Idol Chatter

2015_Grand_Prix_of_Figure_Skating_Final_Alexa_Scimeca_Chris_Knierim_IMG_8490In Pyeonchang, figure skaters Chris and Alexa Kneirim glided across the ice in what a television commentator called a “miracle performance.” Two years previously, Chris Kneirim had to hold his wife steady because his wife, Alexa, was unable to stand without assistance. Alexa suffered from a rare, life-threatening gastrointestinal condition in 2016. Alexa spent much of the night before her wedding vomiting. During the worst of her condition, she would spend 10 to 12 hours every few days vomiting. In addition, she suffered from debilitating pain and struggled to eat, drink or sleep.  Her weight fell to just over 80 pounds and she lost control of all her muscles and body mechanics. It took the Kneirims 10 doctors and countless emergency room visits to finally get a correct diagnosis for Alexa. Once the disease had a name, Alexa faced down the operating room. She had two surgeries in August 2016 and a third in November 2016.

Given Alexa’s condition, no one expected the pair to return to the ice. Instead, Alexa began training again just three months after her final surgery. Part of what gave her the strength to put her skates back on was her faith. “When my body was at my weakest,” she said. “My faith was at its strongest.”

Alexa made her way back to her old performing strength. Two years after her diagnosis, the Kneirims went to Pyeonchang for the 2018 Winter Olympics where they helped Team USA take home the bronze medal. Given their past, the bronze is deeply important to the skating pair. “This competition’s very meaningful for us,” Alexa said. “We’ve kind of been lacking the joy and lightheartedness of life for about two years now, from all the struggles we’ve been through, so being here together, Chris and I are kind of enjoying it.” As for their skate itself, the bronze would normally be a bit of a letdown for the only U.S. pair to ever break the 200 point barrier. Given the circumstances, however, both Kneirims are thrilled to simply be competing. “Today wasn’t a brilliant skate by any means, but we’re just so happy to be here,” Alexa said. “We’ve already won by being able to stop on the ice.”

Both Kneirims agreed that their faith helped them deal with Alexa’s health struggles and get back to the sport they love. “[My faith is] the reason I was able to get back on the ice,” Alexa said. “I stopped worrying and stopped trying to control life, because I couldn’t. In the moment, you know, I was so sick and didn’t really know where things were going to go for me, whether it was skating or life in general. So I finally just threw my hands up and said like, ‘You lead the way,’ and it’s my testimony and I stay true to it.”

Alexa also sees the Olympics as an opportunity to “glorify God.” “Even here at the Games, it’s no longer about me,” she said. “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 okay to promote Him and do things for Him, because in the Christian life that’s kind of what we’re supposed to.”

The Pyeonchang Olympics will continue through the end of the week with the closing ceremonies taking place on Sunday.

Join the Discussion
comments powered by Disqus