Alexa Knierim, Brandon Frazier, with tears of joy, lead pairs at figure skating nationals


Alexa Knierim was in tears after she and Brandon Frazier finished their U.S. Figure Skating Championships pairs’ short program.

“I already cried once I got off the kiss and cry,” area where skaters receive scores, Knierim said minutes later. “All positive emotions of course.”

Knierim, an Olympian and three-time national champion with her now-retired husband, Chris, and new partner Frazier hit their nationals debut together in Las Vegas.

They lead by a significant 6.16 points going into Saturday’s free skate, taking the driver’s seat for one of two U.S. pairs’ spots at March’s world championships.

Knierim and Frazier, just as they did en route to winning Skate America three months ago, landed side-by-side triple toe loops and a throw triple loop. They tallied 77.46 points, distancing 2020 U.S. silver medalists Jessica Calalang and Brian Johnson.


Calalang and Johnson and 2019 U.S. champions Ashley Cain-Gribble and Timothy LeDuc, the other pre-event favorites, counted a fall on side-by-side triple jumps.

Knierim and Frazier teamed 10 months ago, after Chris left skating, citing a lack of passion for competition, after the Knierims won their third national title.

Frazier was also solo after the end of his partnership with Haven Denney, which produced a 2017 national title. He visited the Knierims for a tryout in March.

“I had already made up our minds that I wanted to skate with Brandon before he got here, but we didn’t tell him that,” Knierim joked before nationals. “I just needed to see if he liked me and liked our skating, and if he would even be comfortable coming into an environment by himself with a whole new team. To me it wasn’t a tryout. To me it was the beginning of our partnership.”

In one offseason limited by a pandemic, they rose to the top of U.S. pairs, a discipline marked by turnover and a lack of international success in the last 20 years.

“We just worked so hard,” Knierim said, explaining the tears. “I can’t even describe the work we put in to get here, and the programs we drilled.”

Knierim, 29, can become the first pairs’ skater to win four national titles since Kyoko Ina, whose fifth and final crown came in 2002.

Just before they skated Thursday, Knierim’s husband and part-time coach provided a FaceTime pep talk. Skate like you’ve been doing at home, and you’ll be fine.

Knierim still felt tight as she stepped on the ice at Orleans Arena, where the only fans were cardboard cutouts.

“You do have doubts when you take that starting pose, and I just looked at Brandon,” she said. “I was like, ‘I need you.’ And he’s like, ‘I need you, too.'”

Frazier, 28 and a 2013 World junior pairs’ champion, sensed the nerves.

“There was a little bit of that uncomfortable competitive feeling you get,” he said, “but her and I stayed locked in.”

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Fred Kerley wins 100m at Rabat Diamond League in early showdown

Fred Kerley

World champion Fred Kerley won the 100m in an early season showdown at a Diamond League meet in Rabat, Morocco, on Sunday.

Kerley clocked 9.94 seconds, beating a field that included Kenyan Ferdinand Omanyala, who remains the world’s fastest man this year (9.84 from May 13) and world bronze medalist Trayvon Bromell. Omanyala was third in 10.05 on Sunday, while Bromell was fifth in 10.10.

Kerley has run three 100m races this year and broke 9.95 in all of them, a promising start as he bids to repeat as world champion in Budapest in August.

Full meet results are here.

The Diamond League season continues with a meet in Florence, Italy, on Friday, live on Peacock. The headline event is the men’s 100m including Kerley and Olympic champion Marcell Jacobs of Italy. Kerley and Jacobs were due to go head to head in Rabat, but Jacobs withdrew last Thursday due to nerve pain.

Earlier, Olympic champion Jakob Ingebrigtsen of Norway comfortably took the 1500m in 3:32.59. American Yared Nuguse surged to place second in a personal best 3:33.02 in his Diamond League debut after running the world’s second-fastest indoor mile in history in February.

Jamaican Rasheed Broadbell ran down world champion Grant Holloway in the 110m hurdles, prevailing 13.08 to 13.12 into a headwind. Holloway remains fastest in the world this year at 13.03.

Kenyan Emmanuel Korir, the Olympic and world champion, finished eighth in the 800m won by countryman Emmanuel Wanyonyi. Wanyonyi, 18, is the world’s fastest in 2023.

American Shamier Little won the 400m hurdles in 53.95, becoming second-fastest in the world this year behind countrywoman Britton Wilson. Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone, the Olympic and world champion and world record holder, has yet to compete this outdoor season and so far has strictly committed to flat 400m races in future meets. McLaughlin-Levrone has a bye into the world championships 400m hurdles but may run the flat 400m there instead.

In the 400m, Olympic champion Steven Gardiner of the Bahamas won in 44.70, while world bronze medalist Matthew Hudson-Smith of Great Britain pulled up about 50 meters into the race.

Also Sunday, world bronze medalist Anna Hall improved from No. 3 to No. 2 on the U.S. all-time heptathlon list with 6,988 points to win the Hypo Meeting in Götzis, Austria. Only Jackie Joyner-Kersee, the world record holder at 7,291, has scored higher among Americans.

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2023 French Open women’s singles draw, bracket

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At the French Open, Iga Swiatek of Poland eyes a third title at Roland Garros and a fourth Grand Slam singles crown overall.

Main draw play began Sunday, live on Peacock.

Swiatek, the No. 1 seed from Poland, can join Serena Williams and Justine Henin as the lone women to win three or more French Opens since 2000.

Turning 22 during the tournament, she can become the youngest woman to win three French Opens since Monica Seles in 1992 and the youngest woman to win four Slams overall since Williams in 2002.

FRENCH OPEN: Broadcast Schedule | Men’s Draw

But Swiatek is not as dominant as in 2022, when she went 16-0 in the spring clay season during an overall 37-match win streak.

She retired from her most recent match with a right thigh injury last week and said it wasn’t serious. Before that, she lost the final of another clay-court tournament to Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus.

Sabalenka, the No. 2 seed, and Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan, the No. 4 seed and Wimbledon champion, are the top challengers in Paris.

No. 3 Jessica Pegula and No. 6 Coco Gauff, runner-up to Swiatek last year, are the best hopes to become the first American to win a Grand Slam singles title since Sofia Kenin at the 2020 Australian Open. The 11-major drought is the longest for U.S. women since Seles won the 1996 Australian Open.

MORE: All you need to know for 2023 French Open

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2023 French Open Women’s Singles Draw

French Open Women's Singles Draw French Open Women's Singles Draw French Open Women's Singles Draw French Open Women's Singles Draw