympic and 2021 World Championship fourth-place finishers and Alexsandra Boikova & Dimitrii Kozlovskii, the 2021 Russian World bronze medalists, among other teams.