A few weeks after her husband and skating partner, Chris Knierim, stepped away from competitive figure skating, Alexa Scimeca Knierim has a new partner.
Brandon Frazier, who was also looking for someone to form a new pair after longtime partner Haven Denneystepped away from competition, at least temporarily, will join Scimeca Knierim on the ice whenever they’re able to train and compete again.
Frazier is a longtime friend of Chris Knierem. Scimeca Knierim told U.S. Figure Skating’s FanZone that Frazier had played a pivotal role in kindling the Knierem’s off-ice romance.
Denney and Frazier won the U.S. championship in 2017 and finished 20th in the world championships that year. They finished third in their two Grand Prix assignments last fall — Skate America and the Internationaux de France. They were runners-up in the 2019 U.S. championships and fifth this year, when they revived their “Lion King” free skate.
The Denney-Frazier pair took an unusual path to figure skating, starting as roller skaters.
The Knierims won their third U.S. championship in January but handed their slot in the world championships to Jessica Calalang and Brian Johnson when Chris Knierim, struggling with his form and depression, decided he was unable to continue beyond the Four Continents Championship. The world championships were later canceled due to the spread of the coronavirus.
Haven Denney and Brandon Frazier, the 2017 U.S. pair champions, have announced the end of their partnership. The team was the 2013 world junior champions and grew up skating together: first on roller skates before making the transition to ice.
“Even though our competitive chapter as a pair is over, these memories we created together will last a lifetime,” Frazier posted in part on Facebook. “It was a privilege to be able to have the opportunity to skate with you [Denney] and learn life’s most important lessons through sport.”
Frazier plans to continue skating, while Denney said through U.S. Figure Skating that she wants to keep all of her options open:
“I support Brandon and his decision to continue competitive skating with another partner,” Denney said. “I want Brandon to be able to reach his goals and full potential and I will support him no matter what. I’m still trying to figure out what’s next for me. I want to keep all my options opened, whether it be competitive or professional skating. I want to thank all the coaches that have supported us throughout the years.”
Denney and Frazier had mixed results at nationals after winning in 2017. They finished fifth in 2018 but rebounded to capture the silver medal in 2019. And in January, ultimately the final U.S. Championships of their partnership, they finished fifth.
Three-time U.S. pair champions Alexa Scimeca Knierim and Chris Knierim, who are also married, ended their on-ice partnership after withdrawing after the short program at the Four Continents Championships in February. While Alexa said at the time she plans to find another on-ice partner and continue skating, Chris will stay off competitive ice, the pair said.
As a reminder, you can watch the events from the 2019-20 figure skating season live and on-demand with the ‘Figure Skating Pass’ on NBC Sports Gold. Go to NBCsports.com/gold/figure-skating to sign up for access to every ISU Grand Prix and championship event, as well as domestic U.S. Figure Skating events throughout the season. NBC Sports Gold gives subscribers an unprecedented level of access on more platforms and devices than ever before.
Chris Reed, a three-time Olympic ice dancer for Japan, died of a sudden cardiac issue over the weekend at age 30, a Japanese Skating Federation spokesperson said.
“It deeply saddens me to tell you all my brother, my sweet, kind, charismatic, and loving big brother Chris, has passed away suddenly over the weekend,” was posted on younger sister Allison‘s social media. “Words just cannot describe how much this pains me. Chris was such a pure spirit. He filled any room he walked into with so much joy and laughter. He always knew how to make me smile. I love you bro.”
Reed was born in Michigan to a Japanese mother and American father. Reed and older sister Cathy competed in ice dance within the U.S. until 2006, when they won the national novice title.
Afterward, they decided they wanted to represent Japan. The Japanese federation obliged.
The Reeds earned seven Japanese titles. They competed in eight world championships and two Olympics with a best finish of 13th among those major events.
After his older sister retired in 2015, Reed partnered with Kana Muramoto, who had transitioned to ice dance after more than a decade in singles. They won three national titles and reached the PyeongChang Olympics, placing 15th in their final full season of competition together.
Reed retired in 2019.
“He always wanted to stay involved in the sport and to help to develop ice dance in Japan,” according to an International Skating Union press release. “He was busily preparing for his second career as a choreographer and ice dance coach with his sister Cathy in Japan.”