Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier absent from national figure skating championships (COVID-19)


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National pairs champions Alexa knierim and Brandon frazier withdrawn from U.S. figure skating championships due to Frazier test positive for COVID-19 with severe symptoms, this was announced the night before senior competition began.

They are still eligible for Olympic team selection through a petition process.

“Although my symptoms are quite severe, nothing sucks more than not being able to compete,” Frazier said in an Instagram video posted Wednesday evening.

Frazier tested negative before arriving in Nashville on Monday for the competition, then began to develop severe symptoms on Tuesday night and was tested as a precaution. He was not required by the rules of the event to be tested again until four days after his arrival.

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Frazier is vaccinated and boosted against the virus, Knierim said on social networks.

“We have taken all necessary precautions prior to these championships including, but not limited to, social distancing, the use of KN95 masks and the cancellation of all holiday gatherings as well as private lessons at the ice rink. , so it was shocking and devastating for us. to deal with what happened, ”she wrote.

Knierim said on Wednesday evening they would file a petition with a selection committee for one of two pairs skating spots on the Olympic team, which will be decided after Saturday’s free skate and announced on Sunday morning. Successful skater (s) must be able to demonstrate their ability to perform full competitive programs by a specified date and be medically approved to compete in the Olympics.

“Brandon and I have built up an extremely solid job that positions us at the top of the field at the national level and we are not giving up on our Olympic dream,” said Knierim. “That said, we have the utmost respect for the selection committee and believe they will make decisions based on the best interests of our team and our country.”

Knierim and Frazier, the top-ranked American pair this season, did not take part in the official pair training Wednesday afternoon in Nashville after doing so on Tuesday, figure skating reporter Jackie wong noted.

The Olympic figure skating competition begins on February 3 with the team event.

The US Figure Skating Championships are not Olympic Trials. The Olympic figure skating roster is determined by a selection committee taking into account the results of the national championships from last January to the national championships this week.

Knierim and Frazier, in addition to winning the national championships last season, were the top two American pairs at the world championships in March (seventh place) and had the highest score for an American pair in the series. Autumn Grand Prix.

Knierim and Frazier had to fight with three other top-level pairs for the two Olympic places – Ashley Cain-Gribble and Timothy LeDuc, Jessica calalang and Brian johnson and Audrey Lu and Micha Mitrofanov.

Knierim, who finished 15th at the 2018 Olympics with her since-retired husband Chris, and Frazier teamed up last year and quickly rose to the top of US pairs.

Knierim and Frazier’s place at the top was under pressure this season: Cain-Gribble and LeDuc notched a score in their last Grand Prix in November, 0.18 short of Knierim and Frazier’s best this fall.

Then, in their last competition before the nationals, Knierim and Frazier struggled in their free skate and were outscored by another American pair for the first time (Lu and Mitrofanov) in a lower level event in December.

Pair skating in the United States has been so volatile that Knierim could be the first pair skater to compete in a back-to-back Olympics in 20 years (Kyoko Ina, also with different partners). The last couple’s Olympic medal in the United States dates back to 1988.

The last figure skater to successfully apply for a spot on the U.S. Olympic team after not competing at the national championships was michelle kwan in 2006. Kwan eventually retired after arriving for the Turin Games, but before the competition, due to a groin injury and was replaced by Emilie Hugues.

The last time the Olympic couples list did not reflect national results was in 1998, when the three-time champions of the United States Jenni meno and Todd Sand were named to the squad after retiring before the free skate with Meno’s ankle injury. Meno and Sand now train Knierim and Frazier.

NBC Sports Researcher Sarah Hugues (not the figure skater) contributed to this report from Nashville.

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