Pairs’ champs Alexa Knierim, Brandon Frazier out of figure skating nationals due to Covid

National Couples Heroes Alexa Knirim And Brandon Fraser He withdrew from the U.S. Figure Skating Championships because Fraser tested positive for COVID-19, it was announced the night before the big competition started.

Knierim and Frazier can still petition the selection committee for a place for one of two pairs on the Olympic team. The skater(s) who have successfully petitioned must be able to demonstrate their ability to perform the full competition programs by a specified date and be medically approved to compete in the Olympics.

The Olympic figure skating competition begins on February 3, with the first pairs skating on February 5 as part of the team event.

Figure skating nationals are not Olympic trials. The US Olympic figure skating roster is determined by a selection committee taking into account last year’s results.

The last time the Olympic pairs roster did not reflect the national results was 1998, when the three-time US champion won Jenny Mino And Todd Sand They were named to the team after withdrawing prior to free skating due to Mino’s ankle injury. Mino and Sand are now coach of Knierim and Fraser.

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Knierim and Frazier are the highest-ranked American pair this season and were expected to compete with three other top pairs for two Olympic spots – Ashley Kane Grible And Timothy LeducAnd Jessica Callalang And Brian Johnson And Audrey Lo And Misha Mitrofanov.

Knirim, who finished 15th at the 2018 Olympics with a retired husband since then Chris, and Frazier partnered last year and quickly climbed to the top of the US pairs, winning the national title this past January.

Knierim and Frazier’s place on top has been under pressure this season: Cain-Gribble and LeDuc scored in their last Grand Prix event in November, an 18-point advantage over top Knierim and Frazier this fall.

Then, in their last competition before the Nationals, Knierim and Fraser struggled in free skating and were overtaken by another American pair for the first time (Audrey Lo And Misha Mitrofanov) at a low-level event in December.

American pairs skating has been so volatile that Knierim could be the first skater to do consecutive Olympics in 20 years (Kyoko Inaas well as with different partners).

He was the last snowboarder to successfully petition for a place on the US Olympic team after not competing with the Nationals Michelle Kwan in 2006. Kwan eventually withdrew after arriving at the Turin Games, but before the competition, due to a thigh injury and was replaced by Emily Hughes.

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