Married figure skating pair Chris and Alexa Knierim have captured the hearts of their country and the world at the Pyeongchang Olympics. The love they have for each other is evident, and that chemistry comes through in their beautiful skating. They also just seem like really nice people and have been gathering more and more new fans as they enjoy their Olympic experience.
But while the couple is all smiles and joy now, two years ago Alexa didn’t even know if she would live to see this day.
Alexa first got sick in the spring of 2016. Vomiting and stomach troubles plagued her, but doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong. This continued through the summer – the summer she and Chris got married – until doctors finally diagnosed her with a gastrointestinal condition.
Alexa had to endure three abdominal surgeries and, when she finally returned to the ice – barely a year before the Olympic Games – competing seemed like an impossible dream. She had wasted away to only 80 pounds and, when she first stepped back on the ice, Chris had to hold her up because she was too weak to make it around the rink on her own.
Going to the Olympics seemed out of the question, but through hard work and their faith in God, the pair made it. At this point, whether they medal or not, they know they are winners.
“It’s just a blessing for us to even be at this position, so we’re soaking it all in,” Alexa said. “We’re skating for ourselves. Not for anyone else.”
The pair has already won a bronze medal in the team event after skating a routine that got them a season’s best score. Their short program on Valentine’s Day ended disappointingly, but the couple isn’t letting that get them down.
“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 step on the ice.”
After their free skate on Sunday, the pair spoke to reporters about the importance of their Christian faith and the key role it has played in their lives.
“It’s the reason I was able to get back on the ice,” Alexa said, “because 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.”
“And even here at the Games, it’s no longer about me,” she continued. “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.”
We wish this inspiring couple all the best as they continue their time in South Korea. These are the types of role models we need in sports, and we hope to see much more of them, even after the Olympics are over!
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