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By Miriam Raftery

February 12, 2018 (Ramona) – The U.S. captured a bronze medal in the team figure skating event, which included a strong international field of competitors in men’s and women’s singles, pair skating and ice dancing. 

Chris Knierim, a former Ramona resident, with his wife and pair-skating partner Alexa Scimeca-Knierim, took fourth place in both their short and long programs. The pair skated a nearly flawless short program including a quadruple twist and despite bobbles in the long program, performed strong enough to help the U.S. win the third place bronze.

Canada took the gold medal I first place and Russian skaters got the silver medal in the team competition. Individual skating competitions remain upcoming at the Pyeong Chang, South Korea 2018 winter Olympics.

U.S. team member Mirai Nagasua became the first American female skater to land at triple axel at the Olympics, and only the third in history to do so, after two Japanese skaters in the past.  She finished second in her long program after Russian competitor Alina Zagitova, who also gave a breathtaking performance with superior artistry.

In the women’s short program, Bradie Tennell represented the U.S. and skated a clean and elegant program including a triple lutz-triple toe combination, but placed fifth among an exceptionally strong field of women competitors

Adam Rippon, in his Olympic debut, skating a clean, artistic program, his jubilation evident. He is the first openly gay U.S. Olympic figure skating competitor and took third in the long program of the team event.  

By contrast, Nathan Chen, who represented the U.S. in the short program, botched major moves but did land a quadruple-double combination jump. High hopes have been pinned on Chen to recoup before the individual competitions, however, since he landed five quadruple jumps at the U.S. national championships, the first ever to do so.

Maia and Alex Shibutini, a brother-sister ice dancing team representing the U.S., gave an exuberant performance to place second in the long program, helping propel the U.S. to bronze.

Individual skating competitions are being held this week, which can be viewed on NBC TV or online at NBCOlympics.com.

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