United States figure skating couple Alexa Scimeca-Knierim and Chris Knierim used their Thursday skate at the Winter Olympics to honor the 17 people killed in the Valentine’s Day shooting in Parkland, Fla.
The married couple did not qualify for an Olympic medal, but they said they told reporters after the skate they were skating for those killed in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
"I think I kind of put pressure on myself today, because I wanted to honor those who are lost and skate really well for them and kind of have somewhat of a happy moment for our country," she said after their performance.
"[U]nfortunately, [there were] too many mistakes today," she added. "It was one of our lowest scores. And I think I'm maybe just being too tough on myself, but [I] wanted to lift the spirit of those who are probably mourning right now."
The couple heard about the shooting hours before their skate.
"We're still privileged and lucky to be doing what we're doing and it's so sad that 17 people died from the United States," Scimeca-Knierim said. "I told Chris today that the world is so much bigger than us."
Scimeca-Knierim didn’t think she would even have the chance at the Olympics. Two years ago, she was diagnosed with a serious gastrointestinal condition. She lost 80 pounds. She told reporters her faith helped her compete again.
"It's the reason I was able to get back on the ice," Scimeca-Knierim said.
"And even here at the games, it's no longer about me," she added. "I have fans out there who know that I am a true believer in the Lord and I'm trying my best to shine His light and let people know that it's OK to promote Him and do things for Him, because in the Christian life that's kind of what we're supposed to."
Scimeca-Knierim and her husband the first married couple to skate in the Olympics since 1998 when Americans Jenni Meno and Todd Sand competed.
Photo: Alexa Scimeca Knierim holds up a valentine alongside Chris Knierim of the United States after their routine during the Pair Skating Short Program on day five of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics at Gangneung Ice Arena on February 14, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea.
Photo courtesy: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images
Publication date: February 16, 2018