"I felt so calm," Alexa said.
They landed all their elements cleanly, including the side-by-side triple Salchows that bedeviled them all season and a crisp throw triple flip that elicited a fist pump from Alexa. The only bobble was literally a bobble, Alexa nearly tumbling onto the boards after all the hard stuff was done.
"We came out of the lift," she said, "and the crowd was crazy and I was at the Olympics and we landed our jumps. And then, oh my gosh, you're still competing. I just tripped."
When the music stopped and the crowd roared, Chris kissed Alexa. The crowd oohed. Said Alexa: "I was like: 'Chris, do it again.' "
Above his left eye are seven stitches from a training spill last week in Colorado Springs. They crashed on a lift, and her hip slammed into his forehead.
"It's the only body part of mine that fell on him," Alexa said. "He was laughing. I was more startled and shocked than he was, when I saw all the blood."
Chris will have the stitches removed here, perhaps before they take the ice again for the free program. In other disciplines where the U.S. team has multiple entrants in Pyeongchang, it can rotate skaters between the short and free programs. The Knierims, as the only pairs team here, must do both and then skate in the regular pairs competition next week.
"Being at the Olympics, we'll skate as many times as we need to," Chris said. "We get this opportunity maybe once in a lifetime."
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