IFS August 2022

To many observers, Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier were among the were among the favorites heading into the 2022 World Championships in Montpellier, France. They had finished sixth at the Olympic Winter Games a month earlier, and the five teams that placed ahead of them in Beijing were not in the field in France.

But even though many eyes were on the American duo at the onset of the World Championships, Knierim and Frazier would not allow themselves to see the same thing. “Absolutely not,” Knierim said emphatically when asked if she and Frazier showed up in France with golden thoughts in their heads.

“Before the changes in the roster and the lineup, nobody expected us to win, right? We were not the frontrunners, and we were OK with that. Pretty much all season, we had the mindset of let’s just do our best.

“That had been working all season, so we thought let’s just go to Worlds with the same mindset. I did my best personally to try to silence any expectations or excitement about the opportunity of winning. But once we got to Worlds … you can’t completely avoid such thoughts in the back of your mind. You know the reality. It’s not like you can just magically erase the possibility.”

When Knierim and Frazier seized the lead after the short program with a personal best score of 76.88, it became a little more difficult to discount the possibility that they were one solid free skate away from standing on the top step of the podium.

“We had two amazing short programs at the Olympics, and we wondered if we could do that again at Worlds,” Frazier explained. “After the short, we were really excited that we had repeated the performances we put out at the Games — the score reflected that — and we were very proud and very happy. In your brain, there are a couple of thoughts that shoot in, it’s natural … you guys can walk away with the World title.

“But I think Alexa and I were well trained mentally and physically to just show up the next day for the free and do what we do best — put out our best skating. That was all we could control.”

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